The Department of Veterans Affairs may pay educational benefits to eligible veterans, dependents, reservists, and service members while they are in an approved program.
Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP)
Congress passed, and the President has signed into law, the VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011. Included in this new law is the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP). VRAP offers up to 12 months of training assistance to unemployed Veterans.
The VRAP offers 12 months of training assistance to Veterans who:
- Are at least 35 but no more than 60 years old
- Are unemployed on the date of application
- Received an other than dishonorable discharge
- Are not be eligible for any other VA education benefit program (e.g.: the Post-9/11 GI Bill, Montgomery GI Bill, Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Assistance)
- Are not in receipt of VA compensation due to unemployability
- Are not enrolled in a federal or state job training program
The program is limited to 45,000 participants from July 1, 2012, through September 30, 2012, and 54,000 participants from October 1, 2012, through March 31, 2014. Participants may receive up to 12 months of assistance equal to the monthly full-time payment rate under the Montgomery GI Bill–Active Duty program (currently $1,473 per month). DOL will offer employment assistance to every Veteran who participates upon completion of the program.
Participants must be enrolled in a VA approved program of education offered by a community college or technical school. The program must lead to an Associate Degree, Non-College Degree, or a Certificate, and train the Veteran for a high demand occupation.
Post 9/11 GI Bill
This program provides financial support for education and housing to 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. You must have received an honorable discharge to be eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill.
The Post 9-11 GI Bill will pay eligible individuals:
- Your full tuition & fees directly to the school for all public school in-state students. For those attending private or foreign schools tuition & fees are capped at $17,500 per academic year.
- For those attending a more expensive private school or a public school as a non-resident out-of-state student, a program exists which may help to reimburse the difference. This program is called the “Yellow Ribbon Program”. Only veterans entitled to the maximum benefit rate (based on service requirements) or their designated transferees may receive this funding. Active duty servicemembers and their spouses are not eligible for this program (child transferees of active duty servicemembers may be eligible if the servicemember is qualified at the 100% rate).
- A monthly housing allowance (MHA) based on the Basic Allowance for Housing for an E-5 with dependents at the location of the school. For those enrolled solely in distance learning the housing allowance payable is equal to ½ the national average BAH for an E-5 with dependents ($673.50 for the 2011 academic year & $684.00 for the 2012 academic year). For those attending foreign schools (schools without a main campus in the U.S.) the BAH rate is fixed at $1,347.00 for the 2011 academic year & $1,368.00 for the 2012 academic year. The academic year begins on August 1 (Active duty students & their spouses cannot receive the MHA).
- An annual books & supplies stipend of $1,000 paid proportionately based on enrollment.
This benefit provides up to 36 months of education benefits, generally benefits are payable for 15 years following your release from active duty.
Montgomery GI Bill
The Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) is available for those who enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces. MGIB encompasses both the Montgomery GI Bill-Active Duty (Chapter 30) and The Montgomery GI Bill-Selected Reserve (Chapter 1606). Under Chapter 30, Active Duty members enroll and pay $100 per month for 12 months; are then entitled to receive a monthly education benefit once they have completed a minimum service obligation. Under Chapter 1606, a reservist must be actively drilling and have a 6-year obligation in the Selected Reserve to be eligible.
The MGIB (Chapter 30) program provides up to 36 months of education benefits. This benefit may be used for degree and certificate programs, flight training, apprenticeship/on-the-job training and correspondence courses. Remedial, deficiency, and refresher courses may be approved under certain circumstances. Generally, benefits are payable for 10 years following your release from active duty. This program is also commonly known as Chapter 30.
The MGIB-SR (Chapter 1606) program may be available to you if you are a member of the Selected Reserve. The Selected Reserve includes 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.
You may use this education assistance program for degree programs, certificate or correspondence courses, cooperative training, independent study programs, apprenticeship/on-the-job training, and vocational flight training programs. Remedial, refresher and deficiency training are available under certain circumstances. Eligibility for this program is determined by the Selected Reserve components. VA makes the payments for this program.
You may be entitled to receive up to 36 months of education benefits.
Your eligibility for the program normally ends on the day you leave the Selected Reserve.
Veterans Educational Assistance Program (VEAP)
This program is for veterans who entered active duty for the first time after December 31, 1976, and before July 1, 1985, and contributed to a training fund.
VEAP is available if you elected to make contributions from your military pay to participate in this education benefit program. Your contributions are matched on a $2 for $1 basis by the Government. You may use these benefits for degree, certificate, correspondence, apprenticeship/on-the-job training programs, and vocational flight training programs. In certain circumstances, remedial, deficiency, and refresher training may also be available.
Benefit entitlement is 1 to 36 months depending on the number of monthly contributions. You have 10 years from your release from active duty to use VEAP benefits. If there is entitlement not used after the 10-year period, your portion remaining in the fund will be automatically refunded.
Survivors and Dependents Educational Assistance (DEA)
Dependents' Educational Assistance provides education and training opportunities to eligible dependents of certain veterans. The program offers up to 45 months of education benefits. These benefits may be used for degree and certificate programs, apprenticeship, and on-the-job training. If you are a spouse, you may take a correspondence course. Remedial, deficiency, and refresher courses may be approved under certain circumstances.
You must be the son, daughter, or spouse of:
- A veteran who died or is permanently and totally disabled as the result of a service-connected disability. The disability must arise out of active service in the Armed Forces.
- A veteran who died from any cause while such permanent and total service-connected disability was in existence.
- A servicemember missing in action or captured in line of duty by a hostile force.
- A servicemember forcibly detained or interned in line of duty by a foreign government or power.
- A servicemember who is hospitalized or receiving outpatient treatment for a service connected permanent and total disability and is likely to be discharged for that disability. This change is effective December 23, 2006.
Period of eligibility for DEA benefits:
- If you are a son or daughter and wish to receive benefits for attending school or job training, you must be between the ages of 18 and 26. In certain instances, it is possible to begin before age 18 and to continue after age 26. Marriage is not a bar to this benefit. If you are in the Armed Forces, you may not receive this benefit while on active duty. To pursue training after military service, your discharge must not be under dishonorable conditions. VA can extend your period of eligibility by the number of months and days equal to the time spent on active duty. This extension cannot generally go beyond your 31st birthday, there are some exceptions.
- If you are a spouse, benefits end 10 years from the date VA finds you eligible or from the date of death of the veteran. If the VA rated the veteran permanently and totally disabled with an effective date of 3 years from discharge a spouse will remain eligible for 20 years from the effective date of the rating. This change is effective October 10, 2008 and no benefits may be paid for any training taken prior to that date.
- For surviving spouses (spouses of service members who died on active duty) benefits end 20 years from the date of death.
For more information about education and training benefits, please contact our office at (914) 377-6700.