Student Loan Benefits for Veterans

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The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and many private organizations offer education benefits and assistance to veterans and their families. In fact, 25 percent of those benefitting from VAs education programs are non-Veterans. Below is an overview of these benefits. Keep in mind that many colleges and universities also have dedicated resources on campus to assist Veteran students in understanding and obtaining their full benefits.

Post-9/11 GI Bill

The Post-9/11 GI Bill provides up to 36 months of education benefits for veterans enrolled in both degree and non-degree programs.

  • Recent changes include lifting the 15-year time limit to use the benefits for those discharged after Jan. 1, 2013
  • Veterans may be able to transfer all or a portion of unused educational benefits to their spouse or dependent children. Visit the Department of Defense website and search for “GI Bill Transferability” to check eligibility and begin the process

Yellow Ribbon Program

Degree-granting institutions participating in the Post-9/11 GI Bill’s Yellow Ribbon Program agree to provide additional funds for a student’s education, not counted toward the student’s total GI Bill entitlement.

Other Veterans Programs

Montgomery GI Bill

  • The Active Duty program, or Chapter 30, provides 36 months of education benefits to Veterans and Servicemembers who completed at least two years of active duty and received an honorable discharge
    • Must enroll and pay $100 per month for 12 months while on active duty
    • May make a $600 buy-up while on active duty to get additional benefits
    • Usually available for 10 years after release from honorable active service
  • The Selected Reserve program provides education and training benefits for up to 36 months to eligible members of the Selected Reserve, including the Army Reserve, Navy Reserve, Air Force Reserve, Marine Corps Reserve and Coast Guard Reserve, and the Army National Guard and the Air National Guard
    • Eligibility determined by the Selected Reserve components
    • Must have a six-year obligation to serve in the Selected Reserve, for officers and some others, longer obligations may apply
    • Must complete Initial Active Duty for Training, or IADT, and have a high school diploma or equivalency before completing IADT
    • Remain in good standing while serving in an active Selected Reserve unit
    • Eligibility will be retained if discharged from Selected Reserve service due to a disability not caused by misconduct
    • Eligibility may be extended if ordered to active duty
    • Program eligibility normally ends the day you leave the Selected Reserve

Reserve Educational Assistance Program, or REAP

  • REAP provides educational assistance to members of the Reserve called or ordered to active duty in response to a war or national emergency
  • REAP ended on Nov. 25, 2015, but some individuals will remain eligible for benefits until Nov. 25, 2019
  • Post-9/11 GI Bill replaces REAP in many ways, because it also provides educational assistance benefits for Reserve and National Guard members called to active duty on or after Sept. 11, 2001, and often provides more benefits

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Survivors and Dependents Assistance

  • Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship, or Fry Scholarship
    • Available to children and spouses of service members who died in the line of duty after September 10, 2001
  • Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program, or DEA
    • Offers education and training opportunities to eligible dependents of veterans who are permanently and totally disabled due to a service-related condition or of veterans who died while on active duty or as a result of a service-related condition
  • In most cases, you will be required to make an irrevocable election between the Fry Scholarship and DEA program when applying, visit the VA benefits website and search for “Survivors and Dependents Assistance” to compare programs.

Service-Members Civil Relief Act

The Service-Members Civil Relief Act limits the amount of interest that can be charged for a student loan while military personnel are on active duty.

Private organizations that assist veterans

Many organizations offer financial assistance for education to veterans.