Would you go back to school if someone else covered the cost?
Servicemembers, veterans, and their spouses and dependents have earned college degrees with financial assistance through military education benefits that allow people to focus on school without having to worry about paying for it.
One education benefit, the Post-9/11 GI Bill®, covers the cost of tuition, books, supplies and housing. Tuition Assistance, funded through the U.S. Department of Defense, allows you to take classes while on active duty and save other education benefits for transferring to eligible family members.
For a quick reference about the programs listed below, check out Are You Eligible for Military Education Benefits?
- Who’s eligible? All active duty servicemembers, National Guard members, reservists and veterans are eligible if you served on active duty for at least 90 days after Sept. 10, 2001. Unused benefits can be transferred to spouses and dependents.
- When does it expire? Veterans discharged before Jan. 1, 2013, have up to 15 years from the date of discharge to use Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits. Under the Forever GI Bill, which became law in 2017, there is no time limit on using those benefits for veterans discharged on or after Jan. 1, 2013.
- What does it cover? It covers tuition for up to 36 months, pays a stipend for books and eligible school supplies (up to $1,000 per year), and provides a monthly housing allowance.
- Additional info: Tuition is paid directly to the school. The monthly housing allowance and stipend for books and supplies are paid to the student.
- Where to apply: Apply through your New England College Enrollment Services Representative or through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website or regional VA office.
- Who’s eligible? This benefit is available to active duty servicemembers, National Guard members, reservists and veterans that meet the eligibility requirements based when you entered active duty, length of service and other factors. Visit the MGIB-AD page to learn more.
- When does it expire? Generally, this benefit is available to use within 10 years following your release from active duty.
- What does it cover? The program covers tuition for up to 36 academic months. The funds are paid directly to the student.
- Additional info: Some servicemembers may have opted to participate in the $600 Buy-Up Program, making them eligible for a benefit increase of up to $5,400.
- Where to apply: Apply through your New England College Enrollment Services Representative, through the VA website or regional VA office.
- Who’s eligible? Active duty servicemembers, National Guard members, reservists and veterans may be eligible for post-secondary education if they have a service-connected disability.
- When does it expire? The benefit must be used within 12 years from date of separation from active duty service.
- What does it cover? If you are accepted into this program, you will meet with a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC) who will create a plan to address your needs and identify your education options.
- Additional info: Career counseling, resume development, job seeking services and support are available.
- Where to start: Contact the VA to determine eligibility for services.
- Where to apply: You can apply for this benefit online, by mail or in person at a regional VA office.
- Who’s eligible? This program is provided through the U.S. Department of Defense and is available to active duty servicemembers, National Guard members and reservists for use while in the service.
- When does it expire? It expires when you are released from service.
- What does it cover? For most branches, this program pays 100% of tuition and course-specific fees at a maximum of $250 a semester credit hour, up to $4,500 per student per fiscal year (October 1-September 30) if you are pursuing a degree from a regionally or nationally accredited school. TA does not cover the cost of books or course materials.
- Additional info: Each military branch has its own application process, eligibility and financial restrictions.
- Where to apply: Visit your branch’s education center or education benefits website.
- Who’s eligible? Active-duty servicemembers, National Guard members and reservists are eligible if they have served a minimum of two years on active duty, are using the Tuition Assistance program and are eligible to use the Post-9/11 GI Bill and Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty benefits.
- When does it expire? It expires when you leave the service.
- What does it cover? This is an education benefit that supplements the cost of courses that may not be fully covered under the Tuition Assistance program. It is capped at 36 months of payments. The program allows you to use funds from the Post-9/11 GI Bill and Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty to pay the balance of tuition not covered under TA.
- Additional info: The program gives servicemembers who plan to complete a degree while on active duty the option of saving most of their GI Bill funds to apply toward their education after leaving the service.
- Where to start: Contact your New England College Enrollment Services Representative to find out if TA Top-Up is the best option for you.
- Where to apply: You must first apply for the GI Bill through your New England College Enrollment Services Representative or the VA (in person or online), and let your Enrollment Services Representative know you would like to apply for TA Top-Up.
- Although this program ended in 2015, some participants will still be eligible for REAP benefits until November 2019. Under the Forever GI Bill, Reservists who lost their REAP eligibility when the program ended can have their service credited toward the Post-9/11 GI Bill.
- Similar education benefits for National Guard members and reservists called to active duty on or after Sept. 11, 2001, are available under the Post-9/11 GI Bill.
- Who’s eligible? Veterans and active duty servicemembers who paid into the program depending on date of entry into the service are eligible. The government matches contributions at a rate of $2 for every $1 paid into VEAP. Consult the VEAP pamphlet to learn more.
- When does it expire? This benefit is available 10 years after your date of release from service.
- What does it cover? The benefit varies from one to 36 months, depending on the contributions made.
- Additional info: Members who served in the U.S. Air Force have different eligibility requirements; they can be viewed on the VEAP web page.
- Where to start: Contact the VA to find out if you are eligible for VEAP, then contact your New England College Enrollment Services Representative to see if a degree program or courses are covered by the program.
- Where to apply: Veterans need to send a completed application to the VA regional office with jurisdiction over the state where you will be going to school or obtaining training. Download VA Form 22-1990 from the VA website. Active duty servicemembers need to visit your branch’s education center or education benefits website.
- Who’s eligible? You must have a signed six-year obligation to serve in the Selected Reserve after June 30, 1985. The program is available to servicemembers in the following organizations:
- Army Reserve
- Navy Reserve
- Air Force Reserve
- Marine Corps Reserve
- Coast Guard Reserve
- Army National Guard
- Air National Guard
- When does it expire? This benefit expires 10 years from the date of eligibility or release from the Reserve or National Guard if you became eligible before Oct. 1, 1992. It expires after 14 years if you became eligible on or after Oct. 1, 1992.
- What does it cover? This program provides up to 36 months of education benefits.
- Additional info: This benefit allows eligible reservists and National Guard members to begin using benefits immediately after completing IADT (Initial Active Duty Training), allowing you to serve in the Reserve or National Guard and begin higher education courses at the same time.
- Where to start: Visit your branch’s education center or education benefits website to see if you’re eligible. Then, contact the VA to see if your degree program or courses are eligible under this benefit.
- Where to apply: Send a completed application to the VA regional office that serves New Hampshire. Download VA Form 22-1990 from the VA website.
To learn more or to apply for military education benefits, contact a New England College Enrollment Services Representative at 1-855-300-9387 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: www.benefits.va.gov
- 1-888-442-4551 (1-888-GI-BILL-1)
- To find a regional office near you, check out the Facility and Service Locator.
- Military OneSource, a U.S. Department of Defense-funded program for servicemembers and their families.
- Education Benefits Per Branch of Service:
*GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government website at www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.