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by Brandi Lyndall
The Department of Veterans Affairs provides education financial assistance to veterans and dependents but determining the options, benefits and eligibility can be complicated. Since 1944, the GI Bill has offered qualifying veterans and their family members money to cover all or some of the costs for school or training. Currently, the GI Bill outlines two ways for veterans to qualify for aid, but only one GI Bill program can be used to pay for college.
Post-9/11 GI Bill is for veterans who have served on active duty after September 10, 2001 and meet at least one of the following requirements.
Served at least 90 days on active duty (either all at once or with breaks in service) on or after September 11, 2001, or
Received a Purple Heart on or after September 11, 2001, and were honorably discharged after any amount of service, or
Served for at least 30 continuous days on or after September 11, 2001, and were honorably discharged with a service-connected disability, or
Are a dependent child using benefits transferred by a qualifying veteran or service member.
Through the Post-9/11 GI Bill, veterans can receive up to 36 months of benefits which may include tuition and fees, housing allowance, books and supplies. The funding amount will depend on the time of active service since September 10, 2001, the college, and the number of course hours. Reservists who lost education benefits when the Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP) ended in November 2015 may qualify to receive restored benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill.
Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR) is for members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps or Coast Guard Reserve, Army National Guard, or Air National Guard to receive up to 36 months of education and training benefits. To be eligible for this program, veterans must
Have a 6-year service obligation in the Selected Reserve, or
Be an officer in the Selected Reserve and agreed to serve 6 years in addition to initial service obligation,
Complete initial active duty for training (IADT), and
Obtain high school diploma or certificate of equal value, a High School Equivalency Diploma or GED, before finishing IADT, and
Stay in good standing while serving in an active Selected Reserve unit.
Apply for a GI Bill program.
Veterans may qualify for additional benefits.
For money to cover private-school or out-of-state tuition, apply for the Yellow Ribbon Program.
Learn about the Yellow Ribbon Program
Veterans may transfer all 36 months or a portion of the Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to a spouse or child.
Learn about transferring Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits
The child or surviving spouse of a service member who died in the line of duty after September 10, 2001 may qualify for the Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship (Fry Scholarship). Learn more about the Fry Scholarship
The following major national organizations offer scholarships primarily to active duty military, veterans, and/or dependents.
Paralyzed Veterans of America
Veterans of Foreign Wars