Veterans Administration Benefits
Created by President Roosevelt in 1944, the GI Bill has a long history of helping veterans achieve their post-secondary goals. Today, the GI Bill continues that tradition in several forms including the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB), the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and the Veterans Education Assistance Program.
Montgomery GI Bill - Active Duty (MGIB-AD)
To get the full entitlement, you have to serve at least 36 months on active duty, and pay the $1,200 contribution. In return, you can go to school for 36 months and earn up to $1,368 per month. One important part of the MGIB-AD many veterans forget is the entitlement end-date--you must use the benefit within 10 years from the date of your discharge. If go over your end-date, you not only lose your VA education benefits, but also your $1,200 contribution.
You can use your entitlement for:
- college, business, technical or vocational courses
- correspondence courses
- certification tests
- on-the-job training
- flight training
Post 9/11 GI Bill
Beginning on August 1, 2009, the newest GI Bill is available to those who serve at least 90 days on active duty after September 10, 2001. Thirty six months of active duty is required to get the full benefit. This Bill differs from previous GI Bills due to its robust payment features:
- a tiered level of payment
- tuition and fees paid directly to your school
- a monthly housing allowance and book stipend paid to you
- the Yellow Ribbon Program
- a relocation allowance
- a benefits transfer option
While the new GI Bill has more pay features than the MGIB-AD, but it is narrower in scope in what it covers:
- degree-producing college courses--resident and online
- non-degree programs offered by institutions of higher learning
- licensing and certification tests
Veterans Education Assistance Program (VEAP)
If you entered active duty between January 1, 1977 to June 30, 1985, and opened a contribution account before April 1, 1987, you qualified for VEAP. You get one month of benefit for each month of contribution and for every $1 you contributed, the government matches yours with $2. Once you're out, you have 10 years to use your education benefit--at which time your unused contribution is automatically returned to you, even if you never used any of the money.
You may use VEAP for:
- degree programs
- certificates and licenses
- apprenticeship/on-the-job training programs
- flight training programs
State Veteran Education Benefits
All 50 states and three territories not only look out for veterans, but their spouses and dependent children well. Some states offer their WWII and Korean veterans free high school diplomas, while others offer scholarships for their Vietnam veterans. Some states offer reduced or free tuition or scholarships for children of disabled or deceased veterans. There is almost something for everyone regardless of when you served.
To see what your state has available for you, check your state's Veterans Affairs Website. States want to help you by creating these benefits for you and your family. Show your appreciation by graciously accepting them to improve your future.