Active Duty Montgomery GI Bill
How the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) can help you pay for a college education.
March 10, 2014
Serving in active duty in the Armed Forces can not only provide you with valuable training and leadership skills, you can receive money for college or training courses in exchange for your service.
The Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) for active-duty service members offers significant benefits to help pay for your education costs. How much college money you can receive for tuition and other costs depends on your years of active duty and the type of training of degree program you pursue.
How much you receive depends on your branch of service, the type and cost of education you’re pursuing, whether you’re taking courses full-time or part-time, and your level of eligibility.
If you’re considering enlisting in the Armed Forces or are already serving in active duty, find out if you’re eligible for MGIB college funding. This college aid can help you pay for a college degree or the specific training you’re interested in.
What Is the Active Duty Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB)?
This assistance program, also known as the Veteran’s GI Bill of Rights, provides up to 36 academic months (or 8 semesters) of college education benefits. You can enroll in degree programs and courses at a college or university or through distance learning programs at online schools. The MGIB also covers apprenticeships and other job training as well as flight training.
Who Is Eligible for the Active Duty GI Bill?
You can qualify for this GI Bill by contributing $100 a month of your pay the first 12 months of active duty. Veterans can also qualify under the Veterans Education Assistance Program. You must have served for at least two years on active duty and have a high school diploma or the equivalency before you apply.
How Much College Aid Can You Receive through the Active Duty MGIB?
How much you receive depends on your branch of service, the type and cost of education you’re pursuing, whether you’re taking courses full-time or part-time, and your level of eligibility. You’re paid monthly for up to the 36-month limit, and your rate of payment increases each October 1. The total education benefit can be over $47,556.
When you’re serving in active duty, you are reimbursed only for tuition and approved expenses. When you leave active duty, you receive the full payment rate, currently $1,368, regardless of the cost of your tuition.
How Do You Apply for the Active Duty MGIB?
- Do a Campus Explorer college search to find programs you’re interested in.
- Contact the admissions office to find out if the school has VA-approved education programs and meets the MGIB requirements.
- Complete the Application for Education Benefits (VA Form 22-1990). You can get this application in your school’s registrar’s office.
- Send in your application to the VA Regional Processing office. Your school can also send in your application and other paperwork to the closest VA office for you.
- Within two months, you will receive a letter that explains the benefits you’re eligible for, or a letter requesting more information to process your application.
- When you receive your first benefit check, complete the Web Automated Verification of Eligibility (WAVE) to continue receiving them.
Active Duty Tips & Tactics
- The Department of Defense will sometimes put additional money in MGIB funds. This money for college, called a “kicker,” is usually part of an enlistment contract or used to retain service members. Only members of the Army, Navy and Marine Corps can receive this college funding. The different branches of the Armed Forces determine who receives this college money, which can increase an MGIB payment by up to $950 per month. You apply for these kickers in your application for military education benefits.
- Want more information on the Active Duty MGIB? Talk to your recruiter, education service officer or call 888-GI-Bill-1.
- Make time for school: You have only 10 years from when you leave active duty to receive this college money to pursue your education. But don’t panic; unused benefits can be transferred to one of more of your dependents.