GI Bill STEM Extension

GI Bill STEM Extension

GI Bill STEM Extension

There are limits to your GI Bill benefit, but some students may qualify for an extension of federal education benefits thanks to a program called the Edith Nourse Rogers Science Technology Engineering Math (STEM) Scholarship.

Some informally refer to this as a so-called GI Bill extension, but this is actually a scholarship separate from but associated with the GI Bill program.

It’s meant to provide additional education funds to veterans using the Post-9/11 GI Bill to get education in high-demand technological fields. At press time, STEM Scholarship funds are not offered for graduate programs.

Who Qualifies for the Rogers STEM Scholarship?

You may qualify for a GI Bill STEM extension (the Rogers STEM scholarship) if you are a veteran or a Fry Scholar meeting one of the following:

  • You are enrolled in an undergraduate STEM degree program;
  • You are enrolled in a “qualifying dual-degree program,” according to the VA;
  • You have “a post-secondary degree or a graduate degree in an approved STEM degree field” and want to continue in a clinical training program for health care professionals;
  • You have a post-secondary degree in a STEM degree field “and are working toward a teaching certification,” according to

Approved Courses of Study

There is a long list of approved programs under this GI Bill STEM extension. They include but are NOT limited to:

  • Agriculture science
  • Natural resources science
  • Biological science
  • Biomedical science
  • Computer services
  • Information science and support services
  • Engineering
  • Engineering technologies or an engineering-related field
  • Health care or a health-care-related field
  • Mathematics
  • Statistics
  • Undergraduate Medical residency
  • Physical science
  • Science technologies

The Department of Veterans Affairs provides a full list of eligible STEM degree programs.

What You Get With The Rogers STEM Scholarship

If the VA approves your STEM Scholarship application, you may qualify for up to 9 months of added benefits or $30,000, whichever comes first. According to, “Your monthly benefits will be the amount you received through the Post-9/11 GI Bill or Fry Scholarship.”

You cannot use the Yellow Ribbon program for the Rogers Scholarship or transfer this scholarship to a dependent.

Requirements for Students in Undergrad STEM or Dual-Degree Programs

To be eligible for the STEM Scholarship in these cases, the following must apply:

  • You are in a STEM degree program for 120 standard semester credit hours (or 180 quarter credit hours) to complete AND;
  • You’ve completed at least 60 standard credit hours (or 90 quarter credit hours) AND;
  • You have 6 months, or less of your Post-9/11 GI Bill (or Fry Scholarship) benefits left.

Requirements for Students In Clinical Training Programs

To qualify, you must meet all the requirements below:

  • You have a degree in a STEM field, AND;
  • You’ve been accepted or are enrolled in a covered clinical training program AND;
  • You have 6 months or less of your Post-9/11 GI Bill or Fry Scholarship benefits left.

Requirements for Those Studying for a Teaching Certification

All of the following must apply:

  • You have a post-secondary degree in a STEM field, and
  • You are in a teaching certification program, and
  • You have 6 months or less of your Post-9/11 GI Bill, or Fry Scholarship benefits left.

How to apply for the Edith Nourse Rogers STEM Scholarship

The Department of Veterans Affairs encourages applicants to apply online using a 15-minute process. Apply for the STEM Scholarship

If the VA approves your application, you will be notified by physical mail. You must bring that notification (including the enclosed VA Certificate of Eligibility (COE) for the GI Bill) to your registrar’s office or its equivalent.

The VA also sends out physical mail notifications for those not approved for the program.


90/10 Law Modified to End For-Profit College Loophole

Not all for-profit colleges are scammy or prey upon veterans. But enough of them have abused the VA GI Bill education benefits system that Congress has moved to close a loophole that “incentivized” for-profit schools to target vets as potential students.

The loophole was found in something known as the 90/10 rule which basically requires for-profit schools approved to participate in the GI Bill program to receive at least 10% of their funding from non-federal sources. But that rule included a problematic loophole that certain for-profit colleges exploited to the full.

A Serious Issue with the 90/10 Rule

The problem? That 10% of “non-federal revenue” in the past included any funds the college got from the GI Bill program. If that makes zero sense to you, you are not alone. A federal law requiring a school to get 10% non-federal money which also allows federal money to be included in that 10% is indeed as confusing as it seems.

Some believe that loophole created an environment ripe for fraud and misrepresentation toward the goal of getting as many GI Bill enrollees as possible to take advantage of that loophole.

Enticing more veterans to apply doesn’t have to include misrepresentation of the school’s reputation, the quality of education, or who might respect the degree once obtained.

But where for-profit colleges are concerned, there are multiple cases where this fraud has occurred, depriving veterans of their hard-earned VA education benefits.

But that is ending thanks to the American Rescue Plan, signed into law in 2021. That law requires schools to stop counting GI Bill money toward their 10% non-federal funding requirement.

Why the Delay?

If the American Rescue Plan was signed into law in 2021, why hasn’t it taken effect? Simply because the law requires active enforcement of the rule starting in 2023 and not before.

The new rule is effective in January 2023 and schools must comply as soon as their 2023 fiscal year begins.

What happens if schools do not comply with the new guidelines? Punishing non-compliance is a lengthy process.

At press time, under the new rules, any institution that does not meet its 90/10 requirement without using GI Bill funds will lose its ability to participate in Title IV financial aid programs. But the school must first fail to meet the guidelines two years in a row.

When a School Loses Title IV Status

Losing Title IV status means students attending that school would not be eligible for federal student loans and grants, and that is a serious problem for any academic institution.

All of this comes at a time of elevated scrutiny on for-profit colleges and their business practices.

The Department of Education at one time had a backlog of claims from students who felt defrauded by their for-profit college, but since the start of the Biden administration, the department has approved billions of dollars in student loan cancellation associated with for-profit colleges.

What to Do If You Have Been Defrauded By a For-Profit College

The Federal Trade Commission advises students who need to file a complaint against their school or act as a whistleblower to apply for loan forgiveness through the Department of Education Borrower Defense To Repayment program.

Servicemembers can get help through a base personal finance manager; this assistance is typically offered through on-base or on-post agencies such as:

  • Airman & Family Readiness Centers
  • Army Community Service centers
  • Fleet and Family Support Centers
  • Marine Corps Community Services

Veterans should call the VA GI Bill Hotline at (888) GI-BILL-1 or (888) 442-4551 to get information on how to report fraudulent practices or apply for any possible relief from the VA.




Are Veterans Missing Out On VA Education Benefits?

Are veterans missing out on VA education benefit money for high-technology career fields? A Government Accounting Office (GAO) report indicates that may be true; worse yet there have been a large number of rejected applications for non-GI Bill VA education benefits with no clear indication as to why those applications were denied.

GI Bill Applications Versus Other Options

The GAO report notes that between 2019 and 2021 there were some 130 thousand applications for the Post 9/11 GI Bill. This number does NOT represent the total amount of applications received; instead, it represents the number of people who specifically used the Post 9/11 GI Bill to obtain a degree in a STEM field. STEM stands for:





In addition to the 130 thousand veterans using the GI Bill for STEM courses, another 3,500 applied for and received the Edith Nourse Rogers STEM Scholarship to help them continue their studies after their GI Bill benefits were exhausted.

The scholarship started helping veterans in 2019, specifically designed to help people finish STEM degrees once their GI Bill money is gone. This scholarship offers to the tune of $30 thousand over nine months (at press time).

3500 compared to 130 thousand people all striving for the same types of degrees does sound a bit low, especially when compared to the approximately 7 thousand people who applied–and got turned down–for the Rogers STEM Scholarship.

Why The Disparity?

The reasons for the number of denials outpacing the approvals for this scholarship are unknown at press time. That does NOT mean “unknown to this publication” but rather that the Government Accounting Office has no idea why the number of rejects (especially compared to the number of approved applications) is so high.

The GAO report also indicates that some might not have applied for this STEM scholarship at all because of uncertainty over the rules. And when it comes to tracking the reasons for application denials? The GAO report says the VA “denial categories” it does manage to track are “too general to be useful for detailed analysis,” according to that report.

The Challenges Of STEM Coursework

STEM courses require a great deal of academic rigor, and not all students are ideal for this path of study. It’s entirely possible that some applicants did not have the academic record needed to continue their studies in a STEM field. But that cannot and does not account for all the application rejections or the general lack of use of this scholarship. What did the GAO study reveal about these issues?

GAO Findings About VA Education Benefits Under The Edith Nourse Rogers STEM Scholarship

The GAO report can be troubling, especially with finding such as the following from the second page of the report’s introduction, which includes one entry that notes that some challenges are “specific to veterans.”

According to the GAO, “While veterans bring strengths, such as discipline, some also have physical or mental conditions from their military service that can affect their academic progress.” That is according to school officials the GAO interviewed during the course of the study.

What did the GAO discover about VA STEM Scholarship opportunities under this program in general?

The Department of Veterans Affairs “does not clearly communicate” with applicants about their Rogers STEM scholarship applications. The VA also does not “collect and use data needed to understand application denial trends.” The GAO report criticizes the VA for not sending clear information about applications, how to fill them out, etc.

One blurb from the GAO’s analysis of VA information notes a 63% denial rate among VA STEM scholarship applications. This occurred during the first three years the program operated.

The GAO report states, “This analysis also shows that VA denied African American or Black applicants and female applicants at higher rates than White and male applicants.” But since the VA failed to collect the data required to understand why the denials keep occurring, there’s no way to address this issue at press time adequately.

The General Accounting Office levels a harsh accusation against the VA, saying in its report, “VA has not yet conducted any analyses to understand the disparities in denial rates. Without additional data collection and analysis, VA is unable to take informed steps to better manage the program and address, as needed, these disparities.”

Tough Words From the GAO

That wasn’t the only tough love GAO had for the Department of Veterans Affairs. “Some of VA’s outreach materials and letters to veterans regarding the scholarship benefits and application process are not clear and may cause veterans to misunderstand the benefits available to them or hinder their access to the scholarship.”

Veterans who apply for the scholarship and have more than 6 months of GI Bill benefits are said to be automatically rejected. However, veterans are not always informed about their options or alternatives without the Rogers STEM Scholarship. If the GAO report is to be believed, the VA has quite a bit of housekeeping to do when it comes to informing veterans of their options.

In many cases, it may be best to apply for the benefit you want and allow the VA to make a determination. It’s a mistake to assume you cannot qualify for a VA GI Bill education benefit without talking to a VA representative or being told by the VA or an authorized agent that you do not qualify for a particular option.

The GAO report is not the first to criticize the VA for not working harder to provide the right benefits information to its customers, nor will it be the last. In the meantime, asking a lot of questions about your benefits is a smart way to proceed.



Temporary Public Service Student Loan Forgiveness for Military

If you served in the military and took out a student loan, you may be able to take advantage of a limited-time opportunity to get Public Service Loan Forgiveness from the United States Department of Education.

Until the end of October 2022, if you have a federal student loan and qualify for the program as a military member, you can apply for credit for payments “that previously didn’t qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) or Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness (TEPSLF)” according to the U.S. Department of Education.

How Student Loan Forgiveness Works

In general, military or not, you may only claim this type of federal student loan relief if you work for a qualified employer. Student loan forgiveness is not automatic and you must submit a PSLF form in order to get PSLF credit.

You will need to check to see that your employer is certified by the Department of Education and you will need to “generate” a student loan forgiveness form using the official Help Tool. In order to do this, you must have and use a account, and submit your employer’s EIN number as part of your application.

Temporary Student Loan Credit

Under this waiver, qualifying military members may be able to get credit even if they have a Federal Family Education Program (FFEL) loan or a Perkins loan. Credit may be offered even if you did not make on-time payments, did not pay the full amount you owed, or if you signed up for the wrong repayment plan.

The Department of Education will, under this temporary program, allow service members to submit a DD Form 214 (proof of discharge) as part of an application for student loan forgiveness.

How To Get Started

As mentioned above you must create a student loan forgiveness form using the official Help Tool on the official site. When that form is created, you will find a section on the form which states, “Check this box if you cannot obtain certification from your employer because the organization is closed or because the organization has refused to certify your employment. The Department will follow up to assist you in getting documentation of your employment.”

It is strongly recommended that you select this option when filling out the form. In cases where FedLoan Servicing is the company responsible for your loan, you may send your application materials directly to them, but if FedLoan is NOT your servicer, fill out your Public Student Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) form and submit that and a COPY of your proof of military discharge to the address listed on the PSLF form you completed.

If you submitted this information previously, before the temporary overhaul of this program, you may need to contact FedLoan or your loan servicer and resubmit your application.

What to Know About Public Service Student Loan Forgiveness

This program is not permanent at press time. It expires at the end of October 2022. It’s best to submit your application and proof of discharge as early as possible to avoid complications that could cause you to miss this important deadline. reminds us that under this temporary program the PSLF help tool has been modified to accommodate COVID-19 relief measures where applicable. For the most accurate and up-to-date information about this program, you are advised to read ANY information titled “Special Notice for the COVID-19 Emergency” and review the limited PSLF waiver announcement.



Montgomery GI Bill COLA Increases for FY 2023

Those using the Montgomery GI Bill can expect an increase in monthly GI Bill payments starting in October 2022. Fiscal 2023 GI Bill payments are increasing by nearly three percent from last year, thanks to the annual Cost-Of-Living Adjustment or COLA.

Those using the Post 9/11 GI Bill have already received their COLA. The new COLA may also affect other VA education programs; look for your program’s rates in the article below.

Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty

  • Active Duty full-time students will see an increase from $2,150 to $2,210.  An increase of $60 per month.
  • Active Duty half-time students will see an increase from $1,075 to $1,105.  An increase of $30 per month.

Qualifying active-duty full-time students attending classes on the Montgomery GI Bill could see their monthly check increase to $2,210. Active duty students attending half-time can expect an increase to $1,105.

Montgomery GI Bill rules say you are paid a specific dollar amount based on the number of classroom hours you carry; for undergraduates, this works out to:

  • 0-2 hours – quarter-time
  • 3-5 hours – less than half-time
  • 6-8 hours – half time
  • 9-11 hours – three-quarter time
  • 12 hours+ – full-time

Graduate students using the Montgomery GI Bill should expect to be paid based on what your school says your attendance works out to be–if your school considers six hours of classes per semester or term to be full-time, you are considered a full-time student.

Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR)

  • Reservist full-time students will see an increase from $407 to $439.
  • Reservist half-time students will see an increase from $203 to $219.

A full-time Reserve member attending on the Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve should expect their GI Bill monthly payments to go up to $439, with half-time students getting a COLA increase to put their monthly payment at $219. 

Reservists taking undergrad courses on the MGIB-SR have their classroom time calculated as follows:

  • 0-2 hours – quarter-time
  • 3-5 hours – less than half-time
  • 6-8 hours – half-time
  • 9-11 hours – three-quarters time
  • 12 hours+ – full-time

Graduate students using the Montgomery GI Bill-Selected Reserve are paid based on what your school establishes as a full-time commitment. That means that if your school considers six hours of classes per semester or term to be full-time, you are considered a full-time student in the eyes of the VA.

Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program COLA Increases

  • Full-time students using Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance will see an increase from $1,298 to $1,401.
  • Half-time students using Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance will see an increase from $753 to $812.

A full-time student using the Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance program will see their monthly payment increase from $1,298 to $1,401, while a half-time student will see an increase from $753 to $812.

The Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance program offers financial help and educational opportunities to qualifying dependents of eligible veterans. If you qualify for this option, you may be able to claim up to 36 months in GI Bill VA education benefits, which must be used for degree-seeking or certification-seeking purposes.

Full-time students attending classes under the Survivors and Dependents Educational Assistance program will see an increase to $1,401 a month, and half-time students will earn $812. 

Eligibility for Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program

To be eligible, you must be the spouse or school-age dependent child of a veteran who meets any of the criteria below, including but not limited to:

  • A veteran who is permanently, totally disabled as the result of a service-connected disability;
  • A veteran who died as the result of a service-connected disability
  • A veteran who died with a VA-recognized service-connected disability, but not necessarily because of it.
  • A service member missing in action
  • A service member captured in the line of duty.
  • A service member is likely to be discharged or released from service for a service-connected disability.

Children must be between the ages of 18 – 26 to qualify. Those on active duty cannot qualify, and typically those who do qualify cannot use the benefit after their 31st birthday.

For spouses, this opportunity has a ten-year window of opportunity, typically set from the time you are declared eligible or 10 years from the veteran’s death.





New GI Bill Reporting Law Eases Burden On School Officials

The Ensuring the Best Schools for Veterans Act has been signed into law by President Joe Biden. The Act, which became law on August 26, 2022, is designed to help participating schools eliminate red tape and paperwork related to the GI Bill, and addresses something called the “35% exception” to earlier rules designed to enhance school accountability with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

All About the 85-15 Rule

At issue is something known as the “85-15 rule” requirement for schools to be approved for the GI Bill. The rule requires a participating school or institution to have a certain number (15 percent) of students NOT using the GI Bill.

The basic intent seems to be one of quality control; having a certain percentage of students who are not veterans seems to confer a notion of quality education. You will find that concept repeated time and again in DoD literature and press releases about GI Bill issues in this area.

Why the 85-15 Rule Matters

If non-veterans are willing to pay out-of-pocket for the same programs a veteran can apply for using the GI Bill, the inference is that there’s a genuine demand for such a program, as opposed to situations where a school might be tempted to manufacture demand by marketing courses specifically to those using government benefits.

This basic 85-15 rule is not the issue, but something called the 35% exception. What is it?

The 35% exception is a tricky concept to write about; many sources take for granted the reader knows what the exception is, and fail to define it.

For that, we have to go to the Ensuring the Best Schools For Veterans Act, which states that in general, the Department of Veterans Affairs shall NOT approve GI Bill enrollments in schools that have “more than 85 percent of the students enrolled in the course” who have “all or part of their tuition, fees, or other charges paid to or for them by the educational institution or by the Department of Veterans Affairs under this title or under chapter 1606 of title 10…”

That means that schools are essentially required to submit enrollment data to the VA for all programs to prove they have at least 15% non-GI Bill enrollment.

The paperwork burden for this is impressive. But schools theoretically got a break of sorts thanks to the 35% exception, which states that schools could be exempt from 85-15 reporting in cases where the total student enrollment shows that GI Bill students make up 35% or less of the total student population. The reporting burden under the 35% exception is reduced.

Trouble In 2021

A revision to the rules in 2021 required approved GI Bill schools to reapply for their 35% exception and submit 85-15 Rule documentation for all programs, establishing a huge paperwork burden for the schools–they could not qualify for the 35% exemption without doing the work anyway.

Enter the New Law

The Ensuring the Best Schools for Veterans Act passed in 2022 makes the rules simpler, and provides the ability to verify the percentages discussed above with a reduced paperwork burden on the institutions. The 2021 requirement for schools to requalify for the 35% exception has been eliminated.

Under the rules as they exist today, a school with a low veteran population (defined as 35% or less of the total student body at that school) does not have to report the extensive 85-15 Rule data (which has in the past typically required the school to furnish enrollment information for all its programs of study) OR reapply for the exemption as it was required in 2021.

What Does the New Law Mean?

Some schools target veterans in their marketing and outreach. That does not automatically mean a school is untrustworthy, but the Act in this context was created to hold schools accountable.

The Act recognizes in spirit that some institutions of higher learning aren’t all they advertise themselves to be. One symptom of that problem can be found in situations where there are more veteran enrollees than civilians. While not necessarily always a sign of bad intent, a heavily skewed veteran demographic is a warning sign,

Why do we say this? Because according to, the approximate population of veterans in the United States is seven percent. 93 percent of all Americans are not veterans.

Demographically speaking, to find a disproportionately large number of vets enrolled in a single college doesn’t make sense in that context. But it DOES make more sense if veterans are actively targeted by a college marketing department.

Some politicians tout this new law as a way to reduce school fraud and help veterans avoid programs designed simply to harvest GI Bill benefits from unsuspecting students. That may make it sound like there are punitive measures in the law that could be used against a for-profit college (as an example) that cheated veterans out of GI Bill benefits.

But aside from the Department of Veterans Affairs refusing the school as a recipient of those funds (which in and of itself is definitely significant), there are no other legal provisions such as prosecution mentioned in the Act.

The threat of refusing to accredit a school as an approved GI Bill participating institution is damaging enough in the eyes of veterans who may be tempted to apply at such a school.



Education Benefits for Disabled Veterans

Disabled veterans have many options when it comes to VA benefits. When it comes to education benefits for disabled veterans, there are options from the Department of Veterans Affairs but there may also be options offered at the state level. If you have never explored your state government’s official site, you could be missing out on local education benefits offered exclusively to disabled veterans and their family members.

Disabled Veterans’ Education Benefits

There are a variety of options for disabled veterans who want to claim education benefits. They include:

  • The Department of Veterans Affairs Readiness And Employment Program (VR&E)
  • VA Work-Study Program
  • State-level scholarships and grants

Veteran Readiness and Employment Program (VR&E)

This VA program is offered to veterans and service members with service-connected disabilities that affect the ability to find or maintain a job. The Veteran Readiness and Employment program offers five tracks designed to help vets get training, an education, to find a job, or maintain a job, according to the VA official site.

VR&E benefits are not automatic–they must be applied for. You can apply online for VR&E benefits. You can also apply by mail with an Application for Vocational Rehabilitation for Claimants with Service-Connected Disabilities (VA Form 28-1900).

Send your completed application to:

Department of Veterans Affairs
VR&E Intake Center
PO Box 5210
Janesville, WI

VR&E Tracks

When you apply for VR&E benefits you’ll want to consider each of the tracks below.

VR&E Reemployment Track

Vets with service-connected disabilities can get help returning to civilian jobs. To qualify for this track, you must have an “employment barrier or handicap”, you must enroll or already be enrolled in VR&E, and have a desire to return to your civilian career.

Rapid Access to Employment Track

When you need a job that utilizes skills you already have, this track can help. The basic requirements are the same as the Employment track and you can use this track to get vocational counseling or professional coaching, resume help, tools you can use to enhance your job search, and the ability to determine your eligibility for veteran hiring preference.

Self-Employment Track

If you’re a service member or Veteran with a service-connected disability and employment barrier, the Self-Employment track can help you start your own business. This track includes training in small business concepts, which can be an important part of learning how to be your own boss. Other services offered in this track include:

    • Coordination services and help with developing a proposed business plan
    • Analysis of your business concept
    • Training in small business marketing, and finances
    • Guidance in locating business resources

Employment Through Long-Term Services Track

The VA official site offers this option to those with a service-connected disability and an “employment barrier”. This track provides education or training that may be needed if you want to transition into a new career field. What can you get in this track? Employment assistance, skills assessment, career guidance, but most importantly, “Education and training for a professional or vocational field” that is new to you and a good fit for your interests.

Independent Living Track

This is offered to those who may not be able to return to the workforce immediately. This track offers qualifying disabled veterans referral services, an evaluation to help you learn if you qualify for a VA home adaptation grant, and help determine eligibility for VA adaptive housing options.

VA Work-Study Program

While not specifically offered as an education benefit for disabled veterans, the VA Work-Study program offers the opportunity to earn while enrolled in an approved college program or training. This program must be applied for, using the VA Application for Work-Study Allowance (VA Form 22-8691). If you are approved you will work in a part-time job related to opportunities at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Under VA Work-Study, you may work at a:

  • VA facility
  • Department of Defense, Coast Guard, or National Guard location that oversees MGIB-SR or REAP
  • State Veterans agency (Working to assist veterans in obtaining Veteran Readiness and Employment benefits
  • Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success
  • Cooperative programs operated by the VA in partnership with a school or institution
  • College, university, or other institution of higher learning “in any Veteran-related role”.

Who Is Eligible?

You may be approved for a VA work-study program if you meet ALL of the following:

  • You’re enrolled at least three-quarters time.
  • You have found an open job either at a nearby VA facility or in a VA-related role at your school.
  • You can finish the work-study agreement while you still qualify for VA education benefits.
  • You are in an approved VA education benefits program.

How does this program assist disabled veterans? One of the approved VA education programs is the VA Veteran Readiness And Employment (VR&E) program (see above). Other VA education programs approved for use with VA Work-Study include but may not be limited to:

  • Post-9/11 GI Bill
  • Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty (MGIB-AD)
  • Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR)
  • Veterans’ Educational Assistance Program (VEAP)
  • The Edith Nourse Rogers Science Technology Engineering Math (STEM) Scholarship
  • Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA)
  • National Call to Service

State-Level Grants and Scholarships

Some education benefits for disabled veterans are offered at the state level. These may be offered through a state-level Department of Veterans Affairs (not the federal-level VA) or Division of Veterans Affairs.

State-level benefits in this area are often intended for the spouse or school-age dependent children of the disabled veteran. In some cases, the veteran must be rated 100% service-disabled; in other cases, the state rules may determine that a different percentage or ANY percentage may qualify.

The critical thing to remember about state-level education benefits is that they are not standardized nationwide. What is offered through the Wisconsin GI Bill may not be offered via other state programs like the Hazlewood Act, which applies in Texas, or the Illinois Veterans Grant offered to qualifying vets in that state.

Some states feel rather stingy with their veteran benefits, while others can be quite generous. In Illinois, all veterans (disabled or not) who meet the requirements for the Illinois Veterans Grant program may have their school tuition fully funded without needing to resort to the GI Bill. In other states, the only veteran benefit for education might be an honorary high school diploma for those who had to drop out of school to serve in Vietnam or other conflicts.

Many state veteran education programs offer the ability for veterans (disabled or not) to qualify for lower, in-state tuition regardless of the applicant’s residency status at the time.

One important thing to remember about applying for certain state-level disabled veteran benefits; you may be required to have an official VA disability rating. In some cases, you may need to be enrolled in a VA program like the GI Bill to claim the state benefits.

When applying for any military-related benefit, you will need proof of service in the form of military discharge paperwork such as a DD Form 214 or the Guard/Reserve equivalent. Dependents making claims on behalf of 100% disabled service members may need to furnish proof of authorization, such as a power of attorney or a similar document.


Find Scholarships for Military, Veterans, and Dependents at CollegeRecon

Military Families Guide to Back-to-School

Guide for Going Back-to-School for Military Families

School is back in session, what benefits can help a military family start the new year off right?

The summer flew by, and now it is time to start thinking about a new school year. Whether you are a military member or spouse going back to school yourself, getting your young children ready for school, or preparing a college-aged student to start their new journey, there are benefits that can help you along the way. From discounts to scholarships to financial help. Here is a list to help you this new year.

Back-to-School Discounts

A new school year means school supplies and finding the best deal. You know you need to buy some pencils, paper, and other items, so why not get a deal on them? Here are some of the best back-to-school discounts!


At JanSport, you can find the perfect backpack for the new school year. They are currently offering a 50% off military discount. offers online tutoring and homework help. As of April 2020, all DoD service members, civilian personnel, and all dependent family members from kindergarten to college/adult can use it at zero cost.

Apple Military and Student Discounts

At Apple, you can find both student and military discounts. The education discounts are for about 4-5% off and military discounts are a little more with about 10% off.

Rosetta Stone 

Rosetta Stone is a computer-assisted learning software. They offer a 10% military discount to active and retired military personnel.

Check out more back-to-school discounts on College Recon. You should also be aware of any tax-free weekends and when your state might be having theirs to save a little bit of money when purchasing school supplies.

Paying for School

G.I. Bills, Tuition Assistance, MYCAA, and more are all ways for members of the military and their children or spouses to pay for school. Each can be a bit complicated. Here is what you need to know.

Best Scholarships for the Military Family

If you have a military child going off to school, or you yourself or your spouse are going to school, it is always helpful to earn extra money for college. Here are some links to different scholarships, for veterans, military spouses, and military children.

Also, make sure to visit the CollegeRecon Scholarship Finder to find more scholarships that might work and would be worth applying to.

School Prep

Prepping for a new school year could mean changing up your routine, especially if one of the adults in the home is going back to school. Here is some advice and what to think about if you are making that change.

Military Students

There is a lot to know about the benefits you can receive for your military students, especially if you just moved to a new duty station. It would be a good idea to learn more about the Military Interstate Compact, and other benefits for military children.

No matter who is getting ready for school this fall, either the kids or the adults, knowing what you have access to can help you be even more prepared for the new year. Take advantage of any of these discounts and benefits to start the school year off right.



Military Tuition Assistance (TA)

Why should you consider using a military Tuition Assistance (TA) program instead of your GI Bill benefits? TA is offered to those who are on active duty and it’s generally thought of as a “replacement” GI Bill of sorts that helps you save your actual GI Bill for later.

Should you save those GI Bill options? That may seem like a very simple question for some–the most obvious answer is that it’s best to use TA if you have the option while still serving.  There are some issues to consider if you are tempted to the GI Bill on active duty in general.

One good example? The Post 9/11 GI Bill has a housing stipend that is not offered to those who serve on active duty since it’s assumed that those still serving are already paid a housing allowance. You may do well to save your GI Bill benefit for when you can ALSO draw the housing allowance. Military TA makes that possible.

Those who don’t have the option to use a military tuition assistance program turn to their GI Bill benefits, but when you are still serving on active duty (and meet the program requirements) there’s no need to tap into the GI Bill. There are some important things to know about using TA, as we’ll explore below:

How to Use the Military Tuition Assistance Program

You can use military tuition assistance in a variety of ways, but typically you must be degree or credential-seeking. You can use military tuition assistance to pay for:

  • Vocational programs
  • Technical programs
  • Undergraduate programs
  • Graduate programs
  • Independent study
  • Distance-learning programs

In general, the program funds up to 100% of your tuition and fees up to a cap which in 2022 was listed as follows:

  • Funding may not exceed $250 per semester credit hour or $166 per quarter credit hour;
  • Funding may not exceed $4,500 per fiscal year, Oct. 1 through Sept. 30.

Tuition assistance is designed to cover tuition, plus course-specific fees such as a lab fee or online course fee. Tuition assistance DOES NOT PAY FOR:

  • Books and course materials
  • Flight training fees
  • Repeating a course
  • Continuing education units (CEUs)

Military TA Top-Up

Some servicemembers may have the option to “top up” their military tuition assistance using the Post 9/11 GI Bill or the Montgomery GI Bill. Topping up is necessary for some who want to keep their out-of-pocket costs to an absolute minimum but the assistance won’t cover the entire tuition cost. Using the GI Bill to pay the difference meets that goal, but you can only apply for top up AFTER you are approved for TA.

How To Apply For Military Tuition Assistance

Each branch of the military has its own applications, procedures, and expectations. You’ll need to apply via your base education office, your command support staff where applicable, or your branch of service’s online portal:

Space Force tuition assistance programs are administered by the U.S. Air Force. To be eligible for military tuition assistance, the following requirements apply:

Enlisted service members must have enough time left in their service commitment to complete the courses being funded. If you are due to retire or separate before the courses end you may be denied funds.

Officers who qualify for tuition assistance must ”fulfill a service obligation that runs parallel with – not in addition to – any existing service obligation” according to the DoD.

As part of the application process, troops may be required to attend a tuition assistance orientation seminar and/or submit an education plan or college “education plan” showing the student’s “map” toward a degree.

Remember that you’ll need to check that your selected school is accredited by an acceptable authority–you can research your school’s accreditation status at the official site of the U.S. Department of Education.

What To Know About Military Tuition Assistance

You can’t use this tuition assistance for just any higher learning opportunity. The school or institution should be accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. When you register for one of these programs, the school is paid directly by the military, the funds do not go to you first.

Guidance to troops from the federal government includes a warning to first discuss tuition assistance options with an education counselor at your base or installation education office. You must be approved for assistance before you can enroll in the classes.

You may be required to repay any tuition assistance provided under your military branch of service if any of the following apply:

  • You quit the military before the course ends;
  • You drop the course for reasons not including mission requirements, reassignment or deployment, or personal illness;
  • You get a failing grade in the course funded by military tuition assistance.

Submitting an education plan (see above) makes more sense when you realize that it is possible to mistakenly sign up for classes you can’t truly finish if you are taking them in the local area and you have a permanent change of station move date set before those classes end.

You would likely not be approved for military TA in such cases unless you could show that you have the ability to finish the classes before your PCS move or in spite of it. Such issues may be dealt with on a case-by-case basis and your experience may vary.

Quitting or dropping a class paid for with TA requires an explanation in most cases; it’s a bad idea to assume that because your classwork was interfered with because of mission requirements that your “protected” status (against having to repay the TA) is automatic. In most instances, an explanation will be required.

In certain cases, if you realize you must drop a course paid for with military tuition assistance, you may be required to submit a formal letter explaining the reasons why you must drop the course. Your branch of service may or may not require that letter to be signed by your Squadron Commander.

You cannot use military tuition assistance to take classes that are in a “lower” status than yours. If you already have an Associate’s Degree, for example, you cannot take classes at that level. The same is true if you are already in possession of a Bachelor’s Degree; the coursework you take must be applicable toward a degree higher than the one you currently have.

In cases where military duty interfered with your ability to take the classes, you may be able to avoid having to repay the tuition assistance but you will be required to submit a request for a “waiver of reimbursement”.


Veteran Education Benefits Guide

The Department of Veterans Affairs offers military education benefits are for active duty, veterans, spouses, and dependents. But these benefits may vary, depending on your circumstances.

If you have retired or separated from military service you have options that may not be open to other applicants, or you may have benefits that active-duty servicemembers also enjoy but not in quite the same way. What do you need to know about your military education benefits to get started?

Veteran Education Benefits: An Overview

As someone who has retired or separated from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Space Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard, your options for education assistance may include:

  • Education benefits from the Department Of Veterans Affairs
  • Education benefits from state or local governments
  • Private military education programs and grants

Typically, guides like these start with the best-known programs and work their way down the list to the least well-known options.

If you are recently retired or separated, you may know some of your VA options already thanks to final-out processing briefings and seminars. In this guide, we’ll list some of the more obscure options first to help you quickly find resources you might not have thought of initially.

Private Veteran Education Programs, Grants, and Scholarships

The best-known veteran-friendly agencies such as the DAV, VFW, and American Legion often offer scholarships, grants, or other financial assistance for qualifying veterans.

Some of this assistance may be offered to those with qualifying service-connected medical issues, some may be offered to those who served during specific eras such as the Gulf War or the Vietnam War.

Other assistance may be offered to any qualifying applicant on a first-come, first-served basis regardless of a medical condition, eras of service, etc. Some examples of these privately-funded opportunities for veterans include:

  • AMVETS offers educational assistance for veterans who want to attend an accredited college, university or technical school. You must have no convictions for drug-related offenses and you are required to complete an essay to apply.
  • The American Legion has in the past offered financial assistance to members of the society who are veterans pursuing undergraduate studies at an accredited college or university.
  • The Pat Tillman Foundation offers financial assistance to veterans and active-duty military who can meet both merit-based and eligibility-based criteria. This college education assistance for veterans requires the submission of two written essays in addition to the other criteria.

Veteran assistance with VA benefits may be offered by Veteran Service Organizations such as

  • Vietnam Veterans Of America
  • Voluntary Service Overseas
  • Navy Mutual
  • AmVets
  • Blinded Veterans Association
  • Veterans Of Foreign Wars (VFW)
  • Disabled American Veterans (DAV)
  • The African American Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Association
  • American Legion

You can find a large directory of Veteran Service Organizations at the VA official site. Not all VSOs offer education benefits, but many do.

Read more: What Is A Veteran Service Organization?

Military Aid Societies

Military aid societies are generally private, non-profit, tax-exempt organizations working on behalf of their members. These societies include tuition assistance and college fund options for qualifying applicants.

Not all programs offer the same options, and not all of them offer financial aid for veterans. Options may change depending on funding issues, mission demands, program changes, or federal regulations. The following are all good examples of relief societies that may offer or have offered veteran financial aid in the past.

  • The Air Force Tuition Assistance Program
  • The Navy College Fund
  • The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society
  • The U.S. Army’s Survivors and Dependents Assistance Program

This is by no means a comprehensive list–there are too many privately-funding programs to list here. One important resource to use in your search for such programs? Your state-level veterans’ affairs office.

You can find this on your state government’s official site and these pages often list state and local-level education resources for veterans as well as typical pages listing state government services, locations, etc. Find your state’s Department of Veteran Affairs office.

Read More: Military Aid Societies And Education Benefits

State/Local Veteran Education Programs

Every state in America has an official site that lists programs, services, and other help for those who need to deal with state government. Many cities and municipalities have official sites, too.

These websites may have valuable information about veteran education grants, scholarships, in-state tuition options for veterans attending from out-of-state, and more. You will typically find these benefits (at the state level) at the official page for that state’s Department of Veterans Affairs (not the federal agency found at

This entity may be known as a Division of Veterans Affairs, the Office of Veterans Affairs, or simply as the Department of Veterans Affairs (again, a state entity and not the federal one). A short sampling of such official sites includes but is definitely not limited to:

As mentioned above, you can find your state Department of Veterans Affairs office at the VA official site.

Each state will have its own official site and typically has a veterans resources page including any current education benefit or links to those benefits. State benefits vary greatly. Some states are incredibly stingy in their veteran education benefits while others are fairly generous.

Vermont, for example, offers education benefits to members of the National Guard but at press time no other options seem to be available directly from the state. For all others, the state official site (at press time) refers veterans to a third-party private entity, the Vermont Student Assistance Program.

Compare that with the Illinois Veterans Grant which pays for tuition and fees for qualifying applicants who lived in Illinois when they entered military service or who have become state residents since leaving (a time limit for relocation to the state may apply.)

This grant can be used in conjunction with the GI Bill or on its own and may be useful for saving or extending the GI Bill benefit. It’s not the only state-level grant of its kind but your experience may vary depending on which state you live in or entered military service from.

Read More: 10 Careers with Education Programs Under One Year

Education benefits From the Department Of Veterans Affairs

For veterans, there are many options to choose from; some choices are made while still serving (Montgomery GI Bill or Post 9/11 are choices some vets have had to make while still serving) and some are options that may be open to you depending on the nature of the education and training you seek.

Not everyone wants a traditional four-year degree; there are options for technical training, pilot training, OJT, apprenticeships, and much more, as we’ll discover below.

  • The GI Bill including the Post 9/11 and the Montgomery GI Bill.
  • Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) also known as Chapter 31 helps veterans learn about their employment, education, and training options.
  • Educational and career counseling through Chapter 36 benefits includes free educational and career counseling if you are leaving active duty.
  • “Other educational assistance” programs offered by the VA.

Read More: Do I Qualify for VA Education Benefits?

Montgomery GI Bill Benefits

The Montgomery GI Bill is an option for those who entered active duty after June 30, 1985 and opted into the program. This version of the GI Bill offers 36 months of basic VA education benefits depending on how long you served, the type of education you seek, and the category of your military service. Different lengths of service may qualify for pro-rated Montgomery GI Bill benefits.

The Montgomery GI Bill features no housing stipend, has no ability to transfer the benefit to a spouse or dependent, and is generally more limited than the Post 9/11 GI Bill. Those who qualified for this option were offered the chance to switch to the Post 9/11 version; once a choice has been selected it cannot be undone but many did opt into the Post 9/11 GI Bill instead once the option was available.

The Montgomery GI Bill came in multiple versions including one for active duty and one for Guard/Reserve members. Even though the active duty version is identified as such, a veteran who no longer serves on active duty uses the active duty version of the program; Reservists who have retired or separated use the Reserve component version of the GI Bill.

The Montgomery GI Bill is closed to new applicants; those serving today are enrolled in the Post 9/11 GI Bill. It is not possible to apply for this benefit at press time.

Read More: The Montgomery GI Bill

Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits

The Post-9/11 GI Bill provides 48 months of education benefits for those who served on or after September 10, 2001. This program includes payment of tuition and fees, a housing stipend paid while you attend classes, and the ability to transfer your GI Bill benefit to a spouse or dependent school-age children.

Some of your benefits are paid based on your attendance as a full-time student, half-time student, etc. You apply for these benefits through the VA official site, or in person at any VA Regional office

You may qualify for this program if one of the following applies:

  • You served at least 90 days on active duty on or after September 11, 2001;
  • You received a Purple Heart on or after September 11, 2001 and received an Honorable discharge;
  • You served for at least 30 continuous days and received an Honorable discharge and have a service-connected disability;
  • You’re a dependent applying for transferred VA benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill program.
  • You were in the Reserves and lost education benefits when the Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP) ended in November 2015-restoration of benefits may be possible.

Some qualify for both the Post 9/11 and Montgomery GI Bill. You are allowed to use only one of these programs for your qualifying period of military service.

GI Bill benefits may expire depending on when you joined. For example, if you retired or separated before January 1 2013 you have 15 years to use your Post 9/11 GI Bill. If you retired or separated on or after January 1 2013 your Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits do not expire.

Read More: Veterans and Predatory Student Lending

How to Apply for the Post 9/11 GI Bill

You can apply for Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits online by filling out the questions under “How Do I Apply on the VA official site.” You will be taken to the appropriate online form based on your answers to the questionnaire. You may also apply by mail. Call 888-442-4551 and ask that the VA send a GI Bill benefit application to you. Once you complete the form, mail it to the VA regional claims processing office closest to your selected school.

You can find a list of VA regional claims processing offices in the United States.

You can also get in-person help at any of these offices, work with an admissions representative at your school, or get help from a Veteran Service Office (see above).

Read More: GI Bill Facts and Fiction

A Word About The Forever GI Bill

The Forever GI Bill is legislation that changed the nature of the GI Bill program; it is NOT a standalone GI Bill option you can choose instead of the Montgomery GI Bill or the Post 9/11 GI Bill.

Read More: How The Forever GI Bill Changed Your Military Education Benefits

The Yellow Ribbon Program

The Post 9/11 GI Bill includes an option for those with qualifying military service who are at the 100% level for their GI Bill benefit, meaning they served the entire minimum qualifying time on active duty to become eligible for the benefit.

The Yellow Ribbon program is designed to offset the cost of attending an approved private school with tuition above and beyond what the GI Bill program can pay for–the Yellow Ribbon program can help pay for higher out-of-state tuition, too.

Not all schools participate in Yellow Ribbon. You will need to ask your admissions counselor if the school you have selected is eligible and participates. And not everyone qualifies for this program. In general, you must meet one of the following:

  • You served at least 36 months on active duty with an Honorable discharge;
  • You received a Purple Heart on or after September 11, 2001, and were honorably discharged;
  • You served 30 continuous days on or after September 11, 2001, and were discharged for a service-connected disability;
  • You’re a dependent transferred benefits;
  • You’re a Fry Scholar;
  • You’re an active-duty service member who qualifies at the 100% level;
  • You are a spouse using transferred GI Bill benefits.

Yellow Ribbon benefits are limited depending on the school; you may find the program is administered at your institution of higher learning on a first-come, first-served basis, and applying early may be best. You will need to speak to an admissions representative at your chosen school to learn if that institution participates in the Yellow Ribbon program.

The participating school, not the VA, decides if new applicants can be admitted and how much Yellow Ribbon funding is available to use in a given semester or term.

Read More: The Yellow Ribbon Program

Find Yellow Ribbon Schools and more at CollegeRecon!

VA Dependent Education Program (VA DEA)

The Department of Veterans Affairs offers the DEA program to qualifying dependents and surviving spouses of military members who have died, are missing, or are prisoners of war. The formal name of this program is the VA Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA) program, it is also referred to as Chapter 35 benefits and is offered to those who meet VA criteria. Dependent children qualify if they meet the following:

  • Typically must be between the ages of 18 and 26
  • If the dependent joins the military they may not use this benefit on active duty.
  • Dependents may have their eligibility extended due to military service, but that extension typically won’t last beyond age 31.

For spouses:

  • DEA benefits start on the date of the Veteran’s death or as the VA determines the start date. They will last for 10 years.
  • If the Veteran is VA-rated as permanently and totally disabled, “with an effective date that’s 3 years after discharge from active duty” a spouse may qualify for benefits for 20 years.
  • If the service member died on active duty, VA DEA benefits end 20 years from the date of death.

DEA benefits are available to most who start using them today for up to 36 months. Those who started using VA DEA before August 1, 2018, had 45 months of benefits.

Read More: The VA Dependent Education Program

Veteran Readiness and Employment (Chapter 31)

Veterans who have a service-connected disability that limits the ability to hold a job or seek employment may qualify for the Department of Veterans Affairs Veteran Readiness and Employment program also known as Chapter 31 benefits or VR&E. You can apply for VR&E through the VA official site. Typically this benefit is for veterans but under certain circumstances, you may qualify for VR&E while still on active duty as we’ll examine below.

To qualify for VA VR&E benefits and services, you must not have received a Dishonorable discharge, and you have a VA disability rating of at least 10%.

In some cases you may have a time limit to use this VA benefit program; if you left active duty before January 1 2013 you have 12 years to use VR&E benefits from either your separation date or the date you received your first VA disability rating.

Your VR&E eligibility may qualify for an extension if you have what the VA defines as a “serious employment handicap”

VR&E applicants who left active duty on January 1, 2013, and after do not have a time limit for VR&E benefits. Some applicants may still serve on active duty while applying for VR&E benefits and services as long as they mee3t certain criteria:

  • You have a 20% or higher pre-discharge VA disability rating known as a memorandum rating and are due to retire or separate;
  • You’re waiting to be discharged because of a service-connected medical issue that happened on active duty.

VR&E Services

You may be entitled to the following VR&E services under the program:

  • A job skills/interests evaluation;
  • Professional or vocational counseling for employment;
  • Employment services such as job training and resume development,
  • Special employer incentives
  • VR&E “job accommodations”
  • On-the-job training
  • Apprenticeships
  • Volunteer or non-paid work experiences
  • Post-secondary education and training
  • Case management
  • Counseling
  • Medical referrals
  • Independent living services

If you’re participating in a VR&E program and you qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill (you only need a single day of remaining entitlement to qualify for this) you may be offered the GI Bill subsistence rate instead of the Chapter 31 subsistence allowance rate. This is true when you have at least one day of remaining GI Bill entitlement left AND you are still within any applicable GI Bill eligibility period. Expect to be required to “officially choose” the GI Bill subsistence rate to take advantage of this benefit.

Using VR&E benefits does not count against your GI Bill benefits.

You can apply for VR&E benefits online, in person at a VA office, by calling the VA, or you can use a Veteran Service Organization (see above) such as the DAV, AmVets, etc. to help you apply. If you apply online you will take a survey that will direct you to the proper online form for your needs.

Apply by mail with VA Form 28-1900, Application for Vocational Rehabilitation for Claimants with Service-Connected Disabilities, and mail it to:

Department of Veterans Affairs
VR&E Intake Center
PO Box 5210
Janesville, WI

Educational and career counseling (VA Chapter 36 Benefits)

VA Chapter 36 benefits, also known as Personalized Career Planning and Guidance offer help and resources for veterans who qualify for VA education benefits.

If you have left active duty within the last 12 months you may qualify for career counseling, educational counseling to help you select a school, and readjustment counseling to help you transition from the military to civilian life. You can also get help with your resume and career goals using Chapter 36 benefits.

You can apply for these benefits in person at a VA office, online using VA Form 28-8832, or you can apply online at the VA official site via Applying online means using an initial questionnaire to determine the proper form for you as a veteran, active duty service member, etc.

Once you apply for Chapter 36 benefits, the VA will contact you to set up a meeting with a VA Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor “to find out if you have an employment handicap and if you’re eligible for VR&E benefits and services” according to the official site..

The VA definition of an employment handicap includes conditions where “your service-connected disability limits your ability to prepare for, obtain, and maintain suitable employment” that does not make the condition worse and is in line with career goals, skills, etc.

Read More: MySECO: 4 Reasons Military Spouses Need to Take Advantage

Other VA Educational Assistance

The Department of Veterans Affairs has other educational benefits including the Edith Nourse Rogers Science Technology Engineering Math (STEM) Scholarship. This scholarship can help extend Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits for those working toward STEM-related degrees or a teacher’s certification. You may qualify for this program if:

  • You are enrolled in an undergraduate STEM degree program;
  • You are enrolled in a qualifying dual-degree program;
  • You’ve earned a post-secondary degree in an approved STEM field and are enrolled in a covered clinical training program for health care professionals;
  • You earned a graduate degree in an approved STEM degree field and are enrolled in a covered clinical training program for health care professionals;
  • You’ve earned a post-secondary degree in an approved STEM degree field and are working toward a teaching certification.

You can use this benefit to pursue programs including, but not limited to:

  • Agriculture science
  • Natural resources science
  • Biological science
  • Biomedical science
  • Computer and information science
  • Engineering, engineering technologies, or an engineering-related field
  • Health care or a health-care-related field
  • Mathematics
  • Statistics
  • Medical residency (undergraduate only)
  • Physical science
  • Science technologies

Apply online for this program using the VA online questionnaire to direct you to the proper digital form.


There is a Department of Veterans Affairs program called Veteran Employment Through Technology Education Courses (VET TEC)  which offers benefits to help you start or continue a high-tech career if you qualify for the GI Bill.  You may qualify for VET TEC if all of the following apply to you:

  • You aren’t on active duty OR;
  • You are within 180 days of separating from active duty, and
  • You qualify for the GI Bill, and
  • You have at least one day of unexpired GI Bill benefits, and
  • You are accepted into an approved program

VET TEC does not count against your GI Bill entitlement. You can apply for VET TEC online using or You can also get help from a Veterans Service Organization.

There is an alternative to the Montgomery GI Bill called the National Call to Service program offering alternative VA education benefits to those who completed boot camp and any required advanced training and then “continued to serve on active duty for 15 months in a military occupational specialty designated by the Secretary of Defense”.

In addition to that requirement, applicants must also have served an additional enlistment or commission (service commitment times may vary) OR agreed to serve an extra two years in the Selected Reserve on active status.

If you qualify for the National Call To Service Program you may be eligible for ONE of the following benefits:

  • A cash bonus of $5,000,
  • Repayment of a qualifying student loan up to $18,000, or
  • Educational assistance equal to the 3-year monthly rate of the Montgomery GI Bill paid for 12 months, or
  • Educational assistance equal to 50% of the ”less-than-3-year monthly MGIB rate” according to the VA. This is payable for 36 months.

You can apply for these benefits via This is a program administered by the VA on behalf of the Department of Defense.

Read More: Managing Your VA Benefits Online

If Your School Closes

If you are using VA education benefits and your school closes or is removed from the VA-approved list, you may qualify to have some or all of your VA education benefits restored depending on whether you transfer college credit from the “losing” school and it is acceptable at the “gaining” school. In general, those who choose to transfer less than 12 credit hours to the new school may be approved for 100% restoration of VA education benefits. Those transferring more than 12 hours to the new school will not be approved for this restoration. Restrictions and exceptions may apply.

Read more: When Your School Closes: The Veterans Eligible to Transfer School (VETS) Credit Act



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