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Basic Facts on All Military Education Benefits

August 30, 2012

There are a number of educational benefits available for military students, whether you want to use them on active duty or as a veteran. The best education will lead to a promising career, allowing you to easily transition into civilian life. However, as recent news has suggested, it's not the easiest thing to get into college and pursue a degree after active duty. College is already difficult, but with rising tuition rates, it can be even harder for military students who also have to deal with disabilities, age differences, stress disorders and mental adjustments. Education benefits are meant to make things easier for military students, but there are multiple types of assistance through the VA and G.I. Bill. Knowing the basic facts about these programs can help veterans get into a vocational or college degree program.

Tuition Assistance

This is the main program for all eligible service men and women. Tuition Assistance is a military benefit that pays the cost of tuition and some other fees. All military service members are eligible, but criteria particular to each branch in the military. TA will cover up to 100 percent tuition and fees that are not to exceed $250 per semester credit hour, $166 quarter credit hour, and $4,500 per fiscal year. The Navy also has a 16 credit hour annual limit.

Post-9/11 G.I. Bill

The Post 9/11 G.I. Bill will provide up to 36 months or four regular school years of educational benefits to eligible service members and veterans for college, business, vocational courses, correspondence courses, apprenticeships, job training, and flight training. The G.I. Bill is available for service members including active duty, guard and reserve. It is also available for veterans who have served at least 90 days on active duty since September 10th, 2001. The bill will pay for tuition and fees, living expenses and books. Benefits are tiered based on the number of days on active duty. There are some other limitations that apply to those who are currently using benefits on active duty. You can also transfer the benefits to your spouse or family members.

Montgomery G.I. Bill (MGIB)

The MGIB will provide up to 36 months or four school years of tuition and fee benefits for eligible veterans. The bill provides benefits for college, business, technical training, vocational courses, job training, apprenticeships and flight training. The bill is available for active duty members who served at least two years on active duty. Veterans have four categories of eligibility which depends on when they were enlisted and how long a veteran was on active duty. The MGIB provides up to $1368 per month for full time institutional education.

Reserve Education Assistance Program (REAP)

REAP will pay for the same education benefits as the MGIB for active duty and veterans at reduced rates. You have to have at least 90 days on active duty since September 10th, 2001. REAP will pay for 40 percent, 60 percent or 80 percent of the MGIB payment rate as determined by total length of active duty time.

Top Up Program

This is another portion of the Tuition Assistance program and is an additional benefit to help supplement other tuition assistance programs such as the G.I. Bill. It is available to use with all courses that began on or after October 30th, 2000. To be eligible for this program, you have to be approved for federal Tuition Assistance by a military department and be eligible for MGIB-active duty benefits. The amount of benefits is limited based on the amount that would be received for the same course as if MGIB benefits were being used to pay for the course. Any regular MGIB benefits would be reduced.

Veterans Educational Assistance Program (VEAP)

Through this program, if you elected to make contributions from your military pay to participate, then you have more education benefits for a degree, certification, correspondence, apprenticeship, job training and vocational flight training program. You have to meet certain requirements, including that you entered service between January 1st, 1977 and June 30th, 1985; opened a contribution account before April 1st, 1987; contributed between $25 and $2,700; completed 1st period of service; and that you had a discharge that was not dishonorable. The contributions are matched on a $2 for $1 based through the government.

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