Many VA education benefits are available under the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). These include scholarships for veterans who wish to enroll in an education or training program after separating from the military, as well as different types of financial assistance for the surviving dependents of qualifying service members.
To obtain these veterans education benefits, however, military members generally need to complete a minimum amount of active duty service, and they must separate from the military under honorable conditions.
Several types of veterans education assistance services include the educational assistance program for service members and the GI Bill. For instance, different types of GI Bills include the Forever, Montgomery and Post-9/11 Bills. With benefits under the Montgomery and Post 9/11 Bills, for instance, veterans receive reimbursements for tuition fees, housing costs, books and additional expenses. To learn more about these education and training services for veterans, review the information below.
The Post-9/11 GI Bill provides honorably-discharged veterans with education and training benefits as they participate in a licensing, schooling or apprenticeship program. To qualify for these benefits, however, service members must have served at least 90 days of active duty service after September 10, 2001, and they must separate from the military under honorable conditions. To qualify for the maximum benefit amount, veterans must serve three or more years of active duty service. Moreover, Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits are also available to veterans with service-connected disabilities, as long as they serve in the military for at least 30 days.
To apply for these veterans education benefits, service members can submit an application online or in person at a Regional VA Office. As another option, applicants can call 888-442-4551 and the VA will mail them a paper application. When completing the Application for VA Education Benefits (Form 22-1990), veterans must provide their Social Security Number, military and education history, direct deposit payment information and information about the specific learning institution they plan to attend.
Many Yellow Ribbon schools participate in this program throughout the U.S., providing qualifying veterans with additional funding for completing a post-service education or training program. However, veterans must receive Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits and they must qualify for the maximum benefit amount. Generally, veterans must complete at least 36 months of active duty service in order to qualify for the maximum GI Bill amount. Additionally, Purple Heart recipients can qualify for the maximum amount, regardless of their length of service. In some cases, veterans with service-connected disabilities can qualify as well, even if they did not complete three years of active duty service.
To apply for Yellow Ribbon benefits, students must enroll directly through their schools’ certifying official. If students qualify for enrollment in the program, the certifying official will provide them with their maximum benefit amount. If veterans qualify for these benefits, they can apply this funding toward any additional expenses or fees that the GI Bill did not cover.
Montgomery GI Bill benefits are also available to qualifying reservists and active duty military members who wish to pursue a post-service education or training program. However, eligibility requirements vary by program type, as two types of Montgomery bills are available to qualifying service members. For instance, the Montgomery GI Bill Reserve program (known as MGIB-SR) is available to applicants who served at least six years in the Selected Reserve on or after June 30, 1985. Additionally, Reservists must hold a GED or high school diploma, and they must complete their initial active duty for training (IADT) before they can apply for these benefits.
To meet Montgomery GI Bill eligibility requirements as an active duty service member (known as the MGIB-AD program), applicants must complete at least two years of active duty service or they must leave the military under honorable conditions. If applicants are separated from service, they must have begun active duty after June 30, 1985 and they must hold a high school diploma or at least 12 hours of college credits. If veterans left the military due to dishonorable conditions or misconduct, they will not qualify for these benefits. To learn more about this VA education benefit, applicants can call 888-442-4551.
An additional VA education assistance program is available under the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017. As part of this program, veterans can extend their standard Post-9/11 GI Bill eligibility period, giving them the opportunity to use their benefits without meeting any time limitations. If veterans separated from active duty prior to Jan. 1, 2013, however, this change does not apply to them and they must use their benefits within 15 years.
Related Article: Forever GI Bill
Moreover, additional changes under this program pertain to the following:
While some of these changes took effect in August of 2018, others will take several years to become effective.
Also known as Chapter 32, this education assistance program for veterans is available to qualifying applicants who first entered the service between Jan. 1, 1977 and June 30, 1985. However, veterans must have opened a VEAP account prior to April 1, 1987 and they must have contributed between $25 and $2,700. If service members qualify for these education benefits, they can use their funds to pay for a college degree or a vocational, apprenticeship or certificate program. Additionally, program beneficiaries must use their funds within 10 years of separating from active duty.
To apply for the VEAP program, veterans must complete an Application for Education Benefits (VA Form VA Form 22-1990). Then, they must mail the application to the Regional VA Office in the state where they plan to enroll in a school or training program. Unless active duty service members wish to apply for these benefits, veterans must submit a copy of their military discharge documents along with their application.
Chapter 35 VA benefits are available to the qualifying spouses and dependents of veterans with service-connected disabilities, or to the families of service members who died while serving on active duty. Additionally, these benefits assist the family members of veterans who died from a service-connected condition. If families qualify for Dependents Educational Assistance (DEA), they can obtain up to 45 months of benefits. Additionally, these benefits can be used to pay for a college degree or certificate program, on-the-job training or an apprenticeship program.
Related Article: Veterans Educational Assistance