What are Some of the Programs Available to Active Military or Veterans to Help Pay for Education?

soldier going to college
A mind is a terrible thing to waste, goes the old saying. And it’s true. That’s the reason why the government provides several excellent educational benefits programs to service members. An education is a tremendous benefit to anyone seeking to better themselves, whether still in uniform or out. It is important to remember too that the educational benefits you have available to you are a part of the compensation you have earned with your service, so it makes sense to take advantage of them.

Still on Active Duty?

Service members who are still on active duty have access to up to $4,500 annually in the form of Tuition Assistance, or “TA” as it is called. TA is a program that pays your tuition directly to the school you attend on a class by class basis. Service members also have the GI Bill monies available to them while they are on active duty, but this is better saved until they are out of the service.

Everyone on active duty is qualified to receive these monies, although the eligibility criterion is established by each service for their own. An Educational Services Officer can provide you with details on this program.

The GI Bill

Referring to the GI Bill is actually a misnomer since today’s GI Bill is a far cry from your father’s. Today’s GI Bill is actually several programs that encompass much more than in the past. This makes not only active duty and veterans eligible for its benefits, but spouses, their dependents, and survivors as well. Below is a summary of what these programs entail as well as who they cover and how.

Regardless of which program you apply for it is important for you to remember that you might qualify for more than one, depending on your individual situation. Knowing how to use the programs and at what stage of your life could actually save you money. The best person to discuss this with is your Educational Services Officer, who can guide you through the programs.

The Post-911 GI Bill

The Post-911 GI Bill provides up to 36 months (four years of a standard program) of tuition for use towards colleges and university programs, correspondence courses, flight training, and apprenticeship courses. This program is available to all service members, active duty, reserve, or veterans, who have served a total of 90 days on active duty, post 9/10/2001.

The Montgomery GI Bill

The Montgomery GI Bill provides for the same educational benefits as above, but these monies are available to active duty members who have served at least two years on active duty and four categories of veterans, determined by when they enlisted and how long they served. This program provides up to $1564 monthly for a full time educational program.

The Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserves

This program provides education funding for those services members serving in reserve programs. The amount of funding available depends on the time of service commitment the service member has signed for.

Fortunately, this list is only a tip of the proverbial educational iceberg. To determine what is available for your specific group, contact your education office.