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Military and Veterans

Common Types of Military Education Benefits

Members of the Armed Forces and National Guard

The federal and state governments provide numerous financial aid programs to help members and veterans of the Armed Forces and their families attain a higher education.

The most common types of military education benefits are:

  • Tuition Assistance: Pays the cost of tuition and some fees and is available for nearly all members of the Armed Forces. It provides a maximum of $4,500 per fiscal year. Each branch of the service sets its own criteria and benefits.
  • Top-Up Tuition Assistance: Supplements other programs for members of the Armed Forces who have been approved for tuition assistance and who are eligible for Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) Active Duty benefits. The maximum is the amount for the same course if MGIB benefits were being used.
  • Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty and Veterans: Provides up to 36 months (four regular school years) of education benefits to eligible active duty personnel and veterans. Active duty personnel must have served at least two years on active duty. Veterans’ benefits based on when you enlisted and how long you served on active duty. Pays up to $1,368 per month for full-time attendance, with benefits ending 10 years from the date of your last discharge or release from active duty.
  • Post 9/11 GI Bill: Provides up to 36 months of education benefits to eligible active duty personnel and veterans who served at least 90 days on active duty since Sept. 10, 2001. Pays tuition and fees and provides housing and book stipends. Amounts based on number of days on active duty, and benefits can be transferred to your spouse or other family members.
  • Federal student aid: Provides grants and loans to help pay college costs for U.S. citizens and eligible non-citizens. Most are need-based, with amounts depending on your income and assets. Amounts may also vary depending on your year in college.
  • State student aid: Provides scholarships, grants and loans to help pay college costs. Generally limited to residents of the state. Eligibility criteria and amounts vary widely.
  • Scholarships: Provide free help if you meet the criteria. Criteria and amounts vary widely.