GI Bill Education Benefits - Receive Close to $50,000 in College Tuition
The Montgomery GI Bill is a program which provides college tuition money in return for active military service. The benefits are significant--2 years of military service could translate to almost $50,000 in college tuition.
Many consider the GI Bill to be among the easiest ways to pay for college. However, the rules, criteria, and calculations of the bill are quite complex. Without proper guidance, service people could very well miss out on some of the bill's benefits.
Monthly and Lifetime Limits
Every year, the Montgomery GI Bill establishes a monthly benefit limit, which is reduced for half-time and part-time students. Currently, this monthly limit is capped at $1,368. This benefit can be received for a maximum of 36 months, totaling a lifetime limit of $49,248. These benefits must be claimed within 10 years of an honorable discharge.
These terms vary somewhat for service people involved in the Buy Up, Top Up, or Army, Navy, or Marine Corps College Funds program. Consult your local Voluntary Education Services Office for specifics.
Service people who wish to participate in the Montgomery GI Bill Program must have a high school diploma or equivalent, must engage in active duty for at least 2 years, and must contribute $100 to the program each month for the first year of service (a total of $1200). Eligibility requirements vary for service people of different classifications (veterans, active duty, National Guard, etc.). In some cases, dependents of service people may be eligible to receive a parent's GI Bill benefits.
How to Apply
To apply for GI Bill benefits, you must first choose an eligible school or program. A full list of eligible schools is available on the VA website. After choosing a school, you'll need to complete and submit VA Form 22-1990 to your Veteran's Administration Regional Processing Office. The VA will then send you a letter describing the benefits for which you are eligible, as well as a request for additional information (if necessary). After that, a benefit check will arrive in the mail every month, or will be directly deposited into your account.
There are many variations, complexities, and conditions regarding the GI Bill Benefits. As such, it's a great idea to call your local Voluntary Education Services Office and ask for guidance, and to read up on the Bill's provisions at gibill.va.gov.