Veterans’ Education Benefits – US Territories
In addition to federal programs such as the GI Bill, there are veterans benefits programs provided by the states. The following are the veterans’ education benefits programs for US territories.
Territories of the United States
Guam Veteran Education Benefits
For information regarding US Virgin Islands veterans’ benefits, please visit – Guam Veterans Affairs Office
Puerto Rico Veterans Benefits
Property Tax Exemptions
Puerto Rico Standard Veteran 10 Year Property Tax Exemption
This tax exemption is for veterans who have built and acquired their residence in good faith. They will be exempted from property taxes for 10 years, and up to $5,000 of its appraised taxable value.
Puerto Rico Injured Veterans Property Tax Exemption
If the home is owned by an injured veteran or their immediate family member, they do not have to pay any property taxes on the property.
Puerto Rico Disabled Veteran Property Tax Exemption
If a veteran received disability compensation of 50% or more from the US Department of Veterans Affairs, they can have a property exemption on the first $50,000 of the appraised value of the property.
Puerto Rico National Guard Retiree Annuity
Puerto Rico has a National Guard Retiree Annuity. This is for national guard retirees between 55 and 59. They will receive $175 per month for it. These national guard members will need to have retired after 20 or more years with honorable service.
Puerto Rico Retirement Pay
Veterans will pay taxes on retirement pay based on where they have served. The amount that is taxed depends on how long they were stationed in Puerto Rico vs how long they were stationed in other places.
Puerto Rico Veteran Education Benefits
The Puerto Rico National Guard Tuition Assistance Fund (FIGNA)
Provides funding for 18 credit hours of graduate classes per a year or $1,350; undergraduate or vocational funding is accorded for 18 credits or $900.
Medical students are awarded $1,000 for two years.
Additionally, Puerto Rico provides benefits for veterans education if the veteran did not have the GI Bill or if benefits have run out. These veterans are entitled to free tuition at the University of Puerto Rico and its regional colleges.
If veterans are studying at schools outside Puerto Rico and the United States, they are granted the same benefits.
Government employees, who are veterans, may apply for educational leave without pay.
Veterans are given admission preference to the Puerto Rico Merchant Marine School.
Children of Veteran Scholarship(s) Regiment 65th Inf.
Children of honorably discharged veterans under the age of 26 or no limit of age for children with documented physical or mental limitations may apply.
A minimum of a 2.5 gpa is required.
12 credits minimum for bachelors or 6-9 credits for masters or doctorate.
A copy of High school diploma is required. Proof of college admission, official high school or college transcripts, notarized paystub/income, and not have outstanding debt with U.S or the government of Puerto Rico (proof payment plan can be accepted).
Only one child per family may participate and not receive additional U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs benefits.
For more information regarding Puerto Rico’s veterans’ benefits, please visit – Office of Veteran Advocate
Northern Mariana Islands Veteran Education Benefits
For information regarding Northern Mariana Islands veterans’ benefits, please visit – USA.Gov State Site for Northern Marianas Islands
US Virgin Islands Veterans Benefits
U.S. Virgin Islands Veteran Education Benefits
Community Engagement and Lifelong Learning (CELL) program offers free tuition at the University of Virgin Island for Veterans who entered the Armed Forces while residing in the Virgin Islands. This program provides up to 32 credits lifetime; cannot be combined with FTA.
US Virgin Islands Veteran Housing Benefits
Veterans Home/Land Loan and Home Improvement Loan
The Virgin Islands Housing Finance Authority (VIHFA) provides a home/land mortgage program for Virgin Islands Veterans in order to purchase their first home. Any veteran who has served in the active military, naval air service, the national guard, or the coast guard and was discharged or released under conditions other than a dishonorable discharge will be eligible for this loan.
In addition to their military service, they also need to be a first-time homeowner, meet established income requirements, be a resident of the territory for the last three years, have the ability to make a minimum earnest deposit of $500 (qualified veterans do not have to have this,) be prequalified for a mortgage loan, attend the VIHFA’s Home Buyers Education Program and earn a Certificate of Completion, and occupy the property as their primary residence.
If veterans qualify they would then be entitled to certain benefits. These are, a 25% discount on the VIHFA application fee, 30% set-aside in all VIHFA new land and home developments, a 10% additional discount on the established price of land sold by the Authority, a fixed interest rate that is 3% below the Federal Prime rate, zero down payment, and be able to have access to a payroll deduction. The loan can be up to $220,000 for homes and $50,000 for land.
For the home improvement loan, they can borrow up to $40,000, have a max loan term of 10 years with an interest rate 3% below the Federal Prime rate, and have a combined loan-to-value ratio not to exceed 100% of the appraised value.
RELATED: Best Practices for the VA Loan Process (@MyMilitaryBenefits)
Property Tax Credits
The US Virgin Islands does have a veterans property tax credit. In order to qualify, the property owners must meet the occupancy requirements and have been honorably discharged from the US Armed Forces. The maximum tax credit would be $650.
US Virgin Islands Veteran Employment Benefits
Military Service Credit For Government Employee Retirement System of the Virgin Islands
US Virgin Islands government employees can receive a service credit with the Government Employee Retirement System of the Virgin Islands for active military service with the US Armed Forces.
There are two tiers:
Tier I is for those hired before October 1st, 2005 and they can receive 10 years maximum service credit as long as they worked and paid contributions for 10 years before September 25th, 2001, with three years maximum service credit after September 25th, 2001.
Tier II is for those that were hired on or after October 1st, 2005, with three years maximum service credit.
For more information regarding US Virgin Islands veterans benefits, please visit – Virgin Islands Department of Veteran Affairs website
- State Veterans’ Benefits – By State
- BAH Rates – By State
- Yellow Ribbon Schools
- States Offering Free College To Veterans And Dependents
- Choice Act: In-State Tuition Benefits For Veterans
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.