No, we aren’t talking about bills you have to pay, we are taking a closer look at bills that help you! Specifically: GI Bills, these bills help you with things like education.
This is still a part of Career Readiness portion of your separation journey, but we wanted to give this topic its very own post.
Education and Training Resources
GI Bill® Overview
Career readiness may involve going back to school or participating in skills training.
The VA GI Bill benefits can help fund your education dreams.
The GI Bill can help you pay for tuition and fees, books, supplies and even monthly housing costs.
There are four types of GI Bill benefits:
- Post-9/11 GI Bill (or Chapter 33)
- Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty (or Chapter 30)
- Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve (or Chapter 1606)
- Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (or Chapter 35)
- A 4-year degree
- An advanced degree
- Technical training
- On-the-job training
- Vocational school
- Flight training
- Correspondence courses
- Certification training and exams
- Remedial, refresher and deficiency training in some cases
When you use GI Bill benefits, there’s no specific path you have to follow.
You can choose the classes, programs, certifications and schools that fit your needs.
Even if you transferred your GI Bill benefits to your family, review this information to learn more about what benefits apply to them.
Transfer of Entitlement
For questions about your eligibility and the status of your transfer request, contact the appropriate career counselor or personnel center listed at Transfer your Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits.
- Transfer of entitlement is a DOD program, which VA administers. Each military service makes decisions about eligibility.
- Transfer of entitlement for benefits can only happen while you are on active duty.
- You can revoke the transfer of unused GI Bill benefits (in this instance, transfer them back to yourself) at any time.
- Eligibility now includes certain unmarried children placed in the legal custody of the Service member for at least 12 months as a result of a recent court order.
Post-9/11 GI Bill
At private or foreign schools, VA only pays tuition and fees up to the national maximum. In other words, payment for tuition and fees is capped at the national maximum rate. The Yellow Ribbon Program is an option to address unmet charges.
As long as you’re enrolled greater than half-time (as determined by the school), VA pays you a Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA) based on your length of service, enrollment status and the ZIP code where you attend the majority of classes. The allowance is generally the same as the military Basic Allowance for Housing for an E-5 with dependents.
MHA is not available to you or your spouse while you’re on active duty.
If you have any questions, call
VA Education Center GI Bill Hotline 1-888-GIBILL-1 (1-888-442-4551)
For students outside of the United States, call 001-918-781-5678
The Choice Act
The Choice act ensures that, in most cases, you won’t have to pay out of state tuition even if your permanent address s in another state.
The Yellow Ribbon Program
If you qualify, your school will contribute a certain amount toward your extra tuition and fees through a grant, scholarship or similar program. VA matches this contribution.
Many schools participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program, including foreign schools. For a list of participating schools, visit: Yellow Ribbon participating schools.
Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Scholarship
The Edith Nourse Rogers STEM Scholarship program assists students training in high-demand STEM fields. This scholarship provides up to 9 months of additional Post-9/11 GI Bill Benefits (to a maximum of $30,000) to Veterans and Fry Scholars who may qualify if they:
- Are seeking an undergraduate STEM degree and are seeking a teaching certification,
- Have earned a STEM degree and are seeking a teaching certification,
- Are enrolled in dual secondary degrees OR
- Are healthcare professionals completing clinical training to become licensed to practice in a state or locality
To be eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill as a Service member or Veteran you must:
- Have served honorably for at least a total of 90 days on active duty on or after September 11, 2001, OR
- Have been honorably discharged from active duty for a service-connected disability and served 30 continuous days on or after September 11, 2001.
- 100% At least 36 months
- 100% At least 30 continuous days on active duty and must be discharged due to service-connected disability; or received a Purple Heart effective August 1, 2018
- 90% At least 30 months, but less than 36 months
- 80% At least 24 months, but less than 30 months
- 70% At least 18 months, but less than 24 months
- 60% At least 6 months, but less than 18 months
- 50% At least 90 days, but less than 6 months
To apply ONLINE head to VA.gov
Effective October 1, 2011, VA pays benefits to qualifying Army and Air National Guard members under Title 32.
- Full-time service in the National Guard for the purpose of organizing, administering, recruiting, instructing or training. OR
- Activation in support of a national emergency under Title 32.
Tuition Assistance Top-Up
Under VA’s Tuition Assistance Top-Up Program, VA allows you to use other federal funding, like your Post-9/11 GI Bill Benefits, to supplement TA.
You’ll want to think carefully about your situation before you apply for benefits through this program. You can talk with your education officer to help you make your decision. If you plan to take more courses after leaving the military, figure out if the GI Bill Benefits you have left will cover your needs.
You may be eligible for Tuition Assistance Top-Up if:
- You are approved for federal TA. AND
- You qualify for the Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty (MGIB-AD) or Post-9/11 GI Bill Benefits. AND The cost of the course and fees is more than TA will cover.
All of these must be true to be eligible:
- You are enrolled in an educational program for half-time or more. AND
- You are taking a difficult course. AND
- You have to take the course as part of your educational program.
Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty
If you use this benefit while on active duty, the benefits rate will be determined annually. VA pays benefits directly to you. The benefit may or may not cover all your tuition and fees.
You may be eligible if you have an honorable discharge and you have:
- A high school diploma. OR
- General Educational Development (GED).
Learn more Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty (MGIB-AD)
Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve
The Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR) benefit provides education and training benefits to eligible members of the Selected Reserve. This includes the Army National Guard, Army Reserve, Marine Corps Reserve, Navy Reserve, Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve and Coast Guard Reserve.
- You must have a 6-year service obligation (you agreed to serve 6 years) in the Selected Reserve, OR.
- You must be an officer in the Selected Reserve and you agreed to serve 6 years in addition to your initial service obligation, AND.
- You must complete your initial active duty for training (IADT), AND.
- You must get a high school diploma or certificate of equal value, like a High School Equivalency Diploma or GED, before finishing IADT, AND.
- You must stay in good standing while serving in an active Selected Reserve unit. You’ll still be eligible if you’re discharged from Selected Reserve service due to disability that was not caused by misconduct.
Learn more Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR)
Keep in mind… MGIB-SR eligibility is determined by the Selected Reserve components and VA makes the payments.
Montgomery GI Bill Buy-Up Program $600 Buy-Up Program
- Active Duty
- National Guard
Note: You cannot use this program with the Post-9/11 GI Bill.
Learn more here —> $600 Buy-Up Program
Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance
The Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA) benefit, also called Chapter 35, offers education and training opportunities to:
- Eligible dependents of Veterans who are permanently and totally disabled due to a service-related condition, OR
- Eligible dependents of Veterans who died while on active duty or as a result of a service-related condition
A person may be eligible for DEA benefits if they are the spouse or surviving spouse, or child of:
- A Veteran who died or is permanently and totally disabled as the result of a service-connected disability.
- A Veteran who died from any cause while a permanent and total service‐connected disability existed.
- A Service member who died during active military service.
- 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.
- A Service member who is hospitalized or receiving outpatient treatment for a permanent and total service‐connected disability and is likely to be discharged for that disability
Learn more here —> Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance
Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Memorial Scholarship (Fry Scholarship)
- Children and surviving spouses of Service members who died in the line of duty while on active duty after September 10, 2001.
- Children and surviving spouses of Service members who died in the line of duty other than active duty as a member of the Armed Forces.
- Children or surviving spouses of members of the Selected Reserve who died on or after September 11, 2001 from a service-connected disability while a member of the Selected Reserve.
- Children are eligible when they turn 18, unless they already graduated from high school. A child may be married or older than 23 and still be eligible.
- A spouse will lose eligibility for this benefit upon remarriage.
- If you are eligible for both the Fry Scholarship and Survivors’ DEA Benefit, you are required to make an “irrevocable election” to waive one of these two benefits. This means you cannot change or reverse your choice. This does not apply if you are the child of a Service member who died in the line of duty before August 1, 2011.
- For children and surviving spouses of Service members who died in the line of duty on or after September 11, 2001, to use Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits, members of the reserve components must have died while on full-time active duty under Title 32 Section 502(f) as Active Guard Reserve or while responding to a national emergency declared by the President that is federally funded.
- If members of the reserve components died while on weekend drill or annual training, children and surviving spouses do not qualify for the Fry Scholarship.
Comparing GI Bill Benefits
You may be eligible for both the Montgomery and Post-9/11 GI Bill education benefits. Take note of these important guidelines regarding eligibility for multiple programs:
- You can only get payments from one program at a time.
- You can only get a total of 48 months of benefits under any combination of VA education programs.
- For a single period of service, you can get up to 36 months of benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill or MGIB.
- Having multiple periods of service may result in eligibility for an additional 12 months. For example, if you qualify for both MGIB-AD and MGIB-SR benefits (based on separate periods of service), you can get 36 months of funding at your MGIB-AD payment rate and then an additional 12 months at your MGIB-SR payment rate, for a total of 48 months.
- The 48-month limit does not apply if a family member uses benefits transferred to them (possibly by two Service members who are parents of the beneficiary).
- If you are eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill and another benefit program (like MGIB-AD), you must make an irrevocable election in writing before receiving any Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits. This means you cannot change back to the MGIB-AD after you receive any Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits.
- Check out VA’s fact sheet, Post-9/11 GI Bill: Factors to Consider at: Post-9/11 GI Bill: Factors to Consider
- The VA provides valuable Education and Training Benefits to members of the reserve components, including financial support for undergraduate and graduate degrees, vocational and technical training, licensing and certification tests, apprenticeships and on-the-job training.
- Members may be eligible for one or more of the following programs if they meet certain service requirements:
- Post-9/11 GI Bill
The VA developed the three-part series, “Building Your Future with the GI Bill,” to assist GI Bill beneficiaries:
- Part One focuses on navigating education pathways and includes information on how to get started, choosing an education pathway and accessing on-campus resources.
- Part Two focuses on outlining and comparing VA Education Benefits.
- Part Three focuses on ways to further your career.
For more information, visit the resources provided below.
**All of this information has been taken from the VA transition guide. We have broken down the information into much easier pieces for you to navigate.**