VA Education Benefits

VA Education Benefits

Choose the VA Education Benefit Which is Best for You:

Montgomery GI Bill Booklet
Veterans Handbook

Montgomery GI Bill - Active Duty

You may be an eligible veteran if you got an Honorable Discharge, AND you have a High School Diploma or GED or, in some cases 12 hours of college credit. The monthly benefit paid to you is based on the type of training you take, length of your service, your category, and if DOD put extra money in your MGIB Fund (called "kickers").

Institutional Training
Training Time
Monthly Rate (10/1/2017)
Full time
¾ time $1,446.00
½ time $964.00
¼ time or less $482.00
Apprenticeship and On-Job Training
Training Period
Monthly Rate (10/1/2017)
First six months
of training
Second six months
of training
Remainder of training $674.80

Buy-Up (Kicker) Benefit

Persons currently on active duty can contribute (to their military branch) in increments of $20 up to $600. If you are on active duty, you need to contact your Education Services Officer. A contribution of $600 would increase your monthly benefits by $150 for full time training. Veterans who select to use the Post-9/11 GI Bill are not eligible to use the Buy-up benefit, even if they already paid into it.

Currently the VA does not have a way to interface with the US Department of Defense to verify service members who pay the $600.00 additional contribution. The VA requests each service member who paid this contribution to submit a xeroxed copy of the following:

These documents provide proof to the VA that the $600.00 was paid and allows them to process your claim to include the kicker.

Top-Up Benefit

The VA has a program for people on active duty to use their GI Bill in conjunction with tuition assistance. The program "Top-Up," allows the VA to pay you the difference between the total course cost and the cost covered my your service department, up to the maximum rate.

For example, if you were enrolled in a one month course that was considered full time and the total course cost was $1500, and the military was paying $1000, the VA could pay the difference, $500. The VA could pay that amount because the $500 is less than the maximum rate payable to a veteran, $900. If the same course Was $1500 and the service department was only paying $100, the most the VA could pay would be $900, the maximum rate payable to the vet. The VA pays whichever one is less. If you are getting 100% TA for a class, you would not be eligible for Top-Up for that class. Top-Up does reduce your GI Bill entitlement.

If you have never applied for the GI Bill, you will have to apply for the GI Bill to use Top-up. If you have a claim for Top-Up to submit, you can send your APPROVED application for tuition assistance with your application. If you have already applied for benefits, you can just submit the approved application for tuition assistance to the VA office that last handled your claim.

Post 911 VA Education Benefits

The Post-9/11 GI Bill provides financial support for education and housing to individuals with at least 90 days of aggregate service after September 10, 2001, or individuals discharged with a service-connected disability after 30 days. You must have received an honorable discharge to be eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Your decision to apply for a certain education benefit could impact your eligibility for other benefits. Here are a few factors to keep in mind:

GI Bill Comparison Tool

Post 9/11 GI Bill – Transferring Benefits to Dependents

How Do I Get Started?

  1. Find and apply to a college or university that is approved for VA training or education. If you are not clear on this point, the VA will inform you and the school or company about the requirements. (Most regionally and nationally accredited colleges and universities are approved by the VA.) If you haven't found a "Military Friendly" school that is VA-approved, then a good way to get started is the website"Military Friendly", which will help you get information from fully accredited "military friendly" colleges and universities that are VA-approved and experienced with the VA process.

  2. Complete VA Form 22-1990, Application for Education Benefits.

    • If you are Active Duty you will need to have your Education Service Officer or Command representative complete and sign Section II of the VA Form 22-1990.
    • If you are a Veteran you will need to include a copy of your DD 214 Discharge Paperwork.
    • If you are a member of the Selective Reserve you may need to include a copy of DD Form 2384-1, Notice of Basic Eligibility which was given to you by your unit when you became eligible for the MGIB-SR.

  3. In most cases the school will send your application along with their paperwork to the VA regional office with jurisdiction over the State or area where you will train. This will expedite the process. However if you have not found a school yet, you can still apply for your VA Eligibility Determination by mailing your completed VA Form 22-1990 to your VA Regional Office.

  4. Once you have begun to receive your benefit checks (Direct Deposit) you will have to complete the VA's Web Automated Verification of Eligibility (WAVE) each month to continue to receive your monthly benefits payments. The WAVE is a simple process that requires you to either log-on to the VA WAVE website or call their toll-free number at 1-888-GIBILL-1. It only takes a couple of minutes, but you will not get your monthly payment until you do.

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