Federal Aid

There are several federal aid programs for those who served or are currently serving in the military. The programs, with current eligibility requirements and payment information, can be found here along with links to The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

The major educational assistance programs are:


Post-9/11  GI Bill (Chapter 33)

The Post-9/11 GI Bill provides financial support for education and housing to individuals with at least 90 days of aggregate service after September 10, 2001, or individuals discharged with a service-connected disability after 30 days. You must have received an honorable discharge to be eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill.
 
The Post-9/11 GI Bill became effective August 1 ,2009. Approved training under the Post-9/11 GI Bill includes graduate and undergraduate degrees, vocational/technical training, on-the-job training, flight training, correspondence training, licensing and national testing training, entrepreneurship training, and tutorial assistance. All training programs must be approved for GI Bill benefits.
 
The Post-9/11 GI Bill will pay eligible individuals:

  • Your full tuition and fees directly to the school for all public school in-state students. For those attending private or foreign schools tuition and fees are capped at $17,500 per academic year for the 2011 academic year and $18,077.50 for the 2012 academic year.
  • For those attending a more expensive private school or a public school as a non-resident out-of-state student, a program exists which may help to reimburse the difference , called the “Yellow Ribbon Program”.
  • For those attending classes at the greater than 1/2 time rate , a monthly housing allowance (MHA) based on the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) for an E-5 with dependents at the location of the school. For those enrolled solely in distance learning the housing allowance payable is equal to 1/2 the national average BAH for an E-5 with dependents (684.00 for the 2012 academic year). The academic year begins on August 1. (Active Duty students and their spouses cannot receive the MHA.)
  • An annual books and supplies stipend of $1,000 paid proportionately based on enrollment.

A one-time rural benefit payment for eligible individuals.
 
The benefit provides up to 36 months of education benefits , generally payable for 15 years following release from active duty.
The Post-9/11 GI Bill also offers some service members the opportunity to transfer their GI Bill benefits to their dependents.
 
The Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship amended the Post-9/11 GI Bill to include the children of service members who die in the line of duty after September 10 , 2001. Eligible children are entitled to 36 months of benefits at the 100% level , have 15 years to use the benefit beginning on his or her 18th birthday and may be married and over 23 and still be eligible.

ELIGIBILITY

Eligible children are entitled to 36 months of benefits at the 100% level; have 15 years to use the benefit beginning on his or her 18th birthday; may be married or over 23 and still be eligible; may use the benefit until his or her 33rd birthday; are not eligible for the Yellow Ribbon Program . If the child is eligible under the Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty, Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve, and/or the Reserve Educational Assistance Program, then he or she must relinquish eligibility under one of those programs to receive benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill. If a child is eligible for the Fry Scholarship, he or she may be eligible for VA's Dependent's Educational Assistance Program (DEA). Although the benefits cannot be used at the same time, a child may be eligible for up to 48 months of benefits between the two programs. For further information go to www.GIBill.va.gov. Apply: VA Form 22-5490, "Dependents' Application for VA Education Benefits" is available at GIBill.va.gov from VONAPP, the online application.

For more information , visit: www.gibill.va.gov


Montgomery G.I. Bill - Active-Duty (Chapter 30)

The Montgomery GI Bill - Active Duty, called "MGIB" for short, provides up to 36 months of education benefits to eligible veterans for:

  • College, Business, Technical or Vocational school
  • On-the-Job Training and Apprenticeship Programs
  • Remedial, Deficiency, and Refresher Training (in some cases)
  • The cost of tests for licenses or certifications needed to get, keep, or advance in a job
  • Tuition Assistance: "Top-Up"
  • Correspondence Courses
  • Flight Training (in some cases)
  • National Tests
Note : VA does not approve schools or programs for benefits. Each individual state approves schools and courses. To find out if your school or program is approved for VA educational benefits under MGIB, contact your school's VA Certifying Official, or call VA at 1-888-GIBILL-1 .

Active-duty veterans who have not used any of their Chapter 30 benefits will need an original or certified copy of their DD Form 214 to send to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Eligibility

If you are currently in service, you may be eligible after two years of active duty. Please consult with the Education Services Officer at your installation, or call 1-888-GIBILL-1, for information about your eligibility.

If you are separated from service, you may be an eligible veteran if you:

  • entered active duty for the first time after June 30, 1985;
  • received a high school diploma or equivalent (or, in some cases, 12 hours of college credit) before the end of your first obligated period of service;
  • received an honorable discharge;
  • continuously served for 3 years, OR 2 years if that is what you first enlisted for, OR 2 years if you have an obligation to serve four years in the Selected Reserve AND entered Selected Reserve within a year of leaving active duty.

Note: Different rules apply if you entered active duty before July 1, 1985, and in certain other cases. Call the VA at 1-800-GIBILL-1 for more information.

Possible Pitfalls

You should be aware that the following pitfalls could cause you to lose all MGIB benefits:

General Discharge . You must have an honorable discharge to be eligible for education benefits. A "general" or "under honorable condition" makes you ineligible for education benefits.

Early Discharge. To be eligible with an early discharge, your separation reason must meet certain requirements. Call 1-800-GIBILL-1 (or if you are on active duty, check with your Education Services Officer) for more information.

Monthly Payment

The monthly benefit paid to you is based on the type of training you take, length of your service, your category, and if DoD put extra money in your MGIB Fund (called "kickers"). Typically, you have ten years to use your MGIB benefits. The current full-time rate for those with three or more years of service and enrolled in an institutional program is approx. $1,075 per month. For additional rate information, visit the G.I. Bill Chapter 30 Rate Information page: http://www.gibill.va.gov/resources/benefits_resources/rate_tables.html .

How to Apply

You can apply by filling out VA Form 22-1990, Application for Education Benefits . You can also apply online by visiting VONAPP. Application forms are also available at U.S. Offices of Veterans Affairs, through your college's veterans affairs representative, active duty stations, American embassies.

Monthly Verification

Veterans receiving benefits under Chapter 30 or Chapter 1606 must verify their enrollment each month to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in order to receive payment for that month. This monthly verification can be done using one of two systems:

  1. Phone- using the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system, by dialing 1 (877) 823-2378 and following the instructions provided, OR
  2. Online- using the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Web Automated Veteran's Enrollment (WAVE) system

Once either system confirms that the student is certified for the month, he/she can expect payment within 10-14 days for checks, or 3-5 days for direct deposit. Veterans and reservists must still notify their college's veterans affairs representative when their enrollment changes, even though the change has been reported to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs through the WAVE system.


Montgomery G.I. Bill - Selected Reserve (Chapter 1606)

The Montgomery GI Bill - Selected Reserve is an education program that provides up to 36 months of education benefits to members of the Selected Reserve. This includes the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard Reserves, as well as the Army National Guard and the Air National Guard. It is the first program that doesn't require a person to serve on active duty in the regular Armed Forces to qualify.

An eligible reservist may get education benefits while in a program approved for VA training. For information about the types of training available, call the toll-free number listed at the bottom of the page.

Since July 1, 1985, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has been responsible for benefit payment, even though the funding of educational assistance under this program is provided by the Department of Defense.

Eligibility

You may be considered an eligible reservist or National Guard member if:

· after June 30, 1985, you signed a six-year obligation to serve in the Selected Reserve, AND

· you completed your Initial Active Duty for Training (IADT), AND 

· you got your High School Diploma or GED before you completed your IADT, AND

· you are in good standing in a drilling Selected Reserve unit

If you stay in the Selected Reserves, benefits generally end 10 years from the date you became eligible for the program if you became eligible before October 1, 1992. Benefits generally end 14 years from the date you became eligible if you became eligible on or after October 1, 1992. Your period of eligibility may be extended, if you were unable to train because of a service-related disability. Typically, your eligibility ends when you leave the Selected Reserves.

One exception to this rule exists if you are mobilized (or recalled to active duty from your reserve status), in this case your eligibility may be extended for the amount of time you are mobilized PLUS four months. For example, if you are mobilized for 12 months your eligibility period is extended for 16 months (12 months active duty PLUS 4 months.) So even if you leave the reserves after mobilization, you may have additional eligibility to the MGIB-SR.

Note: If you are an officer in the Selected Reserve OR if you entered active duty from the Selected Reserve after November 29, 1989, call the toll-free number below for additional eligibility requirements.

Monthly Payment

The monthly benefit paid to you is based on the type of training. If you are attending school, your payment is based on your training time (i.e. full time, half time, etc). The current full-time rate for college training is approx. $309 per month. For additional payment information, visit the G.I. Bill Chapter 1606 Rate Information page .

How to Apply

Your unit will give you a Notice of Basic Eligibility (DD Form 2384 or 2384-1) when you become eligible for Montgomery GI Bill - Selected Reserve. Once you find a program approved for VA training, complete VA Form 22-1990, Application for Education Benefits , and send it to the VA regional office that serves the state where you will train. You can apply online by visiting VONAPP <pdf>.

Monthly Verification

Veterans receiving benefits under Chapter 30 or Chapter 1606 must verify their enrollment each month to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in order to receive payment for that month. This monthly verification can be done using one of two systems:

  1. Phone- using the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system, by dialing 1 (877) 823-2378 and following the instructions provided, OR
  2. Online- using the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Web Automated Veteran's Enrollment (WAVE) system.

Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP or Chapter 1607)

REAP (Chapter 1607 of title 10, U.S. Code) is a new education program that provides up to 36 months of education benefits to members of the Selected Reserves, Individual Ready Reserve (IRR), and National Guard, who are called or ordered to active service in response to a war or national emergency, as declared by the President or Congress.

This new program makes certain that individuals who were activated after September 11, 2001, are either eligible for education benefits or eligible for increased benefits.

Eligibility

Eligibility will be determined by the Department of Defense (DoD) or Department of Homeland Security (DHS), as appropriate. Generally, a member of a Reserve component who serves on active duty on or after September 11, 2001 under title 10, U.S. Code, for at least 90 consecutive days under a contingency operation, is eligible for REAP. There is no specific time frame to use REAP; however, your eligibility generally ends when you leave the Selected Reserves.

National Guard members are eligible if their active service extends for 90 consecutive days or more and their service is:

  • authorized under section 502(f), title 32, U.S. Code,
  • authorized by the President or Secretary of Defense for a national emergency, and
  • supported by federal funds.

Monthly Payment

The educational assistance allowance payable under REAP is a percentage of the Montgomery GI Bill-Active Duty (MGIB) rate based on the number of continuous days served on active duty. Persons released before 90 days due to an injury, illness, or disease incurred or aggravated in the line of duty receive the 40% rate.

  • Members who serve 90 days but less than 1 year will receive 40% of the MGIB 3 year rate.
  • Members who serve 1 year but less than 2 years will receive 60% of the MGIB 3 year rate.
  • Members who serve 2 or more continuous years will receive 80% of the MGIB 3 year rate.

The amount VA pays is based on the type of training program and training time (i.e. full time, half time, etc). If attendance is less than a month or less than full-time, payments are reduced proportionately. For additional monthly rates, visit the G.I. Bill, Chapter 1607 Rate Information page.

Programs Available

The following programs are available:

  • College or University Degree Programs
  • Vocational Programs
  • Independent Study or Distance Learning Programs
  • Correspondence Courses
  • Flight Training
  • On-the-Job Training and Apprenticeship Programs
  • Entrepreneurship Courses

Note : VA does not approve schools or programs for benefits. Each individual state approves schools and courses. To find out if your school or program is approved for VA educational benefits under REAP, contact your school's VA Certifying Official, or call VA at the toll-free number below.

How to Apply?

Once you find a program approved for VA training, complete VA Form 22-1990, Application for Education Benefits , and send it to the VA regional office that serves the state where you will train. Indicate on the form you are applying for REAP. You can also apply online by visiting VONAPP .


Federal Work-Study Program (FWSP)

A federal needs-based program for students eligible for such aid. Application is made by filing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) either at a college's Financial Aid Office or by using the FAFSA website.

The applicant may be a full- or part-time student. Hours available are determined by a student's Federal Work-Study award, and are arranged around the student's schedule. Wages will be, at least at the federal minimum hourly wage. Work will either be on campus, or at an off-campus, non-profit or government, employer.



VA Student Work-Study Allowance Program

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs work-study program recipients must be receiving full-time G.I. Bill benefits to be eligible. Up to 750 hours per year are available to eligible veterans, at least at the federal minimum hourly wage. Visit the VA's Work-Study page for more information.



Post-Vietnam Veterans' Educational Assistance Program (VEAP) - Chapter 32

The Post-Vietnam Veterans' Educational Assistance Program (VEAP) is an education benefit for veterans who paid into VEAP while they were in the service. Eligible veterans may be entitled to as much as 36 months of training. Eligibility usually ends 10 years after getting out of the service, but the time limit can be longer in certain cases. Eligible veterans may pursue any of the following types of training:

  • College or University Programs
  • Business, Technical or Vocational Training
  • On-the-Job Training & Apprenticeship Programs
  • Remedial, Deficiency, and Refresher Training (in some cases)
  • National Tests
  • Correspondence Courses
  • Flight Training (in some cases)
  • High School Diploma or Equivalent
  • The costs of tests for licenses or certifications needed in to get, keep, or advance a job

Note : VA does not approve schools or programs for benefits. Each individual state approves schools and courses. To find out if your school or program is approved for VA educational benefits under VEAP, contact your school's VA Certifying Official, or call VA at the toll-free number below.

Eligibility

To establish eligibility to VEAP, you must have:

  • first entered active duty after December 31, 1976 and before July 1, 1985, AND
  • contributed to VEAP before April 1, 1987, AND
  • completed your first period of service, AND
  • been discharged under conditions other than dishonorable.

Note : You may be eligible for education benefits if you are still on active duty, call the toll-free number below for details about your eligibility for VEAP or to find out if you may switch to the Montgomery GI Bill.

Monthly Payment

The total dollar amount of your benefits is the sum of:

  • Your total contributions, PLUS
  • Matching funds from VA equal to 2 times your contributions, PLUS
  • Any DOD contributions or "kickers"

The monthly amount you'll receive is based on the total (above), the number of months you contributed, the type of training you are pursuing, and your training time (i.e. full-time, half-time, etc).

Note : Contributions may be refunded. Please call the VA at: 1-800-GIBILL-1.

How to Apply

When you find a program approved for VA training, you can apply for VEAP by completing VA Form 22-1990, Application for Education Benefits . You can also apply online through VONAPP .


Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (Chapter 31)

The VR&E Program aids veterans with service-connected disabilities to prepare for, find and keep suitable jobs. If any training is needed, the VA will pay your training costs, such as tuition and fees, books, supplies, equipment and, if needed, special services. While in training, the VA will also pay a monthly benefit called a Subsistence Allowance to help with living expenses. Those who are eligible for both VR&E and the Post-9/11 GI Bill may choose that bill’s monthly housing allowance instead of the Subsistence Allowance. To receive an evaluation for VR&E services a veteran must have a service-connected disability rating of at least 10 percent.

To apply, complete VA Form 28-1900 or apply online at: www.vabenefits.vba.va.gov/vonapp



Survivors' and Dependants' Educational Assistance Programs

Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance Programs provide educational and training opportunities to eligible spouses and children of certain veterans.

Eligible persons can receive up to 45 months of full-time or equivalent benefits for:

  • College, Business, Technical or Vocational Courses, High School Diploma or GED, Independent Study or Distance Learning courses
  • Correspondence Courses (Spouses Only), Apprenticeship/On-the-Job Training
  • Remedial, Deficiency, and Refresher Training (in some cases)
  • The cost of tests for licenses or certifications needed to get, keep, or advance in a job

Eligibility

The student must be the child or spouse of:

  • A veteran who died or is permanently and totally disabled as the result of a service-connected disability. The disability must arise out of active service in the Armed Forces.
  • A veteran who died from any cause while such service-connected disability was in existence.
  • A service member missing in action or captured in the line of duty by a hostile force.
  • A service member forcibly detained or interned in the line of duty by a foreign government or power.

Period of Eligibility

In addition to the aforementioned requirements, a student who wishes to receive benefits for attending school or job training must be between the ages of 18 and 26. In certain instances, it is possible to begin before age 18 and continue after age 26. Marriage is not a bar to this benefit. Students in the Armed Forces may not be eligible for this benefit while on active duty. To pursue training after military service, a discharge must not be under dishonorable conditions. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) can extend the period of eligibility by the number of months and days equal to the time spent on active duty. This extension generally cannot go beyond a student's 31st birthday, however, there are some exceptions.

For spouses, benefits end 10 years from the date the VA finds the spouse eligible or from the date of death of the veteran.
Surviving spouses of veterans who died while on active duty have 20 years from the date of the veteran's death to use the benefit. (benefits can't be paid before December 10, 2004 for anyone whose 10 year period ended prior to that date).

Note : These time limits can be extended under certain circumstances. For details, call 1-888-GIBILL-1 or visit the G.I.Bill website.

Monthly Payment

The amount the VA pays is based on the type of training program and training time (i.e. full-time, half-time, etc). Benefits are paid monthly and in arrears. For example, effective October 1, 2006, the VA pays $860 a month for full-time training for a full month at a college or university. If attendance is less than a month or less than full-time, payments are reduced proportionately. Different payment rates can be found on the G.I. Bill website or by calling the VA at: 1-888-GIBILL-1.

How to Apply

After finding a program approved for VA training, complete VA Form 22-5490, Application for Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance , and submit it to the VA regional office that serves the state where you will train. You can also apply online through VONAPP. If the student is a son or daughter under legal age, a parent or guardian must sign the application.

If the student has started training, he or she must take the application to their college's veterans affairs representative. Have that person complete VA Form 22-1999 and the Enrollment Certification form, and send both forms to the VA.


Post-9/11 GI Bill: Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship

Public Law 111-32, the Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship, amends the Post-9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33) to include the children of service members who die in the line of duty after September 10. 2001. Eligible children attending school may receive up to the highest public, in-state, undergraduate tuition and fees, plus a monthly living allowance and books and supplies under this program. Eligible children : are entitled to 36 months of benefits at the 100% level; have 15 years to use the benefit beginning on his or her 18th birthday; may be married or over 23 and still be eligible; may use the benefit until his or her 33rd birthday; are not eligible for the Yellow Ribbon Program . If the child is eligible under the Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty, Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve, and/or the Reserve Educational Assistance Program, then he or she must relinquish eligibility under one of those programs to receive benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill. If a child is eligible for the Fry Scholarship, he or she may be eligible for VA's Dependent's Educational Assistance Program (DEA). Although the benefits cannot be used at the same time, a child may be eligible for up to 48 months of benefits between the two programs. For further information go to www.GIBill.va.gov. Apply: VA Form 22-5490, "Dependents' Application for VA Education Benefits" is available at GIBill.va.gov from VONAPP, the online application.


Tuition Assistance (TA) Program

Armed Forces Tuition Assistance is a benefit paid to eligible members of the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard. Congress has given each service the Ability to pay up to 100% for the tuition expenses of its members. Each service has its own criteria for eligibility, obligated service, application process, and restrictions.

For more information, visit: www.military.com/education.


Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP)

Allows qualifying veterans to receive up to 12 months of assistance equal to the full-time Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty rate. To qualify veterans must: be 35-60 years old: unemployed on the day of application; not dishonorably discharged; not be eligible for another VA education program; and not receive VA compensation at the 100% rate due to unemployability. Participants must be enrolled in a VA approved program of education offered by a Community College or Technical School. The program must lead to an Associate Degree, Non-College Degree, or a Certification and train the veteran in a high demand occupation as determined by the U. S. Department of Labor (USDOL).

For more information, visit www.benefits.va.gov/VOW


MyCAA Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts

The MyCAA program offers a maximum financial benefit of $4,000 with a fiscal cap of $2,000. Programs of study are limited to Associate Degrees, Certification and Licensures. Spouses of active duty service members in pay grades E1 – E5, W1 – W2 and O1 – O2 as well as the spouses of activated Guard and Reserve members within those ranks. The MyCAA program does not include Coast Guard spouses.

For more information, visit: https://aiportal.acc.af.mil/mycaa