VET TEC: The GI Bill Alternative for High Tech Training
VET TEC is a VA education benefit offered to service members who are just about to leave military service or who have already done so. It offers an alternative to the veteran GI Bill for those in search of job training in high-tech fields. The Department of Veterans Affairs has expanded its options under the VET TEC program; thanks to federal legislation, there is expanded access for those still serving, and there is improved and increased funding for this important program.
Expanded VA Options Under VET TEC
The VA official site posted an update on VET TEC announcing changes and improvements to the program. Those changes include expanded access for service members near their retirement or separation date. If you currently serve, you can apply if you are within 6 months or 180 calendar days from your separation date.
VET TEC has also increased its funding; this program has been offered on an “as-funded basis” meaning that when the money runs out for that year the program stops until it is funded anew. Current VET TEC funding has been expanded from $15 million per year to $45 million annually.
How VET TEC Works
VET TEC provides education benefits to those who want to use an alternative to the GI Bill for high-technology courses of study offered through approved providers. You can use VET TEC without affecting your GI Bill funds, which is helpful for those who don’t want to use them just yet. But VET TEC is also offered to those with as little as one day of GI Bill entitlement remaining.
You have to be eligible for the GI Bill to qualify for VET TEC, and you must apply for this benefit; it is not automatic (see below); those who qualify may be offered tuition for a full-time program.
If you qualify for this program, you may be eligible to receive a housing stipend paid while you attend training. The stipend for housing is calculated based on whether you take courses in person or online.
The housing stipend is paid based on the monthly Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) for an E-5 with dependents, with the payment amount based on the school’s zip code. The housing stipend is half the BAH national average for an E-5 with dependents when attending online classes.
What Kind of Training Is Available Through VET TEC?
VET TEC pays for high-demand training in technical fields or disciplines, which include but may not be limited to:
- Computer software
- Computer programming
- Data processing
- Information science
- Media applications
Qualifying for VET TEC
You may be approved for the VA VET TEC benefit if you meet ALL of the following, assuming you have not already retired or separated from active duty service.
- 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
The VA directs applicants to start the process online after logging into Login.gov or ID.me.
How to Apply for VET TEC
Complete VA Form 22-0994 Application for Veteran Employment Through Technology Education Courses (VET TEC).
Do not start the form online without logging in; if you are allowed to do so, you may not be able to save your forms. At application time, submit the following documentation; it is best to have these items ready before you begin your online form. The VA will require the following:
- Direct deposit information
- Highest level of education
- Previous high-tech industry experience, if applicable
- Information about the training provider or program you want to attend
The application takes about 10 minutes to complete assuming you have all supporting documentation available.
After submitting the form, look for a confirmation message and save it for your records. If you are applying for VET TEC but have not applied for other VA education benefits, you will need to fill out the Application for VA Education Benefits, VA Form 22-1990.
The VA can take up to 30 days to process these forms. Look for notification by U.S. mail for an acceptance letter. If you are not approved, you will also be notified by mail.
- Veteran Education Benefits Guide
- Montgomery GI Bill COLA Increases for FY 2023
- The Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB-AD)
- GI Bill Fact and Fiction
- Your Ultimate Guide to GI Bill Benefits
About the author
Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter/editor for Air Force Television News and the Pentagon Channel. His freelance work includes contract work for Motorola, VALoans.com, and Credit Karma. He is co-founder of Dim Art House in Springfield, Illinois, and spends his non-writing time as an abstract painter, independent publisher, and occasional filmmaker.