Veteran and Military Financial Aid and Education Programs

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EDUCATION PROGRAMS FINAL

Find out if you are eligible for military financial aid offered through the GI Bill and other Veteran and military education programs. Learn about each different program, how it works, what you and your family members may be able to apply and qualify for based on your service, and see what is needed to apply.

Please note that while military education funding is fairly standardized across the nation, educational opportunities and funding may vary based on your school and degree choice.

Learn About VA and Military Education and Financial Aid Programs

How do I apply for VA and military financial aid?

You may be able to apply to different military education programs based on your service. The program you apply to can affect the amount of aid you receive and once you apply to one program, you may not be able to apply to a different one if you were rejected from the first or decide you fit better into a different program. As this is the case, we suggest that you read through the entirety of this military financial aid guide and find out the program that has the ability to give you the most aid before you apply.

If you already know which military education program will give you the greatest amount of funding for school you can go straight into the application process. You can apply online for military education programs through the GI Bill by visiting the VA Education and Training website, here. In addition to the online form, you can also apply for military education programs at the nearest VA office or through a VA Certifying Official at the school of your choice. To have an application mailed to you, call (888) 442-4551.

What should I know before I apply?

Before you apply, learn about each of the various military education programs in detail. Evaluate the pros and cons of each program based on your experience and service. Select the one that will give you the best benefits and financial aid for your education. It’s important to note again that once you select and apply to a military education program, your decision will be final and it will likely not be able to be changed.

Military Education Programs and Funding

GI Bill

The GI Bill, also known as the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act, was signed into law on June 22, 1944 following political upheavals regarding the confusion of service member’s benefits post World War I. The bill was primarily created as a way to help active duty, reserve, and national guard members and their families obtain an education. It provides military education programs benefits for eligible service members to receive college, university, or vocational training. The types of benefits available depend on a person’s military service type. Reservists and ROTC are available for financing under the Montgomery Selected Reserve GI Bill.

Montgomery GI Bill

The Montgomery GI Bill is a military education program available to active duty and honorably discharged service members who have served at least two years and entered the service after June 30, 1985. Through this bill, service members receive a set payment cap. The payment cap amount varies based on length of service and what type of service (reservist or full-time). This payment goes towards educational costs every month, which will vary depending on which type of education is applied for. Under certain circumstances, this can be beneficial, but the government acknowledges that for most people, the POST-9/11 Bill will be more beneficial. Benefits pay between $464.25 to $1857.00 a month.

POST-9/11 GI Bill

The POST-9/11 GI Bill is for active duty service members as well as reservists who have been activated after 9/11. This bill can pay up to 100 percent of your educational costs if you’ve served in the military for at least three years. The amount covered depends on the length of service and whether you’re attending a public or private institution. Additionally, the bill pays up to $1,000 a year for books and supplies for service members and offers housing assistance. Benefits include full coverage for public institutions and up to $22,805.35 a year for private institutions.

Montgomery GI Selected Reserve

The Montgomery GI Selected Reserve program is available to reservists who have signed up for a six-year service obligation. Benefits under this program end at the moment of discharge unless you become reactivated. In this case, benefits may be extended. Also, being reactivated may make you eligible for the POST-9/11 GI BILL. All benefits through this bill are paid directly to the student. Benefits include $92.25- $369.00 per month.

Learn more about the different GI Bill programs

Military Financial Aid Programs and Options

Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) Scholarships

The Reserve Officers’ Training Corps or ROTC is an educational program designed with the purpose of developing leadership and management skills in students. Each branch of the military has their own specific programs and they all offer the same educational benefits, including full tuition reimbursement at participating universities, assistance with room and board, and partial reimbursement for books and supplies.

You may apply for these scholarships without obligation to serve in any given branch of the military. However, if you are accepted to the scholarship and choose to receive it, you will then be required to perform military service under the branch providing the funding. In addition to receiving funding, you will be required to complete a training course (mini boot-camp) under these programs prior to beginning your formal education.

Air Force ROTC programs have a minimum 4-year enlistment commitment while other military branches tend to offer two and three-year options.

Perkins Loan

The Perkins Loan is a 5 percent interest rate loan where your school is the lender and the funds are made in part available by the government and your school. These loans can be used for undergraduate or graduate programs.

Federal Pell Grants

Federal Pell Grants are for students who have not yet earned an undergraduate or professional degree. It requires filling out a FAFSA form every year you are in school and you can be eligible for up to $5,920 a year to be used at your discretion on educational needs.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG)

This program is used in correlation with the Pell Grants program for students who are deemed to have extensive financial assistance needs. In order to qualify, you will have to fill out the FAFSA application and have it reviewed by your educational institution. This program contains benefits ranging from $100 to $4,000 a year in additional supplemental benefits.

Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grants

The Teacher Education Assistance program is specifically designed to help those looking to work in the educational field and in an area that is deemed high need. In order to qualify for this program, you’ll need to take certain coursework to qualify as well as find a job in your given field in order for the grant to not turn into a loan. This program can offer benefits of up to $4,000 a year.

Yellow Ribbon Program

The Yellow Ribbon Program is available only to those who qualify for maximum benefits. The program is for non-active service members or their transfers through participating institutions. Schools which choose to participate in this program make additional benefits beyond the GI BILL available.

Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP)

The Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP) ended in 2015, though some individuals will remain eligible until November 25, 2019. This program was created to benefit Reserve Service Members and those called to active duty. Those who may receive benefits through REAP are service members who were attending school or had applied for REAP benefits prior to November 24, 2015.

Veterans Educational Assistance Program (VEAP)

The Veterans Educational Assistance Program (VEAP) is available for those who volunteered to make contributions to your military educational benefits program. Through this program, the government matches contributions on a 2-1 basis.

Co-Op Training

The Co-Op Training program is available for individuals who are attending school part-time and working part-time. The program consists of full-time training alternated with real-world application in business environments.

National Testing Program

The National Testing Program covers the entirety of costs for admission tests and tests for college credit.

National Call to Service Program

The National Call to Service Program is available to individuals who complete a period of national service. The benefits of this program may include a cash bonus, partial tuition reimbursement, and entitlement allowances.

Tutorial Assistance

Tutorial Assistance is a supplement to other educational benefits to aid in tutorial services.

Tuition Assistance Top Up

The Tuition Assistance Top Up program can help active duty members with assistance that will not count against their other GI BILL benefits.

On the Job and Apprenticeship

The On-The-Job and Apprenticeship program provides financial assistance to labor and union jobs upon completion of training in a field.

Work Study

The Work-Study program is available to anyone accepted in any of the GI BILLs and is offered to people attending school or vocational training ¾ of the time of a full schedule or more.

Student Loans for Military Members

The Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant provides up to $5,815 of financial aid per year for service members who spent any amount of time activated during the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns. Learn more about student loans for military members, here.

Loan Forgiveness and Deferments for Military

Public Service Loan Forgiveness provides financial relief for current or former military members by allowing debt forgiveness of educational loans after 120 consecutive loan payments. Additionally, there are benefits in place to defer payments while preparing to return to school following active duty service. Learn More about Loan Forgiveness and Deferments, here.

Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) Interest Rate Cap

Under this program interest on student loans obtained prior to service are capped at 6% while on active duty. Learn more about Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, here.

Education and Career Counseling Services

The Education and Career Counseling Services program offers counseling services to help service members transition from the military into the traditional business world. Learn more about military education and career counseling services, here.

Colleges That Accept Military Financial Aid

Military funding is covered exactly the same among all public institutions. There are, however, set cap amounts on available benefits for foreign and private schools.

The following types of schools accept military education programs to fund the cost of tuition:

  • Online and Campus Universities and Colleges
  • Vocational Schools
  • Community Colleges
  • International Universities

Veteran and Military Financial Aid FAQs

Is funding different based on the branch of the military I’m in?

Each branch of the military has its own set of eligibility requirements, application processes, and restrictions. As a result, what someone might qualify for may vary between different services.

Can I transfer my benefits to my children or family members (Transfer of Entitlement)?

Yes and No. Certain military programs allow for transferring benefits to children or family members. You’ll need to check the specifics of each program to determine if the benefits are transferable.

Learn more about benefits for family members: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/types/grants-scholarships/military

How do I apply for military-sponsored financial aid?

The process of applying for educational benefits through the G.I. Bill is relatively painless. There are three ways you can apply:

  1. You can apply online through the government website. It outlines what documents you need and will list eligibility based on your service. Educational opportunities and benefits can also be determined on school choice, which can also be found on the online application.
  2. In addition to the online form, you can apply at the nearest VA office or through a VA Certifying Official at the school of your choice.
  3. To have the application mailed to you, call (888) 442-4551.

How do I know how much I’ll receive?

The amount you’ll receive depends on your service and the institution or program you’re applying for. The best way to see what you’ll qualify for is to go through the application process with a listed school or training listed.

Learn more: http://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/higher_learning.asp

How are my education payments determined?

Payments are determined each following month, which means you’ll get a payment for November during December. These payments are determined on the actual cost of your tuition and can be affected by a number of credits being taken as lower credit loads can be higher in cost per credit.

Learn more: http://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/higher_learning.asp

When will I get payments for my tuition?

Payments for tuition are received the month after each payment is due.

Are there loans specifically for military members?

Yes, an example is The Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant which provides up to $5,815 of financial aid per year for service members who spent any amount of active duty time during the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns.

Learn more about the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/types/grants-scholarships/iraq-afghanistan-service

Learn more about other student loan programs for military members: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/sites/default/files/military-student-loan-benefits.pdf

Is there any loan forgiveness for military members?

Yes, Public Service Loan Forgiveness provides financial relief for current or former military members. They allow debt forgiveness of educational loans after 120 consecutive loan payments.

Can I go to more than one school at a time?

Yes, you can go to more than one school at a time. There are not any regulations that stop you from using military funding to attend multiple schools at one time. There are also no rules regarding the program or school type you can attend.

Can I get multiple degrees (e.g. 2 bachelor’s, 1 bachelor’s and one master’s) with the GI Bill?

The GI Bill allows for work on up to two degrees at a time, including two bachelor’s or a bachelor’s and master’s.

How do I verify my attendance so I can keep receiving benefits?

Verifying attendance for continued benefits will have to be coordinated with any institution you work with on your education. You can discuss this with your enrollment or guidance counselor. Verification must be third-party verified for validity.

Education Funding For Military Family Members

Military Spouse Scholarships, Military Spouse Tuition Assistance, and Benefits for Service Member’s Dependents

The primary military spouse scholarship is the MyCCA program, although there are still other great options such as the Post 9/11 GI Transferability program, the DEA assistance program, and the Fry scholarships. All of these programs offer military spouse scholarships and military spouse tuition assistance as well as assistance to dependents.

  • Post 9/11 GI Bill Transferability a Military Spouse Tuition Assistance: For those directly related to a service member, the Post 9/11 GI Bill is transferable. Any amount of unused benefits may be transferred to their spouse as a military spouse tuition assistance. The caveat is that the service member must have served for at least six years of active duty and must have an additional four years under contract. Learn More about Post 9/11 GI Bill Transferability and Military Spouse Tuition Assistance here: www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/post911_transfer.asp

  • Survivors and Dependents Educational Assistance Program (DEA): The Survivors and Dependents Educational Assistance Program (DEA) offers assistance to veterans and children of veterans who are totally disabled, who died while on active duty, or became disabled as a result of a service training accident. This program is for the child as a dependents’ or military spouse scholarship. Learn more about the Survivors and Dependents Educational Assistance Program (DEA): http://www.benefits.va.gov/GIBILL/resources/benefits_resources/rate_tables.asp#ch35

  • Fry Scholarship a Military Spouse Scholarship and Dependents’ Scholarship: The Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship (Fry Scholarship) is available to military spouses and children of service members who died in the line of duty as a result of 9/11. It is an amendment to the Post-9/11 GI Bill, which can cover full tuition for state-run universities and colleges. Military spouses can use the scholarship for up to 15 years after their service member’s death or until they have remarried. Children who are able to use this scholarship must be between 18 and 33 years of age. Learn more about the Fry Scholarship: http://www.benefits.va.gov/GIBILL/Fry_scholarship.asp

  • Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts Program (MyCCA): This is a military spouse scholarship program sponsored by the Department of Defense’s Spouse Education and Career Opportunities program. It is a scholarship for workforce development that offers up to $4,000 of military spouse tuition assistance for those who’ve married an eligible military service person. These funds can be used at any academic institution approved for participation in the MyCCA scholarship program.

    Those eligible for this program are military spouses of active duty service personnel as well as spouses of activated Reservist and Guard members. In order for Reservist and Guard member’s spouses to be eligible, they must complete their education while their spouse is still called up to active duty. Learn more about Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts here: https://myseco.militaryonesource.mil/Portal/Media/Default/Collaterals_Catalog/Program_Overview/MyCAA-Helping-Spouses-Reach-Career-Goals.pdf

  • Military Program Rates

    Source

    Survivors’ and Dependents’ – (DEA/Chapter 35) Increased Educational Benefit

    Educational Assistance Allowance for trainees under the Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program (Chapter 35 of title 38, U.S.C.). The following monthly rates are effective October 1, 2012.

    Training TimeMonthly Rate
    Full time$987.00
    3/4 time$740.00
    1/2 time$491.00
    less than 1/2 time and more than 1/4 time$491.00**
    1/4 time or less$246.75**

    Entitlement charged at the rate of one month for each $987.00 paid.

    **Tuition and Fees ONLY. Payment cannot exceed the listed amount.

    Training PeriodMonthly Rate
    First six months of training$720.00
    Second six months of training$540.00
    Third six months of training$356.00
    Remainder of training$180.00

    Training TimeMonthly Rate
    Full time$794.00
    3/4 time$596.00
    1/2 time$396.00

    Training TimeMonthly Rate
    Full time$987.00
    Accelerated Charges – Cost of Tuition and Fees in Excess of …$305.00
    Entitlement Reduced 1 day for Each$32.90 (1/30th of full-time rate)

    Education and Training Survivors’ and Dependents’ – (DEA/Chapter 35) Increased Educational Benefit

    Educational Assistance Allowance for trainees under the Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program. The following basic monthly rates are effective October 1, 2013.

    Training TimeMonthly Rate
    Full time$1,0003.00
    3/4 time$752.00
    1/2 time$499.00 (1/30th of full-time rate)
    less than 1/2 time and more than 1/4 time$499.00**
    1/4 time or less$250.75**

    Entitlement charged at the rate of one month for each $1,003.00 paid.

    **Tuition and Fees ONLY. Payment cannot exceed the listed amount.

    Training TimeMonthly Rate
    First six months of training$732.00
    Second six months of training$549.00
    Third six months of training$362.00
    Remainder of training$183.00

    Training TimeMonthly Rate
    Full time$807.00
    3/4 time$606.00
    1/2 time$402.00

    Training TimeMonthly Rate
    Full time$1,003.00
    Accelerated Charges – Cost of Tuition and Fees in Excess of…$310.00
    Entitlement Reduced 1 day for Each$33.43 (1/30th of full-time rate)

    Survivors’ and Dependents’ – (DEA/Chapter 35) Increased Educational Benefit

    Educational Assistance Allowance for trainees under the Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program (Chapter 35 of title 38, U.S.C.). The following monthly rates are effective October 1, 2014.

    Training TimeMonthly Rate
    Full time$1,018.00
    3/4 time$763.00
    1/2 time$506.00
    Less than 1/2 time and more than 1/4 time$506.00**
    1/4 time or less$254.50**

    Correspondence – Entitlement charged at the rate of one month for each $1,018.00 paid.

    ** Tuition and Fees ONLY. Payment cannot exceed the listed amount.

    Training TimeMonthly Rate
    First six months of training$743.00
    Second six months of training$557.00
    Third six months of training$367.00
    Remainder of training$186.00

    Training TimeMonthly Rate
    Full time$819.00
    3/4 time$615.00
    1/2 time$408.00

    Training PeriodMonthly Rate
    Full time$1,018.00
    Accelerated Charges – Cost of Tuition and Fees in Excess of…$315.00
    Entitlement Reduced 1 day for Each$33.93 (1/30th of full-time rate

    Reserve Educational Assistance Program Increased Educational Benefit

    Educational Assistance Allowance for trainees under the Reserve Educational Assistance Program (Ch. 1607 of Title 10, U.S.C.). The following monthly rates are effective October 1, 2015.

    For trainees on active duty, payment is limited to reimbursement of tuition and fees for the training taken.

    Training TimeConsecutive service of 90 days but less than one yearConsecutive service of 1 year+Consecutive service of 2 years+
    Full time$715.60$1,073.40$1,431.20
    3/4 time$536.70$805.05$1,073.40
    1/2 time$357.80$536.70$715.60
    Less than 1/2 time but more than 1/4 time$357.80**$536.70**$715.60**
    1/4 time or less$178.90**$268.35**$357.80**

    ** Tuition and Fees ONLY. Payment cannot exceed the listed amount.

    CORRESPONDENCE TRAINING: Correspondence training is reimbursed at:

    40% level22% of the approved cost of course
    60% level33% of the approved cost of course
    80% level44% of the appproved cost of course

    Entitlement is charged based on the rate of one month for a benefit amount equal to the full-time institutional rate.

    FLIGHT TRAINING: Flight training is reimbursed at:

    40% level24% of the approved cost of course
    60% level36% of the approved cost of course
    80% level48% of the appproved cost of course

    Entitlement is charged based on the rate of one month for a benefit amount equal to the full-time institutional rate.

    Training PeriodService of 90 days but less than one yearService of 1 year +Service of 2 years +
    First six months of training$536.70$805.05$1,073.40
    Second six months of training$393.58$590.37$787.16
    Remaining pursuit of training$250.46$375.69$500.92

    (Rates are proportionally reduced if less than 120 hours is worked.)

    Training TimeService of 90 days but less than one yearService of 1 year +Service of 2 years +
    Monthly Rates$715.60$1,073.40$1,431.20

    Reserve Educational Assistance Program Increased Educational Benefit

    Educational Assistance Allowance for trainees under the Reserve Educational Assistance Program (Ch. 1607 of Title 10, U.S.C.). The following basic monthly rates are effective October 1, 2016.

    For trainees on active duty, payment is limited to reimbursement of tuition and fees for the training taken.

    Training TimeConsecutive service for 90 days but less than one yearConsecutive service of 1 year +Consecutive service of 2 years +
    Full time$742.80$1,114.20$1,485.60
    3/4 time$557.10$835.65$1,114.20
    1/2 time$371.40$557.10$742.80
    Less than 1/2 time more than 1/4 time$371.40**$557.10**$742.80**
    1/4 time or less$185.70**$278.55**$371.40**

    ** Tuition and Fees ONLY. Payment cannot exceed the listed amount.

    CORRESPONDENCE TRAINING: Correspondence training is reimbursed at:

    40% level22% of the approved cost of course
    60% level33% of the approved cost of course
    80% level44% of the appproved cost of course

    Entitlement is charged based on the rate of one month for a benefit amount equal to the full-time institutional rate.

    FLIGHT TRAINING: Flight training is reimbursed at:

    40% level24% of the approved cost of course
    60% level36% of the approved cost of course
    80% level48% of the appproved cost of course

    Entitlement is charged based on the rate of one month for a benefit amount equal to the full-time institutional rate.

    Training PeriodService of 90 days but less than one yearService of 1 year +Service of 2 years +
    First six months of training$557.10$835.65$1,114.20
    Second six months of training$408.54$612.81$817.08
    Remaining pursuit of training$259.98$389.97$519.96

    (Rates are proportionally reduced if less than 120 hours is worked.)

    Training TimeTraining TimeTraining TimeTraining Time
    Monthly Rates$742.80$1,114.20$1,485.60

    Sources


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