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The Veteran Education Benefits Guide

1 honor to the us veteransThe word Military itself commands great respect and the amount of guts and sacrifice that one requires to join this service is undoubtedly tremendous.

Whatever high the benefits offered to them, they all remain matchless to those selfless souls.

The Government is trying to support our Veterans and their families by providing them with various benefits in the field of Education, Housing, Medical, Personal and many more.

The benefit that drives more and more people towards the Military service is The Veterans Education Benefits.

What are VA Education Benefits?

The Veterans Education Benefits are provided to all those who attend school before, during and after their military service.  These benefits not only provide College financial aid for veterans but also college financial aid for veterans dependents. These benefits are made available to them through various forms such as:

  1. Montgomery GI Bill
  2. Post – 9/11 GI Bill

* Yellow Ribbon Program

* Transfer of Entitlement Option

  1. Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP)
  2. Veteran Education Assistance Program (VEAP)
  3. Survivors and Dependents Assistance

The Montgomery GI Bill:

This is a bill, which offers education benefits for service personnel’s’ to assist all their educational requirements. This help proves to be very useful as education is the most treasured asset for anyone for that matter.

This MGIB is said to provide benefits to service-members up to the tune of $64K, according to the 2015-2016-student payment disbursal rate. This Payment is disbursed over a course of 36 months. This means you are eligible to receive benefits for 4 years of full-time academic education.

There are a few eligibility criteria that one has to conform to, before applying for benefits under the MGIB:

The person applying for the benefits:

  • Should have his high school completion certificate or an equivalent one.
  • Should have at lest 2 years of service record in the Military.
  • Should have contributed at least $100 a month for the initial 12 months, while in active duty (or) should have qualified under Veteran Education Assistance Program.

In addition to these basic requirements a person should meet the following requirement too:

Character of Discharge:

While getting separated from active service you will receive a discharge and it is important that you receive an “honorable” discharge in order to be eligible for the MGIB. Any other type of Discharge like: under honorable conditions “and “under general conditions” makes your eligibility status null and void.

The Amount of Benefits under MGIB:

The amount of benefits that you receive under the Montgomery GI Bill is based on two major factors:

  • The type of Student you are (Part-time, full – time or half-time)

A student is considered to be a full-timer when he/she takes 12 or more credits per semester.

  • Military Service Status (Active or not)

If active – The actual tuition fees expenses would be reimbursed

After Leaving Active Service – You will be paid full payment that you re eligible for without considering the actual tuition fees.

The Usage & Expiry of the GI Bill:

As already discussed the eligibility for using the GI Bill is after you complete 2 full years of service. There might be a question for you as to – Do GI Bill benefits Expire?  The fact is yes GI Bill Benefits do expire.

You have a time limit of 10 years from the date of leaving service to utilize your benefits under GI Bill. If this is not used, then your benefits are ceased and what more, you will not be reimbursed the initial contribution amount of $1200, which you have paid as $100 a month for the first 12 months.

Post-9/11 GI Bill

You are eligible to benefits under Post 9/11 GI Bill, if your combined active service days are at least 90 days after Sept. 10, 2001, or if you happen to be a Veteran who was honorably discharged or discharged with a disability related to duty-service after 30 days.

If in case you find yourself eligible for benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill or any other GI Bill program for that matter, you must make a finalchoice of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, in order to receive benefits under this Veteran Assistance Program.

Under this program you are entitled to receive the benefits up to 36 months and the benefits have an expiry period od 15 years from discharge of service.

1 veterans dayYellow Ribbon Program

In most cases you are entitled to the fees for a government / public school and in case you enroll yourself in a private school, you will be paid the actual tuition fees and expenses or the prescribed amount for an academic year for a private school.

But in either case, the actual expense amount will definitely be higher than the benefits offered, if you are in a private school. Under such circumstances, this Yellow Ribbon program in association with some educational institutions offers you additional benefits at the same cost.

To avail benefits under this Program, You will have to fulfill the following requirements:

  1. You must be a service –member who is qualified for the maximum benefit rate.
  2. You must not be on Active Duty.
  3. You must not be a spouse enjoying the benefits under Transfer of Entitlement option.
  4. You must have completed 36 months of active service after Sept. 10,2001.
  5. You should have been honorably discharged from duty for a disability connected to Duty related services.
  6. The Education Institution you attend should have been enrolled under the Yellow Ribbon program.
  7. Your school must duly certify you, regarding your enrollment.

Transfer of Entitlement option.

Transfer of Entitlement Option under the Post – 9/11 Bill offers the military service members a choice to transfer the benefits that are unused to their spouse or dependent children. However, the Department Of Defense has the right to decide whether you are eligible to transfer or not.

If you find yourself eligible under this option, you can transfer your benefits to your spouse, your children or both of them. For availing this benefit, your family members should have been registered under the DEERS (Defense Eligibility Enrolment Reporting System).

Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP)

REAP is an assistance program offered to those service members who are part of a Reserve Force Team, generally employed in situations such as an outbreak of a war or any other natural or man made calamities or a national emergency.

This REAP program has been called back after formulation of The National Defense Authorization Act of 2016. However some will continue to be covered under the benefits of REAP until November 25, 2019. The withdrawal of the REAP program is due to the fact that the Post 9/11 GI Bill has replaced the former program.

Veteran Education Assistance Program (VEAP)

This VEAP is made available to service members who have voluntarily decided to make payments to this education assistance program. The government contributes its share in a 2:1 ratio. That is if you choose to contribute $ 100, the government contributes $200.

The benefits under the VEAP could be put to use for degree, certificate, distance education, training/on-the-job training programs, and professional flight training programs.

Eligibility factors for availing benefits under VEAP:

  • Should have started service for the first time between Jan1 1977 and June 30 1985.
  • The Voluntary Contribution should range from $25 – $2700 and should be started before April 1 1987.
  • Should have a discharge certificate for any other reason apart from “other than dishonorable” discharge.
  • If you are on active duty, you should have at least made 3 voluntary contributions.

The benefits under VEAP are available for up to 36 months based on the amount of Contribution. You have 10 years from the date of discharge before the benefits expire. However, the amount contributed by you towards the program will be refunded back to you after these 10 years.

Survivors & Dependents Assistance:

The GI Bill offers two special education Assistance programs to survivors and Dependents of Veterans under:

  • The Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship (Fry Scholarship). This is available for dependent children and spouses of active service members who died September 10, 2001.
  • The Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA) Program

This program provides education and training prospects to eligible dependents of Veterans who suffer from a permanently or totally disability while on service or of Veterans who sacrificed their lives while on active duty.

VETERANS EDUCATIONAL BENEFITS BY STATE:

With regards to the benefits provided by the Military to veteran, they all seem to be more or less the same across all the states. Each state has its own features and educational policies. Hence The Veteran education benefits are also provided in a unique way that will suit and gel with the features and requirements of the state. The benefits are given different names according to their plans & strategies:

The List of Veterans educational benefits offered under each state are as follows:

CALIFORNIA:

  • Waiver on College Tuition fees for veteran’s dependents
  • Waiver of Compulsory tuition fees at any University in California.

OREGON:

  • Tuition Fee Waiver for Veteran’s dependents – Provided by Oregon University.
  • Voyager Aid Program for Oregon National Guard and Reserve

ALASKA

  • Free Tuition for Spouse or Dependent of Armed Services Member

IOWA:

  • War Orphans Educational Aid
  • Operation Recognition High School Diploma
  • Branstad/Reynolds Scholarship Fund
  • National Guard Tuition Benefits

MINNESOTA:

  • Minnesota GI Bill

MONTANA:

  • Montana Honorably Discharged Veteran Tuition Waiver 

1 veterans education loanNORTH DAKOTA: 

  • Tuition Waiver 

SOUTH DAKOTA:

  • Free Tuition for Veterans
  • Free Tuition for Children of Veterans Who Die During Service
  • Free Tuition for Dependents of POW’s and MIA’s
  • Reduced Tuition for South Dakota National Guard members.

WISCONSIN

  • Wisconsin G.I. Bill for Dependents
  • Wisconsin G.I. Bill for Veterans

ARKANSAS

  • The Arkansan Department of higher Education (ADHE) is empowered with the right to provide free tuition fees at any state run colleges or schools to:
  • The Spouse or Dependent children of any Arkansan Veteran who has been declared as War prisoner, missing or dead while on active duty since Jan 1 1960.

LOUISIANA

  • Dependents Educational Assistance
  • National Guard Tuition

TEXAS

  • The Hazelwood Act
  • Legacy Act (Child)

ALABAMA:

  • G. I. Dependents’ Scholarship Program 

FLORIDA: 

  • Tuition Waiver
  • Tuition Deferment
  • Reduced Tuition for National Guard
    Education for Children Of Deceased Or Disabled Florida Veterans

GEORGIA: 

MISSISSIPPI:

  • Veteran Educational Assistance 
  • Mississippi Employment Security Commission

TENNESSEE:

  • Dependent Children’s Scholarship

NEW YORK:

  • Veterans Tuition Awards 

PENNSYLVANIA:

  • Educational Gratuity

ARIZONA:

  • Tuition and Fees-Deferred Payment
  • Tuition Waivers for War-Wounded and Dependents of Killed in Action

COLORADO:

  • Tuition Assistance 
  • Tuition Assistance for Children of POWs, MIAs, or Disabled/Deceased ARNG 

NEW MEXICO:

  • Children of Deceased Veterans
  • Vietnam Veteran Scholarship
  • World War II and Korean Veterans High School Diploma 
  • Wartime Veteran Scholarship Fund 

UTAH:

  • Tuition Waiver for Purple Heart Recipients

WYOMING:

  • Free tuition and fees for education of War Orphans and Veterans

ILLINOIS:

  • Educational Opportunities for Children (10-18 Yrs)
  • MIA/POW Scholarship
  • Veterans’ Grant
  • Children of Veterans Scholarship

NEBRASKA:

  • Waiver of Tuition 
  • Reservist Tuition Credit

INDIANA:

  • Free Tuition Program

KENTUCKY:

  • Tuition Waiver Program 

MICHIGAN:

  • Tuition Grant Procedure Brief 

OHIO:

  • OhioWar Orphans Scholarship
  • SOUTH CAROLINA
  • Education Assistance (Fee tuition for certain veteran’s children)  

VIRGINIA:

  • Virginia Military Survivors and Dependents Education Program (MSDEP)

WEST VIRGINIA: 

  • State War Orphans Education
  • Veterans Re-Education Act Fund

CONNECTICUT

  • Educational Benefit/Tuition Waivers

DELAWARE:

  • Educational Benefits For Children Of Deceased Veterans

MAINE: 

  • Veterans Dependents Education Benefits Program 

MASSACHUSETTS:

  • Education Financial Assistance 
  • Tuition Waivers
  • Tuition and Fee Waivers for Guard Members
  • Massachusetts Public Service Grant Program
  • Deployed Troops Get Break on Student Loans:
    Upward Bound Program

NEW HAMPSHIRE:

  • Free Tuition at Vocational-Technical College
  • Free Tuition for Surviving Children of Military Members

NEW JERSEY:

  • Operation Recognition: High School Diplomas for Veterans
  • POW and MIA Tuition Benefits
  • War Orphans Tuition Assistance
  • Vietnam Veterans Tuition Credit Program

Unfortunately the following states have no specified Educational benefits for Veterans:

S. No States with no Specified Educational Benefits
1 Washington
2 Hawaii
3 Oklahoma
4 Idaho
5 Nevada
6 Kansas
7 Missouri
8 Maryland
9 North Carolina
10 Rhode Island
11 Vermont.

However, they are entitled to receive other benefits due to them.

FINANCIAL AID FOR STUDENTS & GRANTS:

The federal government also offers some basic veterans education assistance &Education Grants for veterans like:

  • Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) Scholarships
  • Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant or Additional Federal Pell Grant Funds
  • AMVETS Scholarship Program for Veterans or Family Members
  • Purple Heart Members and Family GRANTS

Conclusion

Proper research and understanding of the available benefits, its expiry and eligibility criteria’s is inevitable to utilize the veteran benefits to the fullest. The government has many notifications regarding this from time to time. It is in the best interest of the veteran or to- be veteran to go through and make full use of the information provided.

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