An increasing number of service members and veterans are pursuing higher education. The Post-9/11 GI Bill awards military benefits to service members and veterans pursuing higher education in the United States. According to the American Council on Education, the bill has resulted in an investment of more than $53 billion to support service members and veterans pursuing higher education. The Post-9/11 GI Bill provides assistance for eligible individuals pursuing various types of degrees and credentials, including military medical assistant certification.
Several federal programs support active-duty personnel, veterans, reservists, and National Guard members. Programs to assist these individuals include the Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve and the Reserve Educational Assistance Program. Service members and veterans may be eligible for tuition assistance and vocational rehabilitation through the government.
Financial aid is also available to active military personnel and veterans pursuing postsecondary education. Those with a military background pursuing credentials, such as a military medical assistant certification, can receive financial assistance, including grants and loans, from the federal government. For many students, this aid is key to accessing postsecondary education. Keep reading to learn about types of financial aid available to military members and veterans.
Financial Aid Programs for Military and Veterans
The Montgomery GI Bill
The Montgomery GI Bill supports active-duty personnel and Selected Reserve personnel. Available benefits vary based on the recipient’s status; active-duty service members receive different benefits than reservists.
- What’s Covered: Enrolled members on active duty pay $100 per month for 12 months and receive monthly education benefits after completing minimum service requirements.
- Who’s Covered: The bill supports active-duty service members who enroll and pay monthly dues and reservists with six-year obligations in the Selected Reserve who are actively drilling.
- How to Apply: Active-duty members must fill out the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Form 22-1990 application for education benefits. Members of the Selected Reserve must verify their eligibility, complete the VA Form 22-1990 application for education benefits, and provide a notice of basic eligibility, if applicable.
Post-9/11 GI Bill
The Post 9/11 GI Bill supports individuals with at least 90 days of active-duty service after September 10, 2001, who were either honorably discharged or are still on active duty. The bill includes the Yellow Ribbon Program and the transfer of entitlement option. The government support that the bill provides can be crucial for those pursuing military medical assistant certification.
- What’s Covered: The bill provides up to 36 months of education benefits that can cover college classes or on-the-job training programs. Students attending institutions that participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program receive additional funds.
- Who’s Covered: Eligible individuals include those with at least 90 days of active-duty service after September 10, 2001. Individuals must have been honorably discharged, have been discharged on disability, or still be on active duty.
- How to Apply: Individuals can apply at their local VA regional benefit office, online, or through the mail.
Yellow Ribbon Program
Through the Yellow Ribbon Program, the Post-9/11 GI Bill pays all tuition and fees for students at public institutions. Benefits for learners at private schools include either the actual tuition and fees or the national maximum per academic year, whichever is lower. The Yellow Ribbon Program offers assistance in addition to GI Bill benefits.
- What’s Covered: The program covers all residential tuition and fees for students at public schools and either actual tuition and fees or the national maximum per academic year for students at private institutions.
- Who’s Covered: Applicants must have served at least 36 months in active duty after September 10, 2001. Eligible individuals also include those who served for 30 consecutive days after the same date and were honorably discharged for a disability.
- How to Apply: Individuals can complete the application online, through the mail, or in person at a local VA office.
National Call to Service
The National Call to Service Incentive program provides benefits for those who have served the nation. The Department of Defense sponsors this program, which the VA administers. Recipients apply funds toward postsecondary education, including degrees or military medical assistant certification, and can combine benefits with those received through the GI Bill.
- What’s Covered: Benefits include a cash bonus of $5,000, repayment of student loans less than $18,000, and one year of benefits equal to the three-year Montgomery GI Bill Active-Duty rate.
- Who’s Covered: Applicants must have served at least 15 months on active duty with a specialty assigned by the Secretary of Defense, must have served an additional period of active duty, and must have remained in service in an area such as the armed forces or AmeriCorps.
- How to Apply: Individuals can apply online, through the mail, or at a local VA office.
Survivors’ and Dependents’ Education Assistance
The Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance program supports dependents and family members of individuals who have been entirely or permanently disabled due to service-related activities. The program also supports the family members of those who died while on active duty. Recipients can apply benefits to education or job training.
- What’s Covered: The program provides up to 45 months of education benefits for recipients pursuing degrees, certificates, apprenticeships, or on-the-job training. Spouses can take a correspondence course.
- Who’s Covered: Eligible individuals include children and spouses of service members and veterans who were disabled during military service, who were MIA or captured in the line of duty, or who are currently hospitalized or receiving outpatient treatment for an injury.
- How to Apply: Individuals can apply online or in person by filling out the VA Form 22-5490. A guardian must sign the application for children under legal age.
Scholarships for Veterans and Military Personnel
Imagine America Foundation Military Award Program
Who Can Apply: The Imagine America Foundation offers this career education award to military personnel who are on active duty, reservists, those who were honorably discharged, and retired veterans. Applicant must not have received any other Imagine America scholarship or grant.
George and Vicki Muellner Foundation Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Arnold Air Society and Silver Wing members can apply for this scholarship program, which provides two annual awards to undergraduate students.
Who Can Apply: This one-time grant supports active-duty, National Guard, and Reserve USAF personnel who are graduating from the Community College of the Air Force and who plan to pursue a bachelor’s degree.
Health Professions Scholarship Program
Who Can Apply: This program supports those pursuing higher education in the healthcare field, including a military medical assistant certification or a degree in an area such as osteopathy, dentistry, counseling, clinical psychology, or optometry. Individuals must be on active duty and must hold a bachelor’s degree.
Amount: Full tuition, books, equipment, and other fees; a $2,200 monthly stipend; a $20,000 sign-on bonus; officer’s pay during breaks; a monthly allowance for room and board; and a salary increase with promotions
Resources for Active Military and Veterans
- MilitaryINSTALLTIONS: This resource helps service members and their families maintain their quality of life and provides child services during times of relocation.
- Military OneSource: This call center offers remote resources to military personnel and their families, including spouse education, career opportunities, health coaching, phone counseling, and financial support.
- Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program: The Department of Defense provides resources for National Guard and Reserve members and their families. This program connects individuals with resources throughout the deployment cycle.
- YMCA DoD Military Outreach Initiative: In partnership with the Department of Defense, the YMCA offers free access to its fitness centers and provides free childcare services to the family of National Guard and Reserve members.
- Real Warriors:Real Warriors launched a public awareness campaign sponsored by the VA, which helps family members and military personnel cope with the psychological and physical effects of active duty.
- Veteran Crisis Line: The Veteran Crisis Line provides resources for veterans, including mental health and suicide prevention tools, resources for homeless veterans, and rehabilitation and reintegration programs for those transitioning back into civilian life.