The Department of Veteran Affairs provides a variety of veterans education benefits and assistance programs, benefiting both veterans and some dependents. The Montgomery GI Bill is the primary source of funding for Active Duty Veterans (MGIB-AD), while The GI Bill Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR) and the Reserve Education Assistance Program (REAP) provide education help for some Reservists and National Guards. The Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program (DEA) is designed for the families of selected Veterans.
If you are rated as 10 percent disabled or greater by the VA you could be eligible for Vocational Rehabilitation, which can provide a wide variety of additional educational benefits. For more information about Disability Compensation click here.
Basic Eligibility Information for Veterans Education Benefits
For information about specific education programs visit the links below:
The information below lists the basic eligibility criteria for the major educational assistance programs.
If you are currently in service, you may be eligible for Veterans Education Benefits after two years of active duty. Please consult with the Education Services Officer at your installation, or call 1-888-GIBILL-1, for information about your eligibility.
If you are separated from service, you may be an eligible veteran if you:
- entered active duty for the first time after June 30, 1985;
- received a high school diploma or equivalent (or, in some cases, 12 hours of college credit) before the end of your first obligated period of service;
- received an honorable discharge;
- continuously served for 3 years, OR 2 years if that is what you first enlisted for, OR 2 years if you have an obligation to serve four years in the Selected Reserve AND entered Selected Reserve within a year of leaving active duty.
You may be considered an eligible reservist or National Guard member if:
- after June 30, 1985, you signed a six-year obligation to serve in the Selected Reserve, AND you completed your Initial Active Duty for Training (IADT), AND
- you got your High School Diploma or GED before you completed your IADT, AND
- you are in good standing in a drilling Selected Reserve unit
Eligibility for Veterans Education Benefits will be determined by the Department of Defense (DoD) or Department of Homeland Security (DHS), as appropriate. Generally, a member of a Reserve component who serves on active duty on or after September 11, 2001 under title 10, U.S. Code, for at least 90 consecutive days under a contingency operation, is eligible for REAP. There is no specific time frame to use REAP; however, your eligibility generally ends when you leave the Selected Reserves.
National Guard members are eligible for Veterans Education Benefits if their active service extends for 90 consecutive days or more and their service is:
- authorized under section 502(f), title 32, U.S. Code,
- authorized by the President or Secretary of Defense for a national emergency, and
- supported by federal funds.
To be an eligible for Survivors’ & Dependents’ Education Assistance 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 service-connected disability was in existence.
- a service member missing in action or captured in the line of duty by a hostile force.
- a service member forcibly detained or interned in the line of duty by a foreign government or power.
- a service member hospitalized or receiving outpatient care for a VA determined service-connected permanent and total disability may be eligible for DEA benefits. (Effective December 23, 2006)