Montgomery GI Bill
Eligibility: VA educational benefits may be used while the servicemember is on active duty or after the service-member’s
separation from active duty with a fully honorable military discharge. Discharges “under honorable conditions”
and “general” discharges do not establish eligibility.
Eligibility generally expires 10 years after the service-member’s
discharge. However, there are exceptions for disability, re-entering active duty, and upgraded discharges
must have a high school diploma, equivalency certificate, or completed 12 hours toward a college degree before applying for
service-members had to meet the high school requirement before they completed their initial active duty obligation. Those
who did not may now meet the requirement and reapply for benefits. If eligible, they must use their benefits either within
10 years from the date of last discharge from active duty or by Nov. 2, 2010, whichever is later.
Additionally, every veteran must establish eligibility under one of four categories.
Category 1 – Service after June
For veterans who entered active duty for the first time after June 30, 1985, did not decline MGIB in writing, and had their military pay
reduced by $100 a month for 12 months. Service-members can apply after completing two continuous years
of service. Veterans must have completed three continuous years of active duty, or two continuous years of active duty if
they first signed up for less than three years or have an obligation to serve four years in the Selected Reserve (the 2x4
program) and enter the Selected Reserve within one year of discharge.
Service members or veterans who received a commission
as a result of graduation from a service academy or completion of an ROTC scholarship are not eligible under Category 1 unless
they received their commission:
1. After becoming eligible for MGIB benefits (including completing
the minimum service requirements for the initial period of active duty).
2. Or after Sept. 30, 1996, and received less than $3,400 during any one year under ROTC
members or veterans who declined MGIB because they received repayment from the military for education loans are also ineligible
under Category 1. If they did not decline MGIB and received loan repayments, the months served to repay the loans will be
deducted from their entitlement.
Early Separation from Military Service: Service members who did not complete the required period of military service may be eligible under Category 1 if
discharged for one of the following:
1. Convenience of the government—with 30 continuous months of service for
an obligation of three or more years, or 20 continuous months of service for an obligation of less than three years.
4. A medical
condition diagnosed prior to joining the military.
5. A condition that interfered with performance of duty
and did not result from misconduct.
6. A reduction in force (in most cases).
Category 2 – Vietnam Era GI Bill Conversion
For veterans who had remaining
entitlement under the Vietnam Era GI Bill on Dec. 31, 1989, and served on active duty for any number of days during the period
Oct. 19, 1984, to June 30, 1985, for at least three continuous years beginning on July 1, 1985; or at least two continuous
years of active duty beginning on July 1, 1985, followed by four years in the Selected Reserve beginning within one year of
release from active duty.
Veterans not on active duty on Oct. 19, 1984, may be eligible under Category 2 if they served three continuous years on active duty beginning
on or after July 1, 1985, or two continuous
years of active duty at any time followed by four continuous years in the Selected Reserve beginning within one year of release
from active duty.
Veterans are barred from eligibility under Category 2 if they received a commission
after Dec. 31, 1976, as a result of graduation
from a service academy or completion of an ROTC scholarship.
However, such a commission is not a bar if they received
the commission after becoming eligible for MGIB benefits, or received the commission after Sept. 30, 1996, and received less than $3,400 during any one year under ROTC
3 – Involuntary Separation/Special Separation
For veterans who meet one of
the following requirements:
1. Elected MGIB before being involuntarily separated.
2. Or were
voluntarily separated under the Voluntary Separation Incentive or the Special Separation Benefit program, elected MGIB benefits
before being separated, and had military pay reduced by $1,200 before discharge.