Educational Benefits and Opportunities

The original GI Bill, the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944,1 was signed into law on June 22, 1944. This law made the Veterans Administration (VA) responsible for providing education and training benefits, loan guarantees, and unemployment pay to eligible veterans. In 1984, former Congressman Gillespie V. "Sonny" Montgomery updated the GI Bill, which became known as the "Montgomery GI Bill," or MGIB. The GI Bill was updated again in 2008 by the Post-9/11 GI Bill, which provides veterans with greater educational benefits and the ability to transfer these benefits to spouses or children.2

Veterans may choose to receive benefits under either the Montgomery GI Bill or the Post-9/11 GI Bill. However, some veterans may not be eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill based on the time period when they served. Other factors to consider when deciding between the MGIB and Post-9/11 GI Bill are the type of educational training one plans to pursue, whether eligible veterans wish to transfer benefits to a dependent, and the time limit to use benefits under each program.3

The Post-9/11 GI-Bill4

Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, our men and women in uniform have once again been asked to make extraordinary sacrifices to protect and defend our country. And, as in eras past, they have answered that call with a sense of bravery, professionalism and honor that is an inspiration to all Americans. To support and assist veterans of the post-9/11 era as they make the difficult transition from military to civilian life, the federal government authorized the Post-9/11 GI-Bill, which provides financial assistance to pay for tuition, fees, books and housing for veterans pursuing higher education. Details regarding eligibility and benefits are below.

  • Eligible Individual
    • Individuals with at least 90 days of aggregate service on or after September 11, 2001, or individuals discharged with a service-connected disability after 30 days.
    • Service members must have received an honorable discharge.
    • Certain National Guard members mobilized on Title 32 orders5 on or after September 11, 2001.
  • Benefits
    • Provides up to 36 months of financial support for education and housing.
    • Covers all public school in-state tuition and fees.
    • Covers $17,500 annually for private or foreign schools.
    • Reimbursement for fees paid to take national examinations used for admission to an institution of higher learning (e.g. SAT, LSAT, ACT, GMAT, etc).
    • Annual books and supplies stipend of $1,000.
    • Monthly housing allowance for an E-5 with dependents, payable to students even if they are enrolled solely in distance learning.
    • Financial support for non-college degree programs, on-the-job training, flight programs, and correspondence training.
    • Certain service members are eligible to transfer their GI-Bill benefits to their dependents.

     

  • Requirements
    • All training programs must be offered by an approved institution of higher learning.
    • These benefits are generally payable for 15 years following an individual's release from active duty.

The Montgomery GI-Bill

Veterans who are not eligible for the Post-9/11 GI-Bill due to the time period when they served may be eligible for the Montgomery GI-Bill, which provides financial assistance for veterans pursuing higher education. Benefits and eligibility requirements differ for active duty service members and reservists. Details regarding eligibility and benefits for each are below.

Active Duty67

  • Eligible Individuals
    • Active Duty members enroll and pay $100 per month for 12 months. Once they complete a minimum service obligation, they are eligible for a monthly education benefit.
  • Requirements
    • Fully honorable discharge.
    • Must have completed high school, obtained an equivalency certificate, or have completed 12 hours toward a college degree before you apply for benefits.
    • Individual must fall within one of four categories of eligible service members. [what are the categories?]
  • Benefits
    • Up to 36 months of financial education benefits.
    • May be used for degree and certificate programs, flight training, apprenticeships, on-the-job training programs, correspondence courses, and possibly deficiency and refresher courses.
    • Generally, benefits are payable for 10 years following an individual's release from active duty.

Selected Reserve8

New York State Veterans Tuition Awards ("VTA")10

In addition to the educational benefits provided to veterans by the federal government, New York State also provides New York State Veterans Tuition Awards (VTA) to assist those who have served our country. VTA are financial awards to provide eligible veterans with the cost of full-time or part-time study at an undergraduate or graduate degree-granting institution in New York, or at an approved vocational training program in New York. The awards are administered by the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation. Details about eligibility and benefits are below.

Eligible Individuals
New York State service members discharged under honorable conditions from the U.S. Armed forces and who are in one of the following groups:

Requirements

Benefits

Important Considerations:

  • Eligible Individuals
    • A reservist who is actively drilling9 and has a 6-year obligation in the Selected Reserve. Eligible only while in the Selective Reserve.
  • Requirements
    • Have a six-year obligation to serve in the Selected Reserve signed after June 30, 1985. Officers must agree to serve six years beyond their original obligation and a six-year commitment beginning after September 30, 1990 is required under certain circumstances
    • Initial active duty for training (IADT) must be completed.
    • High school diploma or equivalency certificate must be obtained before completing IADT.
    • Reservist must remain in good standing.
  • Benefits
    • Up to 36 months of financial education benefits.
    • May be used for degree and certificate programs, flight training, apprenticeships, on-the-job training programs, correspondence courses, and possibly deficiency and refresher courses.
    • Vietnam Veterans who served in Indochina between December 22, 1961 and May 7, 1975
    • Persian Gulf Veterans who served in the Persian Gulf on or after August 2, 1990
    • Afghanistan Veterans who served in Afghanistan during hostilities on or after September 11, 2001
    • Veterans of the armed forces of the United States who served in hostilities that occurred after February 28, 1961 as evidenced by receipt of an Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Navy Expeditionary Medal or a Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal.
    • The student must be a New York State resident and a U.S. citizen, or eligible non-citizen.
    • The student must be matriculated full or part-time at an undergraduate or graduate degree-granting institution in New York State or in an approved vocational training program in New York State.
    • The student must have graduated from high school in the United States, earned a GED, or passed a federally approved test.
    • The student must not be in default on a student loan made under a New York State or federal loan program, or on a student loan guaranteed by HESC.
    • To qualify as studying full time, a student must be enrolled for 12 or more credits per semester at a degree-granting institution, or 24 or more hours per week in a vocational training program.
    • To qualify as studying part time, a student must be enrolled for at least three but fewer than 12 credits per semester at a degree-granting institution, or six to 23 hours per week in a vocational training program.
    • For full-time study, students receive an award of up to the full cost of undergraduate tuition for New York state residents at the State University of New York, or actual tuition charged,whichever is less.
    • For part-time study, awards will beprorated by credit hour.
    • The combined tuition benefits available to a student cannot exceed the student's total tuition costs. Tuition payments received under the Post-9/11 GI Bill is considered duplicative of any VTA. Payments received under the Montgomery GI bill are not duplicative of the purpose of the VTA.
    • However, certain students may be eligible to receive both the Federal and State benefits, such as students who attend high-tuition schools.
 

Public Law 346

38 U.S.C.A. § 3001; remains in effect.

See 32 USCA § 102, which states: "Whenever Congress determines that more units and organizations are needed for the national security than are in the regular components of the ground and air forces, the Army National Guard of the United States and the Air National Guard of the United States, or such parts of them as are needed, together with such units of other reserve components as are necessary for a balanced force, shall be ordered to active Federal duty and retained as long as so needed."

38 U.S.C.A. § 3001; remains in effect.

"Chapter 30" of United States Code Title 38 outlines the educational benefits available to veterans. See: http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/usc.cgi?ACTION=BROWSE&TITLE=38USCPIII.

" Chapter 1606" of United States Code Title 10 outlines educational benefits for members of the selected reserve. See: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/granule/USCODE-2011-title10/USCODE-2011-title10-subtitleA-partIII-chap106-sec2131

See http://www.gibill.va.gov/benefits/montgomery_gibill/index.html and http://www.gibill.va.gov/benefits/montgomery_gibill/selected_reserve.html.
The individual must remain in good standing while serving in an active Selected Reserve unit. Eligibility may be extended if the individual is ordered to active duty or discharged due to disability.

Source: New York State Higher Education Services Corporation:  http://www.hesc.com

The SCRA applies to: 1) members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard on active duty or absent form duty due to sickness, wounds, leave or other lawful cause; 2) members of the National Guard with certain activation orders; and 3) active service commissioned officers of the Public Health Service of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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