Guide to Education Benefits for the National Guard
If you are a member of the National Guard, you may be entitled to education benefits from military programs designed to support you in earning your degree.
These programs include Federal Tuition Assistance, State Tuition Assistance and the Montgomery GI Bill Top-Up program.
This guide will help you to better understand and make the most of your benefits. Keep in mind that each service has its own programs, with its own eligibility requirements and funding availability. For more information and to learn if you qualify, contact your education service officer.
Tuition Assistance: Federal & State
The Army and Air National Guard Federal Tuition Assistance (FTA) programs can provide up to 100 percent of college tuition and fees for National Guard soldiers enrolled as part-time students in a bachelors or masters degree program.
Eligible soldiers and officers may receive up to $250 per semester-based credit hour, for a total of $4500 annually.
Soldiers may combine their FTA benefits with those from the Montgomery GI Bill.
Keep in mind that Federal Tuition Assistance funds are limited and not guaranteed. Be sure to apply early, as awards are made on a first-come, first-serve basis.
In addition to Federal Tuition Assistance, all fifty states, with the exception of California, currently offer some form of tuition assistance, ranging from $500 per semester in Alabama to a one-time $20,000 loan repayment in South Carolina, to 100% coverage of tuition and fees in West Virginia. Like with Federal Tuition Assistance, state-backed funding is limited and not guaranteed, so apply early.
The Montgomery GI Bill
The Top-Up Program of the Montgomery GI Bill assists active duty National Guardsmen by funding the portion of their tuition and fees not covered by Tuition Assistance. For example, if the cost of your tuition is $6,000 per semester, you will receive $4,400 from Federal Tuition Assistance. The Top-Up Program may be used to cover the remaining $1,600.
To find out if you are eligible for the Top-Up Program, contact your education service officer.