GI Bill Active Duty Benefits

As a member of the military you are entitled to valuable educational benefits under the GI-Bill.  Before beginning the process of activating your benefits it is important to understand what benefits you are entitled and how you may utilize your benefits.  For active duty service members there are two primary educational benefit programs: (1) the Post-9/11 GI Bill and (2). Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty (MGIB-AD) Reverse the order of the programs to reflect the article order.  To equip you with the information you need to get started, take a moment to review the brief outline below.

Post-9/11 GI BILL[1]

Benefits Overview:

  • Tuition and fees for up to 36 months
  • Tuition and fees for private or foreign institutions paid up to $17,500 per year
  • Service members may also be eligible to receive funds through the Yellow Ribbon Program
  • Kickers of up to $950 per month
  • Monthly housing allowance
  • Up to a $1,000 per year for books and supplies
  • Reimbursement for tutorial assistance, and licensing or certification tests
  • Ability to transfer benefits to a family member
  • Benefits do not need be paid back

Benefits will be paid:

  • Directly to the school for tuition and fees after the school certifies your enrollment and your application is approved by the VA
  • Directly to the student in separate payments for Kickers, housing allowance, and books/supplies stipends

Your benefits will last:

  • Up to 15 years from your last period of active duty
  • Up to 36 months after you begin using your benefits

 

You may use your benefits toward:

  • An undergraduate or graduate degree through
    • o A public or private college or university including overseas institutions
    • o A business, technical, or vocational school
    • o An accredited online/ correspondence program
    • An apprenticeship or On the Job Training (OJT) program
    • A flight training program

You may be eligible for benefits if you:

  • Served at least 90 days on active duty for reduced benefits or at least 36 months for full benefits
  • Received an honorable or other qualifying hardship or medical discharge
  • Completed at least 90 days of service after September 10, 2011

Additional Information:

  • Generally, if you are eligible for the Post-9/11 GI bill and other educational benefits, you will be required to make a permanent choice.

Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty (MGIB-AD)[2]

Benefits Overview:

  • A maximum monthly benefit of up to  $1,368  for up to 36 months
  • Kickers of up to $950 per month
  • Your base benefit amount is a fixed rate without regard to program

Benefits will be paid:

  • Directly to you, on a monthly basis, in the form of a check or direct deposit
  • After the school/training facility certifies that you are actively enrolled in school
  • On the contingency that you verify your attendance monthly through W.A.V.E   The Web Automated Verification of Enrollment that the VA uses to track your status before benefits are paid

Benefits will last:

  • Up to 10 years after separation of duty
  • Up to 36 months after you begin using your benefits
  • Benefits may be extended under certain circumstances and you should check with your financial aid advisor or VA advisor at your school.

You may use your benefits toward:

  • An undergraduate or graduate degree through:
    • o A public or private college or university including overseas institutions
    • o A business, technical, or vocational school
    • o An accredited online/ correspondence program
    • An apprenticeship or On the Job Training (OJT) program – acronym
    • A flight training program

How you earned them:

  • Signed up for the program while on active duty, and
  • Contributed a $1200 buy-in, and
  • Served 3+ years of continuous active duty for full benefit, or
    Served 2 years, but less than three years of active duty for reduced benefit, or
    Served 2 years continuous active duty + 4 years Selected Reserve
  • Received an honorable discharge
  • Earned a high school diploma or GED

Additional Information:

  • There are certain eligibility exceptions in place for service members who did not complete the required service period, please speak with your military unit for more information.

Your honorable military service and active duty status may entitle you to the highest level of education benefits offered under the Montgomery GI Bill or the Post-9/11 GI Bill.  These benefits are very valuable tools that can help you reach your educational goals and secure your financial future.

Do not hesitate – contact a VA advisor at your desired institution today.  The quick form on this page can help you connect with schools that can help you get started.



[1] United States, Department of Veteran Affairs, “Post-9/11 GI Bill: General Information.” 8 Aug. 2011

< http://www.gibill.va.gov/documents/factsheets/post-911_general_info.pdf>

[2] United States, Department of Veteran Affairs, “The Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty.” 8 Aug. 2011 <http://www.gibill.va.gov/documents/pamphlets/ch30_pamphlet.pdf>

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Krish is a writer based in the Austin, TX area that is focused on making information easier to digest. He focuses on military and education topics.

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