Veterans Guide to Education Benefits

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Veterans Guide to Education Benefits

The Montgomery G.I. Bill (“GI Bill”) has helped thousands of veterans receive a college education or vocational training after service. This article provides information and resources for the various VA educational benefit programs.
Photo credit: William Stitt. A young black man in a graduation cap and gown sits smiling on a bench in a garden

Educational Benefits Overview

Veterans first started receiving educational benefits through the Montgomery G.I. Bill (“GI Bill”) which was passed after World War II. The purpose of the G.I. Bill was to give returning veterans a chance to go to college or get vocational training. The program has existed - and expanded - ever since. 
 

Since the G.I. Bill's creation, the law has expanded to include other educational benefit programs. These programs are broken down into "chapters." The expansion programs now include benefits for certain active duty members, Reservists and National Guard members, as well as some dependents of veterans.  You may qualify for one or more.
 

Below is a list of the Chapter/Programs and gives a general explanation of the program itself and who qualifies. Click on the title of a specific chaper and it will take you to a page with more detailed information and resources for that specific program. 
 

You may also want to use the VA's comparison tool, to help you sort out which program, or programs, you may qualify for.

 

 

Educational Benefit Programs

 

  • Chapter 30 - Active Duty GI Bill (MGIB)
     
    • A variety of veterans qualify for this program, but it usually has to be used no later than 10 years after active service.
       
    • The benefits can go toward college, technical, or vocational courses; apprenticeship/job training; licensing & certification tests; and certain entrance examinations, just to name a few.

 

 

  • Chapter 31 - Vocational Rehabilitation
     
    • To qualify for this program, you must be active duty with a service connected disability rated at least 20% OR a veteran with an honorable or other than honorable discharge and have a service connected disability rated at least 10%.
       
    • Generally, the benefits from this program must be used no later than 12 years after separation or when your disability was rated, and can only be used for vocational training.

 

 

  • Chapter 32 – Veterans Education Assistance Program (VEAP)
     
    • VEAP is only available to veterans who elected to make VEAP contributions from their military pay and entered service for the first time between January 1, 1977, and June 30, 1985. 
       

    • This program allows eligible servicemembers to deduct money from their military pay for education expenses and the VA will match every dollar 2 to 1. This means for every dollar that is deducted from the servicemember's military pay for VEAP, the VA will add and additional $2 to their VEAP total. 

 

 

  • Chapter 33 - Post 9/11 G.I. Bill
     
    • You may be eligible if you served at least 90 days total on active duty after September 10, 2001, or were honorably discharged from active duty for s service-connected disability after serving 30 continuous days after September 10, 2001.
       
    • The program includes several types of benefits that last up to 36 months, with amounts based on the length and nature of your service. Benefits can be used for tuition and fees, books, supplies, housing, and potentially moving expenses associated with getting an undergraduate and graduate degree, completing an apprenticeship, going through vocational training, and more.  

 

 

  • Chapter 35 - Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance Program (DEA)
     
    • To be eligible for the DEA Program, you must be the child or spouse of a veteran who has died or is rated permanently disabled from a service connected disability or a child or spouse of a servicemember who is missing in action, forcibly detained or has been treated for a permanent service connected disability.  
       

    • ​​​​​​​The program offers up to 36 or 45 months of education benefits depending on when you first start using them. Some DEA beneficiaries may be eligible for up to 81 months of GI Bill benefits if they use the Survivors and Dependents Educational Assistance program in conjunction with an entitlement from other VA education programs.

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  • Chapter 1606 – Selected Reserve GI Bill (MGIB-SR)
     
    • If you’re a member of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps or Coast Guard Reserve, Army National Guard, or Air National Guard, you may be eligible for this benefit. 
       
    • ​​​​​​​The program provides up to 36 months of educational or training benefits, which includes payment of up to $384 per month.

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  • Supplemental Programs
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    • In addition to the GI Bill, the VA offers supplemental programs to cover gap expenses or in times of emergency such as the COVID-19 Pandemic. Read here for more information.