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The Top-Up Program

February 14, 2012

If you are currently in the military, there are several education programs that benefit you specifically. One of these lesser known programs is called the Top-Up Program. This is a program designed to help you pay tuition and fees that are not covered by tuition assistance. The amount of the benefit varies, but it can be equal to the difference between the total cost of a single college course and the amount of tuition assistance paid by the military for that same course. So who’s eligible and how does it work? Here’s some basic information.


You may be eligible for the Top-Up program if you are a G.I. Bill participant, still on active duty, and served at least two years. You also have to be approved for federal tuition assistance by a military department and be eligible for MGIB AD benefits. The amount of these benefits will be restricted to the amount that the person would receive for the same course if the normal MGIB benefits were being paid by the military. For that reason, the amount paid cannot be mixed with the amount paid by Veterans Affairs and it can’t be most than the total cost of the course.


How to Receive Benefits

To get these benefits, your normal G.I. Bill benefits will also be reduced. The amount of entitlement charged for Top-Up payments is determined by dividing the amount of the payment by the claimant’s full-time monthly rate. The benefit is available for all courses that began on or after October 30, 2000. You’ll need a copy of the Tuition Assistance Authorization form for the course that has been signed by an authorized military official. If you have not requested MGIB benefits before, you need to submit the form VA Form 22-1990. You then send the application and evidence to one of the VA’s four education processing offices in Muskogee, OK; Buffalo, NY; St. Louis, MO; or Atlanta, GA.

Questions about Top-Up

The program is a little bit confusing. How does it help if it reduces the G.I. Bill benefits? Well these benefits can specifically help you if you need money for college. If you do plan to use Tuition Assistance to complete a degree, then this is definitely a program for you. Also if you are active duty, you’ll also benefit greatly from this program. You can also save most of your MGIB to use after service to complete your education program.

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