Veterans can get help paying the costs of going back to school or getting on-the-job training, as well as support in picking the right educational opportunity for the next career.
For those with active duty after Sept. 11, 2001 (Post-9/11 GI Bill), the VA helps pay for tuition, fees, housing and books.
Tuition: One hundred percent of in-state tuition and fees for an approved education or training program is covered for those who served at least 36 months after 9/11. It’s also 100 percent covered if discharge was due to a service-connected disability. Those with fewer service months get from 40 to 90 percent of the cost of tuition and fees. The benefit is paid directly to the school. The maximum benefit for those attending private schools is $20,235 each academic year. Schools participating in the Yellow Ribbon program may pay up to 50 percent of the tuition costs above this cap, with the VA matching the school’s contribution.
Housing: Veterans going to school more than half time get a monthly housing allowance that’s equal to the base allowance for housing that an E-5 living in the school’s zip code would get. Students using distance learning get one-half of the national average base allowance.
Books and supplies: The stipend is up to $1,000 per year.
Timing: Veterans are eligible for the education benefit for 15 years from the last active duty of at least 90 days. They can get up to 36 months of the education benefit.
Training: The benefit can be used at colleges, universities, trade schools and for on-the-job training, apprenticeships and flight schools. It will also pay for tutorial assistance, licensing exams and certification tests, such as the SAT or LSAT.
Those with service before Sept. 11, 2001, have several options:
- Montgomery GI Bill-Active Duty
- Montgomery GI Bill-Selected Reserve
- Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP)
- Post-Vietnam Era Veterans Educational Assistance Programs (VEAP)
Through these programs the VA helps pay for tuition and fees and other education expenses for colleges, universities, trade schools, on-the-job training, apprenticeships and flight schools. Eligibility depends on when active service started, how long the veteran served and the discharge status. With REAP and VEAP, the service member made contributions during active duty.
Have questions about what you should study, where to go to school or how much help is possible? Use the GI Bill Comparison Tool to check out schools and programs as well as calculate the benefits you will receive.
- Find VA education forms at www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/handouts_forms.asp.
- Apply online at vabenefits.vba.va.gov/vonapp/main.asp.
- Apply in person at the nearest VA regional office.
- Talk with the VA certifying office at the school of your choice.
- Call 888-GI-Bill-1 (888-442-4551) to have the application mailed.