Tuition Assistance 'Top-Up' Program

Soldier with handful of cash

Top-Up is a program that allows GI Bill participants to use their GI Bill to supplement the tuition and fees not covered by tuition assistance. The amount of the benefit can be equal to the difference between the total cost of a college course and the amount of Tuition Assistance that is paid by the military for the course. 

Top-up is not available for anyone using the Montgomery GI Bill-Selected Reserve program.

Top-Up Eligibility

To be eligible for the Top-Up benefit, you must be approved for federal Tuition Assistance by your command and be eligible for GI Bill benefits.

Related: Military Tuition Assistance

The amount of the benefit is limited to the amount that you would receive for the same course if regular GI Bill benefits were being paid. In no case can the amount paid by the military combined with the amount paid by VA be more than the total cost of the course.

If you receive the Top-Up benefit, your regular GI Bill benefits will be reduced. The amount of GI Bill entitlement charged for Top-Up payments as follows:

  • If you are using the Post-9/11 GI Bill your entitlement is charged based on the training time you are enrolled in. If you are going to classes at the 1/2 time training level you will be charged 1/2 month of Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits for each month you are enrolled and receiving GI Bill benefits - (it does not matter how much money you are reimbursed)
  • If you are using the Montgomery GI Bill your entitlement is charged based on the dollar amount of benefits VA pays you. You will be charged one month of entitlement for each payment you receive that is equal to the full time monthly rate for the GI Bill.

To apply for Top-Up you must provide a copy of the Tuition Assistance Authorization form for the course that has been signed by an authorized military official and visit the VA.GOV website.

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Tuition Assistance Benefits