Afraid your GI Bill Benefits may run out? If you are a veteran of the armed services, you should qualify for specific educational benefits because of your service.
Sometimes the Post-9/11 GI Bill is exactly what you need, and other times that benefit simply isn’t enough, or you need to use a different type of program.
Here are other ways to find that money you will need to further your education.
Montgomery GI Bill For Active Duty
- The Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB-AD) gives educational benefits to veterans and service members who have served at least two years of active duty.
- This type of GI Bill can be used for a college degree or certificate, technical or vocational courses, high-tech training, licensing and certification tests, entrepreneurship training, apprenticeships and on-the-job training, certain entrance exams, flight training, and correspondence classes.
- You can also use this for remedial, deficiency, and refresher courses under certain circumstances.
- These benefits are payable for 10 years after you are released from honorable active duty service.
- This benefit can be for up to 36 months based on the type of training you want to do, the length of your service, your category, any college fund eligibility, and if you used the $600 Buy-Up Program.
- The $600 Buy-Up Program is where the service member can contribute up to an additional $600 to the GI Bill to receive an increase in monthly benefits. By contributing $600, you can receive $5,400 in additional benefits.
- To be eligible, you must have your high school degree or GED. If you are no longer active duty, you will have to have an honorable discharge. You also must qualify in one of four categories outlined by the VA. These have to do with when you joined the service, how long you may have served, and how much you have contributed.
- Keep in mind that you can not combine the Montgomery GI Bill and the Post-9/11 GI Bill. You have to pick one, and you may not change your mind later.
- The amount of the benefit will depend on how close to full-time classes you will be taking and your time in service. For example, if you served three years or more and go to school full-time, you would receive $1,928 a month. If you only went ½ the time, you would receive $964 according to the 2017 rates.
Montgomery GI Bill for Selected Reserve
- The MGIB-SR is for eligible members of the Selected Reserve which includes the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard Reserves as well as the Army and Air National Guard.
- You should be able to use these benefits for everything that you can for the MGIB-AD, as well as co-op training.
- To qualify, you will need to have had a six-year commitment in the Selected Reserve after June 30th, 1985. Officers will need to have six years in addition to their original commitment. For some types of training, you will need to have that six-year commitment after September 30th, 1990.
- You will also need to have completed your Initial Active Duty For Training (IADT.)
- You will need to have your high school diploma or equivalency certificate before IADT.
- Make sure that you are also in good standing while you are serving in an active Selected Reserve unit.
- If you were discharged from the Selected Reserve because of a disability that was not caused by misconduct, you can retain your MGIB-SR eligibility.
- You can get your eligibility period extended if you are ordered to go on active duty.
- Your eligibility will normally end on the day that you leave Selected Reserve.
- The 2017 rate for a full-time student would be $375 a month. It would be $187 a month for those going ½ time.
The Yellow Ribbon Program
- The Yellow Ribbon Program is a provision of the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008. This allows institutions of higher learning (IHL) that grant degrees to enter into an agreement with the VA. The schools will help fund tuition expenses that exceed the annual maximum cap for a private school or the resident tuition at a public school.
- The IHL can contribute up to 50% of the expenses and then the VA would match the same amount for the student.
- The schools will have to agree to certain standards to be part of the Yellow Ribbon Program.
- This program is only open to veterans who are entitled to the maximum amount of benefits as well as their children if they qualify at the 100% rate. Spouses are not eligible for benefits with this program.
- This program is not for active duty service members.
- Your school will need to be part of the Yellow Ribbon Program to receive the benefit if you go there. You can find a list of schools here approved for the Yellow Ribbon Program.
- Even if your school does take part, there could be a limited amount of spots open. Make sure you apply for the benefit early as they are on a first-come, first-served basis. You are also not guaranteed to receive the benefit every year you are in school.
- Schools will be able to specify the amount you will receive.
- The benefit will cover mandatory fees for students but not other fees such as room and board.
- You will use your COE (certificate of eligibility) to apply for the Yellow Ribbon Program and will need to give it to your school to do so.
Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP)
- This benefit provides educational assistance to members of the reserve components. To use this, you will have needed to have been sent on active duty orders in response to a war or national emergency declared by the President or by Congress.
- The National Defense Authorization Act of 2016 ended this program in November of 2015. However, you may remain eligible through November 25, 2019, if you were attending school on November 24, 2015, or during the last semester, quarter, or term ending before that date.
- The Post-9/11 GI Bill pretty much replaces this as it provides educational assistance for the Reserves and National Guard Members called to active duty on or after 9/11.
Veterans Educational Assistance Program (VEAP)
- This program is available for you if you had elected to make contributions from your military pay to participate in this program. The government will match the amount that you contributed on a 2-for-1 basis.
- You can use the money for the same types of schools and programs that you can in the MGIB-AD program.
- You will receive this benefit from one to 36 months depending on how much you did contribute.
- You will have 10 years from when you were released from active duty to use this program.
- You will have needed to have entered service from January 1, 1977, to June 30th, 1985 and opened a contribution account before April 1st, 1987.
- You will have needed to have contributed between $25-2700 to your account.
- You will have needed to complete your first period of service and released from service with an honorable discharge.
- If you are on active duty and you wish to receive VEAP, you will need to have at least three months of contributions available.
National Testing Program
- Students will be able to be reimbursed for all required fees associated with national admission tests and national tests for college credit.
- The SAT, LSAT, GRE, GMAT, AP, CLEP, ACT, DAT, MAT, MCAT, OAT, PCAT, TOEFL, DSST, ECE, PLA, and TECEP are all approved tests.
- Fees for extras such as pre-tests or to receive your scores faster will not be covered.
- You will need to complete a form for the testing reimbursement after you apply for your GI Bill benefits.
As you can see there, there are a lot of different programs you can choose from when deciding how you will pay for college. Make sure you are aware of all of the requirements and double check that you do in fact qualify for the ones you wish to apply for.
State Veterans’ Benefits
Other veterans’ education benefits are provided by the states. Here’s a list by state including US Territories.
Active Duty Education Programs