No matter their size or scope, all educational institutions profit from enrolling Veteran students who receive GI Bill benefits. But many institutions leave it up to the students to determine what they can use their benefits for. The problem is that many students don’t actually know what they qualify unless you tell them!
Before you can explain it to others, you have to understand how different VA educational benefits work yourself. Let’s discuss a few ways VA benefits can increase your GI Bill enrollments.
The Different Types and Uses for GI Bill Benefits
Most Active Duty military members receive and use Tuition Assistance while in the service. But once they separate, they’re considered Veterans. This means they may have qualified for Post-9/11 or Montgomery GI Bill benefits.
Post-9/11 GI Bill
Veteran students who have separated or eligible dependents will commonly use the Post-9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33). These may be used to pay for a variety of things, including undergraduate and graduate degree courses. But the benefit can also be used to pay for a range of non-degree vocational or technical training, as well, even when not tied to a university program.
This may include apprenticeships, law school, cosmetology school, entrepreneurship training, or even flight training. The VA will also pay for approved licenses or certification test fees and for certain national exams like the SAT and LSAT.
Students receiving the maximum benefit have all of their public, in-state tuition and fees covered, but the VA does cap rates for private schools. They pay tuition and fees directly to the school, and disburse funds for books and housing to the students themselves.
An added bonus to this benefit is that it can be transferred from the military member to their spouse or children (known as “dependents”) if done within a certain window prior to separation.
Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty (MGIB-AD)
Before the Post-9/11 GI Bill, there was the Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty (MGIB-AD) (Chapter 30). This bill pays for the same things as the Post-9/11 GI BIll. Once activated, however, it must be used within 10 years (versus 15 years for the Post-9/11 version). Also, it doesn’t offer a housing allowance and can’t be transferred to dependents.
To get a more detailed view of the differences between the two GI Bills, the VA offers a useful Comparison Tool! It even helps users search for eligible schools.
Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR)
All Reserve or Guard members use the Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR), which has most of the same features as the Active Duty version. The main differences are around the eligibility requirements to use it.
Tuition Assistance Top-Up
Sometimes an Active Duty, Reserve, or Guard students will use their Tuition Assistance. Often, the cost of the tuition exceeds the maximum cap paid. In these cases, the student can avoid out of pocket expenses by dipping into their applicable GI Bill in order to pay the difference. This program is known as TOP-UP!
The student’s base of assignment should have an educational office to help them complete the VA Form 22-1990 needed to request this payment.
By taking the lead to educate students about their own benefits, schools and training centers stand to maximize enrollments and greatly boost revenue. Also keep in mind that many people joined the military specifically to receive educational benefits, which are a major incentive used by recruiters. That’s why organizations which support Veteran students should understand how to explain and convey the value of GI Bill benefits and help encourage students to sign up for classes!