Post-9/11 GI Bill
The Post-9/11 GI Bill provides financial support for education and housing to honorably discharged veterans with at least 90 days of aggregate service on or after September 11, 2001, or individuals discharged with a service-connected disability after 30 days. This benefit provides up to 36 months of education benefits; generally benefits are payable for 15 years following your release from active duty.
You qualify for this benefit if you:
- Served at least 90 days aggregate service on Title 10 Active Duty or Title 32 Active Guard Reserve Duty on or after September 11, 2001 or;
- Were discharged with a service-connected disability after 30 days; and
- Received an honorable discharge.
- Maintain enrollment at more than half-time in a VA-approved training program.
Programs include undergraduate or graduate degrees, vocational training, licensing and certification exams, in addition to others.
- Full tuition and fees paid directly to your school (you must be an in-state student attending a public institution).
- If you attend a private or foreign school, tuition & fees are capped at the national maximum rate of $18,077.50.
- A Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA) equal to the active duty Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) for an E-5 with dependents. Click here to determine your MHA.
- If you are attending solely by distance learning, you will receive one half of the BAH national average.
- MHA is not payable to individuals on active duty or those enrolled at half-time or less.
- An annual books and supplies stipend of $1,000.
- A one-time rural benefit payment.
- Transferability of benefits to dependents and spouses of veterans with six years of active duty service.
For more information: Federal VA: Post-9/11 GI Bill
Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP)
REAP provides educational assistance to members of the Reserve components called to active duty in response to a war or national emergency declared by the president or Congress.
Eligible veterans must be a member of a Ready Reserve component (Selected Reserve, Individual Ready Reserve, or Inactive National Guard) to pay into the “buy-up” program. National Guard members are eligible if they were serving under Title 32 orders for 90 consecutive days as authorized by the president or secretary of defense for a national emergency and that was supported by federal funds.
The Post-9/11 GI Bill in many ways has replaced REAP because it also provides educational assistance benefits for Reserve and National Guard members called to active duty on or after September 11, 2001, and in many cases provides a greater benefit than REAP.
For more information: Federal VA: Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP)
Tillman Military Scholarship
The Pat Tillman Foundation’s Tillman Military Scholars program is another great resource for removing financial barriers to higher education.
Each year, this program awards a select number of scholarships to veterans across the country to cover not only direct study-related expenses such as tuition and fees, but also other needs, including housing and child care. Both veterans and their spouses are eligible to apply.
For more information: contact your campus veteran services office or visit Tillman Military Scholarship.
Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB)
For qualified veterans, the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) can be a valuable resource for reducing the cost of education and training programs. This benefit can be used to pay for up to 36 months of costs for many different programs including:
- College degrees (undergraduate and graduate)
- Technical or Vocational Training
- Distance Learning or Correspondence Courses
- Apprenticeships/Job Training
- Flight Training
- Licensing and Certification Tests
- Entrepreneurship Training
- Certain Entrance Examinations
Generally, these benefits must be accessed within 10 years of your separation from active duty. Unlike the Post-9/11 GI Bill, the Montgomery GI Bill is not transferable to veterans’ family members.
You may be eligible for this benefit if you have an honorable discharge and you have a high school diploma or GED, and if the nature of your service meets all of the requirements of one of four VA qualification categories.
For more information: Federal VA: Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) Benefits
Tuition Assistance Top Up
Top-up allows the federal VA to reimburse you for all or a portion of the charges for your college courses that are not covered under certain military education programs. The amount of this benefit can be equal to the difference between the total cost of a college course and the amount of Tuition Assistance (TA) that is paid by the military for the course.
To be eligible for the Top-up benefit, you must be approved for federal TA by a military department and be eligible for either Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) – Active Duty benefits or the Post-9/11 GI Bill.
For more information: Federal VA: Tuition Assistance Top Up
Yellow Ribbon GI Education Enhancement Program
This federal program provides additional funds toward your education expenses at a number of participating colleges and universities nationwide. It is meant to fill the payment gap in situations where the maximum amount awarded by your Post 9/11 GI Bill falls short of the total cost of attendance at your school.
Institutions voluntarily enter into a Yellow Ribbon Agreement with VA and choose the amount of tuition and fees that will be contributed. VA matches that amount and issues payments directly to the institution, with no additional charge to your GI Bill entitlement. Contact your institution to see if they participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program.
To access this benefit, you must:
- Be entitled to the maximum benefit rate of the Post 9/11 GI Bill.
- Not be on active duty or a spouse using transferred entitlement.
- Dependent transferees may be eligible in certain circumstances.
- Be attending an institution participating in the Yellow Ribbon Program.
- Your school must certify your enrollment to the VA.
- Your school must have not offered Yellow Ribbon to more than the maximum number of individuals, as stated in their participation agreement.
For more information: Federal VA: Yellow Ribbon Program
Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) Program
This federal VA program provides education and job training to aid your transition back into the civilian workforce. It applies to veterans in general, but also has specific provisions for disabled veterans and their family members.
Survivors' and Dependents' Education Assistance Program (DEA)
This program offers education and training opportunities to eligible dependents of veterans who are permanently and totally disabled due to a service-related condition or of veterans who died while on active duty or as a result of a service-related condition.
Benefits may be used for degree and certificate programs, apprenticeship, and on-the-job training. If you are a spouse, you may take a correspondence course. Remedial, deficiency, and refresher courses may be approved under certain circumstances.
Find more information: Federal VA: Survivors' and Dependents' Education Assistance Program (DEA)