Military Life May 21, 2019

From Service Member to Scholar: Take Advantage of the VA Education Benefits Available to You

Julia S., Editor

Veterans Affairs (VA) supports its Veterans’, Service members’ and their family members’ educational pursuits through various programs – a multitude of VA education benefits are available. Help your Veterans and Service members make giant strides toward their goals by informing them on what programs they may qualify for so that they can decide which benefit(s) is best for them and then apply.

GI Bill Programs

The GI Bill provides up to 36 months of benefits. These benefits can help propel you forward as you work toward a degree, train for a specific career, trade or industry, work while you study or take classes from home. Options include:

  • Undergraduate and graduate degrees
  • Non-college degree programs
  • Foreign programs
  • Tuition assistance top-up
  • Tutorial assistance
  • Test fee reimbursement
  • Accelerated payments for high-technology programs
  • Funding for specific training programs (e.g., HVAC repair, truck driving)
  • VET TEC program
  • Flight training
  • On-the-job training and apprenticeships
  • Entrepreneurship training
  • Co-op training
  • Work-study program
  • Correspondence training
  • Independent and distance learning

Learn more about how you can use your benefits by visiting VA’s website.

1. Post-9/11 GI Bill

The Post-9/11 GI Bill is an education benefit program for individuals who served on active duty on or after September 11, 2001. This program provides benefits to Veterans and qualified dependents.

You may be eligible if you served at least 90 aggregate days on active duty after September 10, 2001, and you are still on active duty or were honorably discharged from active duty.

Not sure much of your benefits you’ve used up? Use the Post-9/11 GI Bill Statement of Benefits tool. You may also be eligible to transfer unused benefits to your spouse or dependent children.

2. Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty (MGIB-AD)

The MGIB-AD is offered to those who served for at least two years on active duty. You must qualify under one of four categories. Benefits cannot be transferred to dependents.

3. Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR)

Members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps or Coast Guard Reserve, Army National Guard, or Air National Guard may be eligible for the MGIB-SR. Benefits cannot be transferred to dependents.

Discover more about these education benefit programs and compare their benefits using the GI Bill Comparison Tool. When you’re ready, learn how to apply.

For Survivors and Dependents

1. Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA) Program

The DEA program (Chapter 35) is offered to the spouse or dependent of a Veteran or Service member who has died, is captured or missing, or has disabilities. This program assists in paying for school or job training.

2. The Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship (Fry Scholarship)

The spouse or dependent of a Service member who died in the line of duty on or after September 11, 2001, may qualify for the Fry Scholarship and receive benefits.

Other Programs

1. The Post-Vietnam Era Veterans’ Educational Assistance Program (VEAP)

VEAP is a $2-to-$1 Government-match program for educational assistance. Part of your military pay is used to cover the cost of school.

2. National Call to Service Program

The National Call to Service program is offered to those who performed a period of national service. It allows for an alternative education benefit to be chosen (instead of the MGIB).

3. Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) 

VR&E is VA’s comprehensive program for Veterans and transition­ing Service members with service-connected disabilities and an employment handicap. The program helps participants prepare for, find and maintain suitable employment and live more independently when an employment goal is not feasible.

Services include the following:

  • Vocational counseling
  • Training
  • Job placement assistance
  • Rehabilitation services

It may be overwhelming at first, but once you explore and understand the VA education benefits that are available to you, you’ll be one step closer to reaching your educational and career goals.

For more information on military education products available to purchase for your community, browse the Quickseries® library of guides, including Post-9/11 GI Bill®, Montgomery GI Bill® Active Duty, Montgomery GI Bill® Selected Reserve and Benefits for Veterans, Dependents and Survivors.

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