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Montgomery GI Bill

montgomery gi bill

The Montgomery GI Bill was an option for servicemembers to help pay for school, Those options have greatly expanded in the era of the Post 9/11-GI Bill and the Montgomery version is no longer offered to new recruits. But some still need to know about this benefit as it still applies to them.

The first GI Bill, called the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act, started in June of 1944 to help ease the transition into civilian life for soldiers after the war. The Montgomery GI Bill was an upgraded version of the legislation. It was named after Mississippi Congressman G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery after Congress revamped the law.

New Recruits Are Not Offered the Montgomery GI Bill

New recruits are not given an option to choose the Montgomery GI Bill. All new recruits are enrolled in the Post 9/11 GI Bill which is amended by legislation called the Forever GI Bill. What’s listed below is preserved for archival purposes.

Who Qualified for the Montgomery GI Bill?

There are multiple categories that qualified for the Montgomery GI Bill. Some still serving today may technically be eligible for the Montgomery GI Bill as we’ll see below. There are two types of Montgomery GI Bills, MGIB-AD and MGIB-SR. One is for active duty troops (AD) and the other is for reserve members (SR).

Category I

  • The applicant has a high school diploma, GED, or 12 hours of college credit, and
  • Entered active duty after June 30, 1985, and
  • The applicant chose to contribute $100 a month for the first 12 months of service toward the Montgomery GI Bill program.
  • Applicant must have served continuously for 24-36 months depending on the agreement or;
  • Served four years if you entered the Selected Reserve within a year of leaving active duty

Category II

  • The applicant has a high school diploma, GED, or 12 hours of college credit, and
  • Started active duty before January 1, 1977 (or before January 2, 1978, under a delayed enlistment program contracted before January 1, 1977), and
  • The applicant served between October 19, 1984, and June 30, 1985, and stayed on active duty through June 30, 1988 (or through June 30, 1987, if you entered the Selected Reserve within 1 year of leaving active duty and served 4 years), and
  • The applicant had one day or more of GI Bill entitlement left under the Vietnam Era GI Bill (Chapter 34) as of December 31, 1989

Category III

  • High school diploma, GED, or 12 hours of college credit, and
  • The applicant does not qualify for MGIB under categories I or II, and
  • Contributed to the Montgomery GI Bill ($1,200) before retirement or separation
  • The applicant must have served on active duty on September 30, 1990, and involuntarily separated after February 2, 1991, or
  • Involuntarily separated on or after November 30, 1993, or
  • Voluntarily separated under the Voluntary Separation Incentive program or;
  • Voluntarily separated under the Special Separation Benefit program

Category IV

  • High school diploma, GED, or 12 hours of college credit, and
  • The applicant made a $1,200 contribution toward the GI Bill
  • Applicant served on active duty on October 9, 1996, had money left in a VEAP account on that date and chose MGIB before October 9, 1997, or
  • Started full-time National Guard duty under title 32, USC, between July 1, 1985, and November 28, 1989, and chose MGIB between October 9, 1996, and July 9, 1997

Montgomery Bill – Active Duty (MGIB-AD or Chapter 30)

This type of GI Bill gives educational benefits to veterans and service members who have served at least two years of active duty.

There are a variety of programs you can use the bill for:

  • College degrees and certificate programs
  • Technical or vocational programs
  • Flight training
  • Apprenticeships or on-the-job training
  • High-tech training
  • Licensing and certification tests
  • Entrepreneurship training
  • Certain entrance examinations
  • Correspondence courses
  • Some remedial, deficiency, and refresher courses may also be approved.

Montgomery GI Bill Eligibility

  • Benefits are payable for 10 years after your release from honorable active duty service.
  • You can receive up to 36 months of educational benefits.
  • The Buy-Up program will increase your monthly benefits. For that $600 that you paid, you may receive up to $5400 in additional GI Bill benefits. You must, however, do this while you are still on active duty. It is important to note that this can only be used with the Montgomery GI Bill and not with the Post 9/11-GI Bill.
  • To be eligible for this type of Montgomery GI Bill, you will need to have had an honorable discharge, a high school diploma, a GED, or in some cases, 12 hours of college credit. You also must meet the requirements of one of the 4 categories listed on the VA website.
  • You would apply by filling out the VA Form 22-1990.

Montgomery GI Bill – Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR)

  • This type of GI Bill is for the education and training of members of the Selected Reserve. This includes Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard Reserve, as well as the Army National Guard and the Air National Guard.
  • You can use this GI Bill for all the same types of training listed above for active duty, and you will also receive up to 36 months of benefits.
  • To qualify, you must have a six-year obligation to serve in the Selected Reserve and sign up after June of 1985. If you are an officer, you will need to have agreed to serve six years in addition to your original obligation. For some types of training, you will need to have a 6-year commitment after September 30th, 1990.
  • You also must complete your initial active duty for training (IADT)
  • You will need to have a high school diploma or equivalent before your completion of IADT. You are not able to use 12 hours of college credit for this requirement.
  • You will need to remain in good standing while serving in an active Selected Reserve unit.
  • If you were discharged due to a disability not caused by misconduct, you would be able to retain eligibility.
  • You might be able to extend your eligibility period if you are ordered to active duty. Your eligibility does end the day you leave the Selected Reserve.
  • To apply you need to fill out the VA Form 22-1990.

Montgomery GI Bill vs Post 911 GI Bill

One of the most significant differences between the Montgomery GI Bill and the Post 911 GI Bill is the amount you receive from the VA for school. For the Montgomery GI Bill, you would receive a monthly rate to use for school. For example, if you had completed an enlistment of at least 3 years and were going to school full time, you would receive $2,210 a month from 2022 to 2023 but these rates change annually. You can view GI Bill rates at the VA official site.

The Post 9/11-GI Bill covers tuition and fees at a public college or university and up to a certain amount at a private school based on the current cap. You may apply for Yellow Ribbon Program funds if your school takes part in that program.

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About the author

Julie Provost is a freelance writer, blogger, and owner of Soldier's Wife, Crazy Life, a support blog for military spouses. She lives in Tennessee with her National Guard husband and three boys.