The VA education department provides multiple benefits for both veterans and their family members. The majority of VA education benefits come from the GI bill. The GI bill does not apply to all schools, but there are many universities where it is applicable. In addition to traditional in-person classes, there are other educational institutions that allow you to use your GI bill. This includes online classes, technical and vocational schools. Not all of the GI bill benefits are the same. Some cover general tuition costs, while others help with buying supplies or moving to attend school.
When you apply to use GI bill benefits, you must provide your military service record, which determines the type of benefits available to you. The biggest determination is how long you served in the military, and when you initially enrolled. There are separate GI bill benefits available for Selected Reserve or Guard members. More information about GI bill approved schools and benefits is detailed below.
Today, the majority of veterans get GI bill benefits from the Post 9/11 GI bill. Along with schools that accept GI bill benefits, you can also use the Post 9/11 bill for job training programs. There are several eligibility requirements to get the Post 9/11 GI bill. As long as you meet one of the eligibility requirements, you can use the bill.
The first Post 9/11 GI bill requirement is that you served for at least 90 days of active-duty service in the military after September 11th, 2001. Your 90 days can either be consecutive or with breaks. If you received a Purple Heart on or after September 11th and were honorably discharged you also qualify. Finally, if you served for at least 30 continuous days after September 11th and were honorably discharged because of a service-connected disability, you are eligible for benefits.
Post 9/11 GI bill benefits can also apply if the eligible veteran or service member transfers their benefits to his or her dependent. If your VA education department benefits ended from the Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP) closing, you can apply for restored benefits under the Post 9/11 GI bill.
When applying at schools that take GI bill beneficiaries, your support changes depending on the type of school. The primary purpose is to use the GI bill to cover your college tuition and fees. The exact amount covered varies depending on whether you attend a public, private or foreign school. As of writing, all tuition and fees are covered if you attend a public school in your state. If you attend either a private or foreign school, your GI bill benefits cover up to $26,042.81 each academic year.
If you enroll at your GI bill approved school for more than half of the total year, you can also use your benefits for a cost-of-living stipend. Each month, you’ll receive an allowance based on the average cost of living in the state your school is located. This allowance must be used on room and board. The GI bill also provides an initial allowance at the start of the year for general school supplies and books. You can receive up to $1,000, depending on where you go to school and your financial needs.
If you are interested in GI bill technical schools or other educational options in a rural area, you can apply for additional assistance. This option provides a single payment of $500 if you are either moving 500 miles to attend your school or if you move into a county where there are six or fewer individuals per square mile. Additionally, you can request these funds if you are attending a foreign school that requires you to fly by plane to reach.
Your Post 9/11 GI bill benefits may expire, based on your service record. If your service ended before January 1st, 2013, you have 15 years from your last date of active service to use your benefits. Any benefits you do not use by this period are lost. If your service ended on or after January 1st, 2013, you are eligible for the Forever GI Bill, which as of writing guarantees your benefits will not expire until they are used.
If you previously used GI bill benefits, you can look at your GI bill statement of benefits to determine what resources are still available. You can contact the VA education department to receive an up-to-date statement. The education department also has a list of online schools that take GI bill benefits if you want to attend classes remotely.
The Montgomery GI bill is another option for military members pursuing an education. The bill is divided into two segments, one for active-duty members and one for military reserves. To qualify for active-duty benefits, you must have contributed at least $100 per month for the first year of your activity duty service. You must have also served for at least two years or were honorably discharged. If you qualify, you receive a monthly allowance of up to $1,994 based on where you attend college, up to a maximum of $72,000 over a three-year period. These benefits are available for up to 10 years after your last service date.
The Montgomery GI bill benefits are different for Selected Reserve or Guard members. Instead of a maximum of $72,000, you can only receive a maximum of $11,000 over three years. To qualify for these benefits, you must be committed for at least six years of service, have completed your initial activity duty training and are in good standing with your Selected Reserve or Guard unit.
CH 35 VA benefits are available to dependents of veterans. Either children or spouses of a veteran can use these benefits if the veteran who died was disabled because of service, were detained by a foreign government or went missing in action. Veterans who have a total disability that requires medical care may also transfer these benefits to their children or spouse.
To use these GI bill benefits, children must be between the ages of 18 and 26. Children and spouses must use these benefits within 10 years of the veteran’s last day of active service. Students who attend school full time receive a monthly allowance of $1,224 as of writing, or $710 if they attend for half of the year.