Home » College Benefits for Active Duty Military

College Benefits for Active Duty Military

If you are an active duty member of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, National Guard or Reserves, you are entitled to a number of education benefits that can assist you with paying for your college tuition and expenses.

The most popular and frequently utilized education benefit program is called Tuition Assistance, a federal military benefit that can cover up to 100 percent of your tuition and fees. Keep in mind, however, that TA only covers $250 per semester-based credit hour, so if you choose a more expensive college, your tuition will not be fully covered.



Military Soldier Salutes American Flag

 

In addition to TA, you may also be eligible for assistance through federal college loans and grants, the Montgomery GI Bill, and one or more of several hundred service-specific private scholarships.

In order to maximize the benefits you are entitled to as an active duty service member, it is important to make well-informed and well-timed choices about paying for college.

This at-a-glance guide explains your benefits, eligibility requirements and maximum benefit allowance. For more detailed information about all your benefits, meet with your Education Service Officer.

Tuition Assistance

What is Tuition Assistance?
TA is a military benefit that will pay up to 100 percent for tuition and some fees.

Who is eligible?
Each branch determines its own eligibility criteria.

How much does it cover?
TA may fund up to 100% of tuition and fees, but cannot cover more than $250/semester-based credit hour or $4500 per fiscal year. The Navy has a 16 credit hour limit per year.

Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty & Veteran

What is it?
The GI Bill is a vast and varied federal program that provides up to four years worth of education benefits to cover college, technical or vocational courses, correspondence courses, job training or flight training.

Who is eligible?
The GI Bill is typically thought of as a veteran benefits program, but it also provides assistance to active duty members who have served at last two years in active duty.

How much does it cover?
The GI Bill covers up to $1075 per month for an active duty service member enrolled in a full-time degree program.

Tuition Assistance “Top-Up”

What is it?
Top-up is a Montgomery GI Bill program for active duty service members designed to help make up the difference between TA and total tuition costs.

Who is eligible?
Any active duty service member who is approved for federal Tuition Assistance and who is eligible to receive GI Bill active duty benefits.

How much does it cover?
Top-up can cover the balance between your TA benefit and your actual tuition costs. In real terms, the benefit is equal to the amount the soldier would receive if regular GI benefits were being paid – i.e., up to $1075/month (see GI Bill above).

Federal Student Aid

What is it?
Federal Student Aid (FSA) incorporates low interest student loans and grants underwritten by the federal government. Student loans include Stafford and Perkins Loans; Grants include the Pell Grant.

Who is eligible?
All US citizens with a high school degree (or GED), enrolled at least part-time in a degree program are eligible to receive FSA. Unlike the other forms of assistance discussed in this guide, federal student aid is open to anyone, not just members of the Armed Forces. Aid is determined by income level, so applicants must be able to complete an application showing income and expenses, with documentation such as old W2s, bank statements, etc.

How much does it cover?
Awards vary based on need, but can be used to cover up to 100 percent of tuition, fees, and expenses.

Scholarships

What is it?
Scholarships are cash gifts from private sources designed to cover tuition, fees or expenses. There are over $3 million in college scholarship monies available specifically for service members, veterans and their family. In addition, active duty members are entitled to apply and compete for scholarships that are not service-based.

Who is eligible?
Each scholarship has its own eligibility requirements.

How much does it cover?
Awards vary based on the specific scholarship, but can range from a $50 book voucher to a full ride covering tuition, room, board and books.

National Guard Financial Aid >>>