Veteran Employment Through Technology Education Courses (VET TEC)
The Department of Veterans Affairs offers an educational benefit to qualifying veterans who want to pursue higher education opportunities in highly technical fields but don’t want to use their GI Bill benefits or who don’t have enough GI Bill left to use for a course of study.
The Veteran Employment Through Technology Education Courses, also known as VET TEC, offers VA education benefits to help you start or continue a high-tech career if you qualify for the GI Bill.
The VA official site describes VET TEC as a 5-year pilot program, offered as long as funds are available. That said, the VA official site also notes that thanks to the passage of a 2020 bill, the Isakson and Roe Act of 2020, VET TEC is expanding with funding increases from $15 million per year to $45 million per year of the program.
How VET TEC Works
Those who qualify may be offered tuition for a full-time program. There is an application process required (see below) as VET TEC benefits are not automatic.
There is also an option to receive a housing stipend paid while you attend training. The housing stipend is calculated based on whether or not you are attending training in person or taking online courses.
Do you plan to attend in person? If so the housing stipend is paid based on the monthly Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) for an E-5 with dependents. The amount you are paid is established by zip code, based on the location of your education. Are you considering attending classes online? Your housing stipend is half of the BAH national average for an E-5 with dependents.
Housing payments are prorated when you do not attend classes for a full month, such as before spring or winter break. If you are approved for VET TEC you get these benefits without having them charged against your GI Bill.
What Kind of Training Is Available Through VET TEC?
You can get training in high-demand areas which include but may not be limited to:
- Computer software
- Computer programming
- Data processing
- Information science
- Media applications
Who Qualifies for VET TEC
The qualifying criteria for VET TEC include ALL of the following if you are not already retired or separated from active duty service.
- Be within 180 days of separating from active duty, and
- Qualify for the GI Bill, and
- Have at least one day of unexpired GI Bill benefits, and
- Be accepted into an approved program
You can apply for VET TEC online using Login.gov or ID.me. You can also get help from a Veterans Service Organization. If you have not explored your VA education benefit options in a while you might have missed that VET TEC expanded its qualifying criteria; service members were once not permitted to do what they can now–under changed VA guidelines you can apply for VET TEC if you’re within 180 days of separating from the military.
How to Apply for VET TEC
The VA official site requests that service members and veterans apply online for VET TEC benefits. You will need to complete VA Form 22-0994 Application for Veteran Employment Through Technology Education Courses (VET TEC). You will need to submit the following documentation with your application, it’s a good idea to gather these ahead of time and submit everything at once:
- Direct deposit information
- Highest level of education
- Previous high-tech industry experience, if applicable
- Information about the training provider or program you want to attend
As mentioned above, you must sign in to complete the application. The application itself typically takes about 10 minutes to complete assuming you have all supporting documentation available.
After submitting the form, you’ll get a confirmation message. You can print this for your records. If you are applying for VET TEC but have not applied for other VA education benefits, an Application for VA Education Benefits (VA Form 22-1990) is also required. If you currently receive VA education benefits, you don’t need to fill out VA Form 22-1990 a second time.
The Department Of Veterans Affairs typically takes 30 days to process these forms and you will be notified by mail of acceptance or rejection for the program.
About the author
Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter/editor for Air Force Television News and the Pentagon Channel. His freelance work includes contract work for Motorola, VALoans.com, and Credit Karma. He is co-founder of Dim Art House in Springfield, Illinois, and spends his non-writing time as an abstract painter, independent publisher, and occasional filmmaker.