Military Education Benefits for Active Duty and Reserve
Active duty service members and selected reservists can use military education benefits to attend school while serving. This resource helps in determining which benefits are available.
The same basic benefits are available to active duty and selected reserve personnel: tuition assistance, GI Bill and enlisted commissioning programs. The specific application process and award amounts vary by branch of service and service status. Award amounts may vary depending on service status and branch of service.
Below is more information about the specific GI Bill benefits available.
Reservists are eligible for the Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR) if they meet the following criteria:
- Have a six-year obligation to serve in the Selected Reserve signed after June 30, 1985. Officers must have agreed to serve six years in addition to original obligation. For some types of training, it is necessary to have a six-year commitment that begins after September 30, 1990.
- Complete initial active duty for training (IADT).
- Meet the requirement to receive a high school diploma or equivalency certificate before completing IADT. One may not use 12 hours toward a college degree to meet this requirement
- Service members must remain in good standing while serving in an active Selected Reserve unit. They will also retain MGIB-SR eligibility if discharged from Selected Reserve service due to a disability that was not caused by misconduct.
If the service member’s unit is mobilized (or the individual is recalled), the education benefit may be extended an additional four months beyond the active service time, even if service obligations are met, as long as the discharge was not due to the service member’s misconduct. If the unit was deactivated between October 1, 2007, and September 30, 2014, or the service member is involuntarily separated for any reason other than misconduct, he or she keeps the original benefit entitlement (14 years from the date of the initial six-year Selected Reserve obligation).
Example: Sgt. Smith is recalled for 12 months in January 2001, but only had 12 months to use remaining MGIB benefit (expires January 2002). Once Sgt. Smith is deactivated, the original 12 months of entitlement remains valid for another four months (now expires April 2002).
Sgt. Smith is recalled for 12 months, and the education entitlement expires August 2010. If the unit is deactivated October 1, 2007, through September 30, 2014, Sgt. Smith is subject to the original entitlement, which expires August 2010.
Post-9/11 GI Bill for Reservists
Reservists meeting any one of the following will qualify for the Post-9/11 GI Bill:
- All Title 10 active duty supporting named contingency operations
- Title 32 service for the purpose of organizing, administering, recruiting, instructing or training the National Guard
- Title 32 service under section 502(f) for the purpose of responding to a national emergency
- All voluntary active duty, with the exception of active duty for medical care and medical evaluation
Post-9/11 GI Bill for Active Duty
There are several iterations of the GI Bill (Vietnam Era and Montgomery) covered in the veterans’ section, all of which can be accessed while on active duty; however, the award will not include the housing allowance in every instance. The VA provides a comparison tool that includes rates for the various GI Bill plans.
To be eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill benefit, an active duty service member must meet the following criteria:
- Served at least 30 days of continuous active duty service after September 10, 2001, and was discharged due to a service-connected disability
- Served an aggregate of 90 days of active duty service after September 10, 2001, and received an honorable discharge
Branch of Service
All benefits for active duty members must be approved by command prior to disbursal of funds. Click on a branch of service to see available benefits.
Army Education Benefits
To begin using TA, service members should visit a local education center to establish an education plan. Once the plan is complete, the service member may apply for tuition assistance. If approved, funds are disbursed directly to the school, and the student is responsible for books and enrollment fees.
Tuition assistance is only available to active duty service members. It can also be used as part of an Enlisted Commissioning Program.
Air Force Education Benefits
Air Force Tuition Assistance is designed to help active duty personnel pursue voluntary, off-duty educational opportunities. Currently, the program pays 100 percent (up to $250 per semester hour) of the cost of college tuition with a limit of $4,500 per fiscal year. Courses and degree programs may be academic or technical and may be provided by two- or four-year institutions on base, off base or through correspondence.
The Air University of the Community College of the Air Force (CCAF) is a federally chartered degree-granting institution that serves the United States Air Force’s enlisted total force. They partner with more than 108 affiliated air force schools and 82 education service offices worldwide, and with more than 1,500 civilian academic institutions. Serving approximately 300,000 active, guard and reserve enlisted personnel, CCAF is the world’s largest community college system. The college annually awards more than 22,000 associate degrees in applied science from 68 degree programs.
ECP is a competitive program based on professional performance and academic potential. Service members work with command to complete the required application package, which must be reviewed and approved by several levels in command before being considered by the Air Force headquarters.
Navy Education Benefits
Before applying for tuition assistance, a service member should visit his or her local education center to speak with a counselor, build an education plan and discuss the application. The service member should also meet with command’s education officer. Once the command has approved the application, the signed form is returned to the education center for processing. If approved, the education center will generate an authorization form, which the service member will provide to his or her school. The service member should retain copies of all documentation.
Upon completion of the course, the service member must submit a copy of a final grade report to the TA accounting office. If the service member receives a grade of F, N or I, he or she must reimburse TA accounting for the TA-funded portion of the course. Or, if the service member does not submit a grade within 60 days of completion of the course, command will receive a letter from the TA accounting office stating that the grade must be received, or the service member must repay the TA-funded portion of the course.
Marine Corps Education Benefits
The Marine Corps Tuition Assistance Program offers tuition assistance for active-duty marines and enlisted Marine Corps reservists on continuous active duty in support of the individual marine’s professional and personal development goals. Marine Corps officers are authorized TA in exchange for a two-year service commitment following completion of the TA-funded course.
TA benefits are available to qualified active-duty marines pursuing a college degree, high school diploma or the equivalent, such as a General Education Diploma (GED), as well as those enrolled in qualified certificate programs at an accredited school or agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. First-time TA users must complete College 101 Training online or at a local education center and develop an education plan. The education center can also help the service member complete and submit the TA application to his or her unit’s education services officer (ESO). The ESO reserves the ability to limit the number of credits taken each term.
Coast Guard Education Benefits
Tuition assistance covers 75 percent of tuition to approved institutions. There is, however, an annual cap on how much assistance can be offered. Per ALCOAST 175/13, “TA is not available for Reservists in a drilling status. TA is available for Reservists on long-term ADOS or EAD that meet the rest of the criteria.”
Enlisted Commissioning Program
Enlisted commissioning programs are competitive programs based on professional performance and academic potential. Dependent upon the branch of service and program, the payment options vary, but both tuition assistance and GI Bill benefits may also be used. For more information, follow the links below:
In addition to tuition assistance and the Enlisted Commissioning Program, service members may also receive college credit for a portion of received military education.
The education benefits and eligibility information on our website is provided to help you learn about the various benefits that may be available to you. However, 2U does not make eligibility determinations or administer any federal or state military benefits, and such benefits and/or requirements are subject to change. Please reference the applicable official U.S. government and/or service branch websites for complete and up to date information.