According to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the passing of the Post-9/11 GI Bill® and the drawdown of military personnel from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have led to a significant increase in the number of veterans and service members using their military benefits to pursue a postsecondary degree. However, the Post-9/11 GI Bill represents just one of several available programs and scholarships for military veterans seeking a higher education.
individuals can apply for a host of public and private scholarships for military veterans as well as scholarships for military dependents
Active duty personnel and veterans can also access funding and tuition discounts through the Yellow Ribbon Program and the National Call to Service (NCS). Additionally, the government provides financial aid to reservists through the Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP) and to military families through the Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance (DEA) program.
Veterans and service members who hope to become teachers can also access aid through the Troops to Teachers program as well as initiatives hosted by Teach for America (TFA) and TEACH-NOW. Furthermore, individuals can apply for a host of public and private scholarships for military veterans as well as scholarships for military dependents.
Financial Aid Programs for Military and Veterans
The Montgomery GI Bill®
|The Montgomery GI bill represents one of the two primary education benefit programs available to veterans and service members. It provides up to $1,857 per month for a maximum of 36 months. Students receive this funding directly and can use it to pay for tuition, books, and other education expenses.|
|What's Covered||Students receive between $464 and $1,857 per month, depending on their enrollment status. The government provides this benefit for up to 36 months.|
|Who's Covered||Active duty personnel must enroll and pay $100 per month for 12 months in order to be eligible for this program. They must also meet minimum service requirements and receive a fully honorable discharge.|
|How to Apply||Veterans and service members can apply online by completing form VA 22-1990. In addition to service requirements, individuals must hold a high school diploma or GED certificate to apply.|
Post-9/11 GI Bill®
|The Post-9/11 GI Bill is the second of the two main education benefit programs open to veterans and military personnel. It covers up to 100% of the tuition at the most expensive public university in a student's home state or an equivalent amount of tuition at another school. This funding goes directly to the institution.|
|What's Covered||This program covers tuition for up to 36 months, but it also provides a housing allowance, a stipend for books and course materials, and a monthly allotment for tutoring.|
|Who's Covered||Individuals qualify for this program if they served for at least 90 days on active duty after September 10, 2001. Participants must also be an active duty service member or veteran who received an honorable or disability-related discharge.|
|How to Apply||To apply for this program, visit the website of the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA). Note that applicants must apply within 15 years of their last day of active duty to retain eligibility.|
Yellow Ribbon Program
|At some private and/or out-of-state schools, the aforementioned GI Bills may not cover the full cost of tuition. Through the Yellow Ribbon Program, colleges and universities make additional funds available to military students to help offset this difference.|
|What's Covered||The Yellow Ribbon Program provides additional funding towards a military student's tuition. The school selects an amount to contribute to these students, and the VA matches that amount.|
|Who Qualifies||This program is open to veterans who qualify for the maximum benefit rate under the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Students cannot be on active duty, and their schools must also choose to participate in the program.|
|How to Apply||Applicants apply directly to their school in order to receive this funding. A list of participating schools can be found here.|
National Call to Service
|Administered by the VA, the NCS program provides funding to individuals who perform national service. For military students, this program can be seen as an alternative to the GI Bill programs -- any NCS money reduces the amount of GI Bill money an individual qualifies for.|
|What's Covered||Participants can choose to receive a $5,000 bonus payment, repayment of a student loan up to $18,000, an allowance equal to the monthly payment of the Montgomery GI Bill for 12 months, or an allowance equal to half of the Montgomery GI Bill monthly payment for 36 months.|
|Who Qualifies||This program is open to military personnel, reservists, and AmeriCorps participants who completed a certain period of national service. The length of that period varies at the discretion of the Secretary of Defense, but it is usually not less than two years.|
|How to Apply||Individuals can apply for this program online by completing VA Form 22-1990N. Note that participating in the NCS program may affect a participant's eligibility for the Montgomery or Post-9/11 GI Bills.|
Reserve Educational Assistance Program
|REAP provides financial support to reservists called up to active duty. Although the National Defense Authorization Act of 2016 ended REAP in late 2015, individuals already receiving benefits from the program may be eligible to continue to do so through 2019. The Post-9/11 GI Bill provides many of the same benefits once offered through REAP.|
|What's Covered||REAP provides financial aid to reservists at the same level as the Montgomery GI Bill. While the program has been deactivated, it will continue to provide funding to current beneficiaries through 2019.|
|Who Qualifies||Reservist veterans who were attending school on November 24, 2015 -- or during the last term prior to that date -- may be eligible to continue to receive benefits through 2019.|
|How to Apply||Individuals can no longer apply to this program. The Post-9/11 GI Bill helps many of the same individuals formerly served by REAP; in many cases, the Post-9/11 GI Bill provides even better educational benefits.|
Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance
|The DEA program provides financial aid to dependents of veterans who have died or been permanently disabled as a result of their service. The Fry Scholarship also provides aid to surviving spouses and their families. Individuals can only participate in one of these two programs.|
|What's Covered||The DEA program provides up to $1,224 per month for a maximum of 45 months. Participants can use this money to pay for degree and certificate programs, apprenticeships, and on-the-job training.|
|Who Qualifies||Recipients must be the child or spouse of a veteran who was disabled or killed in the line of duty. Individuals can also receive these benefits if their spouse or parent is missing in action or was captured while serving.|
|How to Apply||Applicants can apply online by completing VA Form 22-5490. At the time of application, individuals must make an irrevocable selection and choose to participate in either the DEA program or the Fry Scholarship for military dependents.|
Military-Related Teaching Programs
Troops to Teachers
Jointly run by the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Education (ED), the Troops to Teachers program helps service members and veterans become K-12 teachers at public and charter schools. In addition to counseling and referral services to help participants meet state teaching certification requirements, the program provides financial assistance up to $10,000.
All current and former members of the U.S. armed forces who received an honorable discharge can receive counseling and referral services through this program. Participants must meet certain other requirements to receive financial assistance, including applying within three years of their last day of service and transferring to the Retired Reserve.
Individuals can receive a $5,000 stipend to help pay for the cost of their education at an accredited teacher preparation program or a $10,000 bonus for committing to teach in a high-need school for a period of at least three years. Participants cannot receive both a stipend and a bonus through the program, and individuals must be registered before they begin teaching to be eligible for the bonus.
Applicants can apply through the DoD's online registration system. If accepted, program counselors help aspiring teachers find a job in their state and within their area of expertise.
Teach for America's Veterans Initiative
TFA's veterans recruitment initiative, called "You Served America, Now Teach for America," encourages former military personnel to become teachers. The program provides an opportunity for veterans to continue their service to their country by working in some of the highest-need classrooms in the country.
Participants receive the same initial teacher training as other TFA corps members. After this training, TFA matches participants with open teaching jobs at public and charter schools within a member's chosen region. TFA members must commit to teaching for at least two years. Individual districts pay TFA teachers, and salaries typically range from $33,000-$58,000 per year.
Applicants must have a bachelor's degree earned with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5 and be a U.S. citizen or legal resident. After completing a general application, applicants may be invited to an interview where they must present a five minute sample lesson. If admitted, participants receive a teaching assignment, which they can accept or decline.
TEACH-NOW Veterans Initiative
TEACH-NOW is a private school of education based in the District of Columbia. It offers an online certification program that enables participants to become a certified teacher in as few as nine months, as well as a 12-month program that confers a master's in education. Students can complete much of the coursework for this online teaching degree on a part-time basis, although they must complete at least 200 hours of teaching practice in the classroom to receive certification. Graduates of these programs can teach in the District of Columbia or Arizona, and they may also apply for licensure reciprocity in other states.
TEACH-NOW's Veterans Initiative provides current and former members of the armed forces with a pathway into the teaching profession. Students can choose to enroll in cohorts made up entirely of military service personnel, allowing them to learn alongside others who understand the unique strengths and challenges possessed by veterans. Students can use VA education benefits on any of the programs offered by TEACH-NOW. The organization also provides free consultations to veterans considering a career in teaching. To enter either of these programs, applicants must hold a bachelor's degree or higher and complete an online application.
Teaching Scholarships for Military and Veterans
AMVETS' Scholarships $1,000-$4,000
AFCEA War Veterans Scholarships $2,500
Army Women's Foundation Legacy Scholarships $1,000-$2,500
VFW's Sport Clips Help a Hero Scholarship $5,000
NBC Universal - SVA Scholarship $12,000
Tillman Scholars Program $10,000
American Legion Legacy Scholarship $20,000
Veterans United Foundation Scholarship $50,000
Women Marines Association Scholarship $1,500-$3,000
eLearners Military Scholarship Program $1,000
AT&T Veterans Scholarships $1,000
AFAS General Henry H. Arnold Education Grant $500-$4,000
Anchor Scholarship Foundation $2,400-$3,000
Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation $10,000
Fisher House Foundation Scholarships for Military Children $2,000
Resources for Active Military and Veterans
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs The VA administers several benefits to current and former members of the armed forces, including educational benefits like the Montgomery and Post-9/11 GI Bills.
- U.S. Department of Education The ED provides resources that detail how to apply for various forms of financial aid, including scholarships for active duty military personnel. The ED also jointly runs the Troops to Teachers program.
- American Veterans AMVETS is a congressionally-chartered veterans service organization. As part of its broader mission, it helps veterans navigate government resources and benefits programs.
- Wounded Warrior Project In addition to offering physical and mental wellness programs for veterans, WWP also provides career and benefits counseling to former members of the military and their dependents.
- National Veterans Foundation NVF operates a toll-free helpline and online assistance portal for veterans. Staffed by veterans, the foundation helps former service members find food, shelter, medical treatment, jobs, and educational programs.
- Corporation for National and Community Service Veterans can qualify for additional government benefits by becoming an AmeriCorps member. The Corporation for National and Community Service oversees the AmeriCorps program.
* GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government website at http://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.