In addition to the more recent Post 9/11 GI Bill, there are two additional Educational Aid packages for Military Veterans to pursue college degrees, vocational training and other educational opportunities. They are the Montgomery GI Bill and the Veterans Educational Assistance Program.
The Montgomery GI Bill
The Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) was passed by Congress to provide educational assistance to service-members and veterans who enlisted in the U.S. Military. It was, for the most part, not open to officers and was the primary source of educational benefits for servicemembers prior to the passing of the Post 9/11 GI Bill. MGIB encompasses both the Montgomery GI Bill-Active Duty (Chapter 30) and The Montgomery GI Bill-Selected Reserve (Chapter 1606).
Under Chapter 30, Active Duty service-members members would pay $100 a month for 12 months and would then be eligible for educational benefits once they completed a minimum service obligation; usually four years. Reservists applying under Chapter 1606 must be actively drilling and have a 6-year obligation to the Selected Reserve. The Montgomery Bill has been for the most part, supplanted by the Post-911 GI Bill, but there are still many veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces that continue to qualify for it.
Veterans Educational Assistance Program
The Veterans Educational Assistance Program or VEAP is available to service-members who made contributions from their military pay while on active duty. Every dollar contributed is matched with two dollars by the Government. VEAP benefits can be used for degree programs as well as apprenticeship/on-the-job training, certificate, correspondence, and vocational flight training programs. Remedial, deficiency, and refresher training may also be covered under certain situations.
Benefits can be received by qualified veterans for up to 36 months depending how months the service-member contributed. Veterans have up to ten years after separation or retirement from active duty to use VEAP. If it is not used after ten years, whatever was contributed will be automatically refunded.
Requirements for VEAP benefits are as follows:
- Enter military service for the first time between January 1, 1977 and June 30, 1985
- Open a contribution account before April 1, 1987
- Voluntarily contributed at least $25 up to $2700
- Completed your first period of service and were discharged or released from service under conditions other than dishonorable.
If currently on active duty, service-members must have made at least 3 months of contributions. These can be refunded if the basic eligibility requirements are not met.
Before applying for VEAP benefits, service-members and veterans need to make certain their training program is approved by the Veterans Administration (VA). Contact the VA and they will inform you as well as the school about the requirements.
Once approved, an Application for Education Benefits, VA Form 22-1990, must be completed and submitted it to the VA Regional Office that has authority over the State where training will occur. Remember to send a copy 4 (Member Copy) of DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge From Active Duty with the VA 22-1990 as well. Applicants still on active duty must have enrollment approved by their Commanding Officer and the installation Education Services Officer.
For veterans who have already started a course, take a VA-22-1990 and DD Form 214, Copy 4 to your school or employer. Ask them to complete it and send all the forms to the VA.
Updated annually by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the publication Federal Benefits for Veterans and Dependents contains information about every federal education and training benefits program available to eligible veterans and their dependents.
Private organizations also provide educational benefits to military and veteran family members through grants and scholarships. Two good sources to research these benefits are Financial Aid.Org and Military.Com. These same websites also provide a substantial list of organizations by state that grant educational benefits for veterans and their families.