Veterans’ Educational Assistance Program (VEAP)
The Department of Veterans Affairs offers an education benefit to veterans called VEAP. the Veterans’ Educational Assistance Program. Qualifying veterans may be eligible for a 2-to-1 matching contribution from the government for education benefits. This program offers money for tuition and certain fees for VA-approved programs.
Depending on the amount of the student’s VEAP contributions, up to 36 months of VEAP benefits may be available.
What VEAP Offers
VEAP can help you pay for:
- Undergraduate and graduate degree programs
- Flight training
- On-the-job training and apprenticeships
- Co-op training
- Non-college degree programs (technical or vocational courses)
- Entrepreneurship training
- Correspondence training
- Test fees
In limited cases, VEAP funds may be allowed for remedial classes, “deficiency” classes, and refresher courses.
When using VEAP, students typically have 10 years (from their date of discharge) to use the program or they will have their VEAP contributions refunded. Furthermore, you can request a refund if you have contributed funds to VEAP but don’t qualify or if you change your mind about the program.
How To Apply To Use VEAP
The VA official site has forms and instructions you can use to apply for your VEAP benefits(see below). But there is no way to sign up for VEAP itself if you have not contributed to the program already.
VEAP was closed to new accounts in 1987, and today the application forms and instructions found at VA.gov are specifically for those who have already made VEAP contributions and want to claim their benefit.
Apply to use your VEAP benefits via the Department of Veterans Affairs official site using an Application for VA Education Benefits (VA Form 22-1990) online. If you are applying on active duty, contact your base Education Services Officer to have your VEAP enrollment approved.
Applicants not on active duty at application time should send a copy of DD Form 214, your proof of military discharge.
How VEAP Contributions are Paid
Active duty military members who signed up for VEAP when enrollment was open were required to make contributions to the VEAP fund, which the military matched two-for-one. The service member’s contribution could be paid in a lump sum, or paid monthly by allotment.
- Service member’s maximum contribution: $2,700
- Government maximum contribution: $5,400
- Total entitlement: $8,100
Applying for a VEAP Refund
You may request a refund by filling out VA Form 22-5281, Application for Refund of Educational Contributions. When your form is complete, submit it to the nearest VA regional office.
Who Qualifies for VEAP
All of the following must be true to qualify:
- You entered military service between January 1, 1977, and June 30, 1985, for services except for the Air Force(see below), and;
- You contributed money to your VEAP account before April 1, 1987, and;
- You put in up to $2,700 of your own money, and;
- You completed your first full term of service, and;
- You did not receive a dishonorable discharge
Air Force personnel must meet the following requirements:
- You entered service for the first time between December 1, 1980, and September 30, 1981, and
- You workers in one of these Air Force career fields: 20723, 20731, 20830, 46130, 46230A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, J, or Z, 46430, or 81130, and
- You enlisted in Beckley, WV; Buffalo, NY; Dallas; Fargo, ND; Houston; Jackson, MS; Louisville, KY; Memphis, TN; Omaha, NB; Philadelphia; Seattle; Sioux Falls, SD; or Syracuse, NY
For those currently serving on active duty, the VA official site advises that you must have three months of contributions in order to use VEAP.
Enrollment Verification Requirement
You are required to verify enrollment to continue using VEAP. The Department of Veterans Affairs advises students to, “Ask your school or training official to verify your enrollment with us. We’ll review your application and let you know if we need anything else.”
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.