Military Benefits

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Educational Assistance for Military Service

Enacted in 1944 to give returning U.S. WW II veterans a range of benefits, the Montgomery G.I. Bill enabled many servicemen and women to attend college and earn their degrees. And while the G.I. Bill continues to be a major source of educational financial assistance for today’s veterans, there are also a number of schools and nonprofit organizations in addition to the federal government that offer money for college to veterans, future military personnel, active duty personnel, or those related to veterans or active-duty personnel.

Below are several sources of financial aid you might want to consider:

Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) Scholarships: awarded on the basis of merit rather than financial need.

  • Army ROTC scholarships are offered at hundreds of colleges. Application packets and eligibility information can be found at http://www.goarmy.com/rotc.html
  • The Air Force ROTC scholarship program targets students pursuing certain foreign language and technical degrees, although students entering a wide variety of majors may be accepted. To get more information, visit: http://www.afrotc.com
  • The Navy ROTC offers both two- and four-year scholarships, with options to join the Navy, the Marines, or the Navy Nursing Corps. Learn more about these opportunities at: https://www.nrotc.navy.mil
  •  The Marine Officer NROTC program pays your way through college at approved schools, plus offers an additional scholarship if you attend an approved Historically Black College and University (HBCU). Find out more at: http://www.marines.com/becoming-a-marine/commissioning-programs/four-year-colleges/nrotc

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 11, 2001, or individuals discharged with a service connected disability after 30 days. You must have received an honorable discharge to be eligible.

Post-9/11 GI Bill Benefits:

  • provides up to 36 months of education benefits, which are payable for 15 years following your release from active duty. It also allows some service members to transfer their benefits to dependents.
  • pays for your full tuition and fees directly to the school for all public school in-state students, and up to $18,077 per academic year for attendance at a private or foreign school.

The actual benefit amount will vary based on an individual’s total length of service. For example, those who have served at least 36 months or 30 continuous days prior to discharge for a service-connected disability can get maximum tuition and fees, a monthly housing stipend and an annual stipend for books and supplies. Those who have served at least 90 days, but less than six months, receive 40 percent of the maximum benefit. These benefits are payable for up to 15 years following a member’s honorable discharge or retirement from service. For more details and to apply, visit: http://www.gibill.va.gov

Army/Navy/Air Force/Marine Corps College Funds: the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps each provide tuition assistance (a “kicker”) in addition to what you earn through the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Each service controls the amount of extra money it provides:

  • the Army fund increases the amount of support to as much as $70,000
  • the Navy fund increases the amount of support to as much as $50,000
  • the Marine Corps fund increases the amount of support to as much as $30,000

College Funds are awarded on a competitive basis according to academic merit (i.e., scoring in the top half of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery). Each Service branch determines who qualifies for the College Fund and the amount received. College Fund Programs are offered to service members when they first join the Military. To qualify, you must have a high school diploma and you must be enrolled in the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

Survivors & Dependents Assistance (DEA): provides education and training opportunities to eligible dependents of certain veterans. The program offers up to 45 months of education benefits. These benefits may be used for degree and certificate programs, apprenticeship, and on-the-job training.

To be eligible, you must be the son, daughter or spouse of:

  • A veteran who died or is permanently and totally disabled as the result of a service-connected disability. The disability must arise out of active service in the Armed Forces.
  • A veteran who died from any cause while such permanent and total service-connected disability was in existence.
  • A servicemember missing in action or captured in line of duty by a hostile force.
  • A servicemember forcibly detained or interned in line of duty by a foreign government or power.
  • A servicemember who is hospitalized or receiving outpatient treatment for a service-connected permanent and total disability and is likely to be discharged for that disability.

To learn more about DEA, visit: http://www.gibill.va.gov/benefits/other_programs/dea.html