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Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs

Chapter 5 Education and Training

Federal Benefits for Veterans, Dependents and Survivors

This chapter provides a summary of VA educational and training benefits. Additional information can be found at www.gibill.va.gov/ or by calling 1-888-GI-BILL-1 (1-888-442-4551).

Post – 9/11 GI Bill

Eligibility: The Post- 9/11 GI Bill is an education benefit program for Servicemembers and Veterans who served on active duty after Sept. 10, 2001. Benefits are payable for training pursued on or after Aug. 1, 2009. No payments can be made under this program for training pursued before that date.

To be eligible, the Servicemember or Veteran must serve at least 90 aggregate days on active duty after Sept. 10, 2001, and remain on active duty or be honorably discharged. Active duty includes active service performed by National Guard members under title 32 U.S.C. for the purposes of organizing, administering, recruiting, instructing, or training the National Guard; or under section 502(f) for the purpose of responding to a national emergency. Veterans may also be eligible if they were honorably discharged from active duty for a service-connected disability after serving 30 continuous days after Sept. 10, 2001. Generally, Servicemembers or Veterans may receive up to 36 months of entitlement under the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

Eligibility for benefits expires 15 years from the last period of active duty of at least 90 consecutive days. If released for a service-connected disability after at least 30 days of continuous service, eligibility ends 15 years from when the member is released for the service-connected disability. If, on Aug.1, 2009, the Servicemember or Veteran is eligible for the Montgomery GI Bill; the Montgomery GI Bill – Selected Reserve; or the Reserve Educational Assistance Program, and qualifies for the Post-9/11 GI Bill, an irrevocable election must be made to receive benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

In most instances, once the election to receive benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill is made, the individual will no longer be eligible to receive benefits under the relinquished program.

Based on the length of active duty service, eligible participants are entitled to receive a percentage of the following:

  1. Cost of in-state tuition and fees at public institutions and for the 2011-2012 academic year, up to $17,500 towards tuition and fee costs at private and foreign institutions (paid directly to the school);
  2. Monthly housing allowance equal to the basic allowance for housing payable to a military E-5 with dependents, in the same Zip code as the primary school (paid directly to the Servicemember, Veteran, or eligible dependents);
  3. Yearly books and supplies stipend of up to $1,000 per year (paid directly to the Servicemember, Veteran, or eligible dependents); and
  4. A one-time payment of $500 paid to certain individuals relocating from highly rural areas.

* The housing allowance is not payable to individuals pursuing training at half time or less.

Approved training under the Post-9/11 GI Bill includes graduate and undergraduate degrees, vocational/technical training, on-the-job training, flight training, correspondence training, licensing and national testing programs, and tutorial assistance.

Individuals serving an aggregate period of active duty after Sept. 10, 2001 can receive the following percentages based on length of service:

Active Duty Service Maximum Benefit

Active Duty Service Maximum Benefit
At least 36 months 100 percent
At least 30 continuous days and discharged due to service-connected disability 100 percent
At least 30 months < 36 months (1) 90 percent
At least 24 months < 30 months (1) 80 percent (3)
At least 18 months < 24 months (2) 70 percent
At least 12 months < 18 months (2) 60 percent
At least 6 months < 12 months (2) 50 percent
At least 90 days < 6 months (2) 40 percent

(1) Includes service on active duty in entry level and skill training. (2) Excludes service on active duty in entry level and skill training. (3) If the individual would only qualify at the 70 percent level when service on active duty in entry level and skill training is excluded, then VA can only pay at the 70 percent level.

The Yellow Ribbon G.I. Education Enhancement Program was enacted to potentially assist eligible individuals with payment of their tuition and fees in instances where costs exceed the in-state tuition charges at a public institution or the national maximum payable at private and foreign institutions. To be eligible, the student must be: a Veteran receiving benefits at the 100 percent benefit rate payable, a transfer-of-entitlement-eligible dependent child, or a transfer-of-entitlement eligible spouse of a Veteran.

The school of attendance must have accepted VA's invitation to participate in the program, state how much student tuition will be waived (up to 50 percent) and how many participants will be accepted into the program during the current academic year. VA will match the school's percentage (up to 50 percent) to reduce or eliminate out-of-pocket costs for eligible participants.

Transfer of Entitlement (TOE): DoD may offer members of the Armed Forces on or after Aug.1, 2009, the opportunity to transfer benefits to a spouse or dependent children. DoD and the military services must approve all requests for this benefit. Members of the Armed Forces approved for the TOE may only transfer any unused portion of their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits while a member of the Armed Forces, subject to their period of eligibility.

Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship:

This scholarship entitles children of those who die in the line of duty on or after Sept. 11, 2001, to use Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits.

Eligible children:

  • are entitled to 36 months of benefits at the 100 percent level
  • have 15 years to use the benefit beginning on their 18th birthday
  • may use the benefit until their 33rd birthday
  • are not eligible for the Yellow Ribbon Program

Restoring GI Bill Fairness Act of 2011

The Restoring GI Bill Fairness Act of 2011 amended the Post-9/11 GI Bill. The provisions of the bill are applicable to training pursued under the Post-9/11 GI Bill that began on or after Aug. 1, 2011.

The legislation authorizes VA to pay more than the national maximum set for private schools (currently $17,500 or the appropriately reduced amount based on eligibility percentage) in tuition and fees under the Post-9/11 GI Bill for certain students attending private colleges and universities in seven states - Arizona, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Texas.

To qualify for the increased payment (also referred to as the "grandfathered" tuition and fee amount), students must have been enrolled in the same college or university since Jan. 4, 2011, and have been enrolled in a program for which the combined amount of tuition and fees for full-time attendance during the 2010-2011 academic year exceeded $17,500.

VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011

Included in this new law is the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP) for unemployed Veterans. VA and the Department of Labor (DoL) rolled out this new program on July 1, 2012. The program provides retraining for Veterans hardest hit by current economic conditions.

VRAP offers 12 months of training assistance to unemployed Veterans. To qualify, a Veteran must:

  • Be at least 35, but no more than 60 years old
  • Be unemployed (as determined by DoL)
  • Have an other than dishonorable discharge
  • Not be eligible for any other VA education benefit program (e.g., the Post-9/11 GI Bill, Montgomery GI Bill, Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment assistance)
  • Not be in receipt of VA compensation due to unemployability
  • Not be enrolled in a federal or state job-training program

The program is limited to 54,000 participants from Oct. 1, 2012, through March 31, 2014. Participants may receive up to 12 months of assistance at the full-time payment rate under the Montgomery GI Bill–Active Duty program (currently $1,564 per month). Applications will be submitted through DoL and benefits paid by VA. DoL provides employment assistance to every Veteran who participates upon completion of their program.

Participants must be enrolled in a VA-approved program of education offered by a community college or technical school. The program must lead to an associate degree, non-college degree, or a certification, and train the Veteran for a high-demand occupation.

More details will be available at www.gibill.va.gov and on VA's Facebook, which are updated regularly.

VetSuccess on Campus: is designed to provide on-campus benefits assistance and readjustment counseling to assist Veterans in completing their college educations and entering the labor market in viable careers. Under this program, a full-time, experienced Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor and a part-time Vet Center Outreach Coordinator are assigned at each campus to provide VA benefits outreach, support, and assistance to ensure their health, educational, and benefit needs are met. Current locations include Cleveland State University, Community College of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College, University of Maryland University College, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo Valley Community College, Kellogg Community College, Eastern Michigan University, University of Michigan - Ann Arbor, Washtenaw Community College, University of South Florida, Middle Tennessee State University, Eastern Kentucky University, Norfolk State University, Tidewater Community College, Tidewater Community College – Chesapeake, Tidewater Community College – Portsmouth, Tidewater Community College - Virginia Beach, Tarrant County College District - South Campus, Tarrant County College District - Northeast Campus, Texas A&M University - Central Texas, Sam Houston State University, University of Texas-San Antonio, Arizona State University, Boise State University, Salt Lake Community College, University of Utah, Portland State University, San Diego State University, University of Alaska –Anchorage, Central New Mexico Community College, and University of New Mexico.

Educational and Vocational Counseling Services: Refer to Chapter 10, "Transition Assistance," for detailed information on available services.

Montgomery GI Bill

Eligibility: VA educational benefits may be used while the Servicemember is on active duty or after the Servicemember's separation from active duty with a fully honorable military discharge. Discharges "under honorable conditions" and "general" discharges do not establish eligibility.

Eligibility generally expires 10 years after the Servicemember's discharge. However, there are exceptions for disability, re-entering active duty, and upgraded discharges. All participants must have a high school diploma, equivalency certificate, or have completed 12 hours toward a college degree before applying for benefits.

Previously, Servicemembers had to meet the high school requirement before they completed their initial active duty obligation. Those who did not may now meet the requirement and reapply for benefits. If eligible, they must use their benefits within 10 years from the date of last discharge from active duty.

Additionally, every Veteran must establish eligibility under one of four categories.

Category 1: Service after June 30, 1985
For Veterans who entered active duty for the first time after June 30, 1985, did not decline MGIB in writing, and had their military pay reduced by $100 a month for 12 months. Servicemembers can apply after completing two continuous years of service. Veterans must have completed three continuous years of active duty, or two continuous years of active duty if they first signed up for less than three years or have an obligation to serve four years in the Selected Reserve (the 2x4 program) and enter the Selected Reserve within one year of discharge.

Servicemembers or Veterans who received a commission as a result of graduation from a service academy or completion of an ROTC scholarship are not eligible under Category 1 unless they received their commission:

  1. After becoming eligible for MGIB benefits (including completing the minimum service requirements for the initial period of active duty); or
  2. After Sept. 30, 1996, and received less than $3,400 during any one year under ROTC scholarship.

Servicemembers or Veterans who declined MGIB because they received repayment from the military for education loans are also ineligible under Category 1. If they did not decline MGIB and received loan repayments, the months served to repay the loans will be deducted from their entitlement.

Early Separation from Military Service: Servicemembers who did not complete the required period of military service may be eligible under:

Category 1: If discharged for one of the following:

  1. Convenience of the government—with 30 continuous months of service for an obligation of three or more years, or 20 continuous months of service for an obligation of less than three years
  2. Service-connected disability
  3. Hardship
  4. A medical condition diagnosed prior to joining the military
  5. A condition that interfered with performance of duty and did not result from misconduct
  6. A reduction in force (in most cases)
  7. Sole Survivorship (if discharged after 9/11/01)

Category 2: Vietnam Era GI Bill Conversion
For Veterans who had remaining entitlement under the Vietnam Era GI Bill on Dec. 31, 1989, and served on active duty for any number of days during the period Oct. 19, 1984, to June 30, 1985, for at least three continuous years beginning on July 1, 1985; or at least two continuous years of active duty beginning on July 1, 1985, followed by four years in the Selected Reserve beginning within one year of release from active duty.

Veterans not on active duty on Oct. 19, 1984, may be eligible under Category 2 if they served three continuous years on active duty beginning on or after July 1, 1985, or two continuous years of active duty at any time followed by four continuous years in the Selected Reserve beginning within one year of release from active duty.

Veterans are barred from eligibility under Category 2 if they received a commission after Dec. 31, 1976, as a result of graduation from a service academy or completion of an ROTC scholarship.

However, such a commission is not disqualifying if they received the commission after becoming eligible for MGIB benefits, or received the commission after Sept. 30, 1996, and received less than $3,400 during any one year under ROTC scholarship.

Category 3: Involuntary Separation/Special Separation For Veterans who meet one of the following requirements:

  1. Elected MGIB before being involuntarily separated; or
  2. were voluntarily separated under the Voluntary Separation Incentive or the Special Separation Benefit program, elected MGIB benefits before being separated, and had military pay reduced by $1,200 before discharge.

Category 4: Veterans Educational Assistance Program For Veterans who participated in the Veterans Educational Assistance Program (VEAP) and:

  1. Served on active duty on Oct. 9, 1996.
  2. Participated in VEAP and contributed money to an account.
  3. Elected MGIB by Oct. 9, 1997, and paid $1,200.

Veterans who participated in VEAP on or before Oct. 9, 1996, may also be eligible even if they did not deposit money in a VEAP account if they served on active duty from Oct. 9, 1996, through April 1, 2000, elected MGIB by Oct. 31, 2001, and contributed $2,700 to MGIB.

Certain National Guard Servicemembers may also qualify under Category 4 if they:

  1. Served for the first time on full-time active duty in the National Guard between June 30, 1985, and Nov. 29, 1989, and had no previous active duty service.
  2. Elected MGIB during the nine-month window ending on July 9, 1997; and
  3. Paid $1,200

Payments: Effective Oct. 1, 2012, the rate for full-time training in college, technical or vocational school is $1,564 a month for those who served three years or more or two years plus four years in the Selected Reserve. For those who served less than three years, the monthly rate is $1,270

Benefits are reduced for part-time training. Payments for other types of training follow different rules. VA will pay an additional amount, called a "kicker" or "college fund," if directed by DoD. Visit www.gibill.va.gov for more information. The maximum number of months Veterans can receive payments is 36 months at the full-time rate or the part-time equivalent.

The following groups qualify for the maximum: Veterans who served the required length of active duty, Veterans with an obligation of three years or more who were separated early for the convenience of the government and served 30 continuous months, and Veterans with an obligation of less than three years who were separated early for the convenience of the government and served 20 continuous months.

Types of Training Available:

  1. Courses at colleges and universities leading to associate, bachelor or graduate degrees, including accredited independent study offered through distance education.
  2. Courses leading to a certificate or diploma from business, technical or vocational schools.
  3. Apprenticeship or on-the-job training for those not on active duty, including self-employment training begun on or after June 16, 2004, for ownership or operation of a franchise
  4. Correspondence courses, under certain conditions.
  5. Flight training, if the Veteran holds a private pilot's license upon beginning the training and meets the medical requirements.
  6. State-approved teacher certification programs.
  7. Preparatory courses necessary for admission to a college or graduate school.
  8. License and certification tests approved for Veterans.
  9. Entrepreneurship training courses to create or expand small businesses.
  10. Tuition assistance using MGIB as "Top-Up" (active duty Servicemembers).

Accelerated payments for certain high-cost programs are authorized.

Work-Study Program: Participants who train at the three-quarter or full-time rate may be eligible for a work-study program in which they work for VA and receive hourly wages. Students under the work-study program must be supervised by a VA employee, and all duties performed must relate to VA. The types of work allowed include:

  • Working in Veterans-related position at schools or other training facilities.
  • Providing hospital or domiciliary care at a state home.
  • Working at national or state Veterans' cemeteries.
  • Various jobs within any VA facility.
  • Providing assistance in obtaining a benefit under title 38 U.S.C. at a state Veterans agency.
  • Assisting in the administration of chapters 1606 or 1607 of title 10 U.S.C. at a Department of Defense, Coast Guard, or National Guard facility.
  • Working in a Center for Excellence for Veterans Student Success.

Educational and Vocational Counseling Services: Refer to Chapter 10, "Transition Assistance", for detailed information on available services.

Veterans' Educational Assistance Program

Eligibility: Active duty personnel could participate in the Veterans' Educational Assistance Program (VEAP) if they entered active duty for the first time after Dec. 31, 1976, and before July 1, 1985, and made a contribution prior to April 1, 1987.

The maximum contribution is $2,700. Active duty participants may make a lump-sum contribution to their VEAP account. For more information, visit www.gibill.va.gov.

Servicemembers who participated in VEAP are eligible to receive benefits while on active duty if:

  1. At least three months of contributions are available, except for high school or elementary, in which only one month is needed.
  2. And they enlisted for the first time after Sept. 7, 1980, and completed 24 months of their first period of active duty.

Servicemembers must receive a discharge under conditions other than dishonorable for the qualifying period of service. Servicemembers who enlisted for the first time after Sept. 7, 1980, or entered active duty as an officer or enlistee after Oct. 16, 1981, must have completed 24 continuous months of active duty, unless they meet a qualifying exception.

Eligibility generally expires 10 years from release from active duty, but can be extended under special circumstances.

Payments: DoD will match contributions at the rate of $2 for every $1 put into the fund and may make additional contributions, or "kickers," as necessary. For training in college, vocational or technical schools, the payment amount depends on the type and hours of training pursued. The maximum amount is $300 a month for full-time training.

Training, Work-Study, Counseling: VEAP participants may receive the same training, work-study benefits and counseling as provided under the MGIB with the exception of preparatory courses.

Employment Services

VetSuccess.gov

The Department of Veterans Affairs provides Veterans with employment and transition assistance through the VetSuccess.gov Website. VetSuccess.gov is a Veteran-centric tool, providing a number of employment and transition resources. Veterans can access VetSuccess.gov to:

  • Browse job listings
  • Post resumes
  • Apply for positions

Employers can use VetSuccess.gov to hire Veterans by posting job openings or by searching a database of over 25,000 Veteran resumes. VetSuccess.gov provides links to millions of jobs on the VetCentral site and the Veterans Job Bank search engine, and links Veterans to Indeed, Google, Simply Hired, and other job search engines. Veterans may also apply for VA benefits, including Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment, through the site.

Veterans, Servicemembers, and their families can also access a variety of interactive tools and information available throughout the Veteran lifecycle from transition to college, career, retirement, and family life.

Servicemembers and Veterans with Disabilities

Eligible Veterans or Servicemembers with disabilities who require assistance with obtaining and maintaining employment may receive services through the Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment (VR&E) program (see chapter 2 for eligibility information). VR&E staff assists Veterans and Servicemembers with achieving their employment goals by providing job development and placement services, which include: on-the-job training, job-seeking skills, resume development, interviewing skills and direct placement. VR&E has partnerships with federal, state and private agencies to provide direct placement of Veterans or Servicemembers. VR&E can assist with placement using the following resources:

On the Job Training Program: Employers hire Veterans at an apprentice wage, and VR&E supplements the salary up the journeyman wage (up to maximum allowable under OJT). As the Veterans progress through training, the employers begin to pay more of the salary until the Veterans reach journeyman level and the employers are paying the entire salary. VR&E will also pay for any necessary tools. Employers are also eligible for a federal tax credit for hiring an individual who participated in a vocational rehabilitation program.

Non-Paid Work Experience: The Non-Paid Work Experience (NPWE) program provides eligible Veterans the opportunity to obtain training and practical job experience concurrently. This program is ideal for Veterans or Servicemembers who have a clearly established career goal, and who learn easily in a hands-on environment. This program is also well suited for Veterans who are having difficulties obtaining employment due to lack of work experience. NPWE program may be established in a federal, state, or local (i.e. city, town, school district) government agencies only. The employer may hire the Veteran at any point during the NPWE.

Special Employer Incentive: The Special Employer Incentive (SEI) program is for eligible Veterans who face challenges in obtaining employment. Veterans approved to participate in the SEI program are hired by participating employers and employment is expected to continue following successful completion of the program. Employers may be provided this incentive to hire Veterans. If approved, the employer will receive reimbursement for up to 50 percent of the Veteran's salary during the SEI program, which can last up to six months.

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