Overview of Military Education Benefits

One Hundred Dollar Bill

Military service offers a tremendous array of education benefits that can be used while you are on active duty or after you leave the service. A good education is essential to your career both in uniform and out, so take advantage of the education benefits you've earned.

While in service, members have access to up to $4,500 a year in Tuition Assistance. TA is paid to the school on a per class basis. Service members can also use GI Bill benefits, although it is seldom a good idea to do so while on active duty.

Some of the most notable armed services educational benefits are the GI Bills, which include several Department of Veterans Affairs education programs including the Post-9/11 GI Bill, the Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty, the Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve, the Fry Scholarship, Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance (DEA), and the Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) program.

You may be eligible for more than one educational benefit. Knowing when each is best for your situation can save you money and ensure you get the most out of your benefits. Click here to learn more about choosing between GI Bill benefit programs.

Finally, remember that each service has its own tuition assistance programs, college funds and other means that may be able to help you in ways beyond those of the "standard" benefits listed here. Talk with an education service officer, Navy College counselor or military recruiter to find out more.

Summary of Education Benefits

The following table is a brief summary of each of the major education benefits offered to service members, veterans and, in some cases, their families. Follow the associated links to learn more about each program.


What is it?

Who is Eligible?


Tuition Assistance

Tuition Assistance is a military benefit that pays the cost of tuition and some fees.

Virtually all military service members are eligible. However, criteria for eligibility is determined by each branch.

Tuition Assistance covers up to 100% tuition and fees not to exceed:

  • $250 per semester credit hour
  • $166 per quarter credit hour

$4,500 max per fiscal year

Post-9/11 GI Bill

The Post-9/11 GI Bill provides up to 36 months (4 regular school years) of education benefits to eligible service members and veterans for:

  • College
  • Business, technical or vocational courses
  • Correspondence courses
  • Apprenticeship/job training
  • Flight training
  • Licensing and testing programs

Service members (active duty, Guard and reserve) and veterans who have served at least 90 days on active duty since Sept. 10, 2001

Survivors of military members who died on active duty after Sept. 10, 2001, may be eligible for the Fry Scholarship program, which pays the same as the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

Paid tuition and fees, housing stipend and book stipend

Benefits are tiered based on number of days on active duty.

Some limitations apply to those currently on active duty.

Benefits can be transferred to spouse or family member.

Montgomery GI Bill 

(Active Duty and Veteran)

MGIB provides up to 36 months (4 regular school years) of education benefits to eligible veterans for:

  • College
  • Business, technical or vocational courses
  • Correspondence courses
  • Apprenticeship/job training
  • Flight training

Active-duty members who have served at least two years on active duty.

Veterans: There are four categories of veteran eligibility depending on when you joined the military and how long you served on active duty.


Up to $2,358 per month for full-time institutional education.

Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve

Same as MGIB-AD at reduced rates.

  • Six-year obligation to serve in the Selected Reserve.
  • Officers must agree to serve six years in addition to their original obligation.
  • High school diploma/GED
  • Maintain Selected Reserve status

Up to $466 per month for full-time institutional education.

Loan Repayment (LRP)

Your service may partially or fully repay college loans.

Generally for enlisted members only. Several factors determine your eligibility, including your branch, your MOS, and terms of your contract.

Your loans must be in good standing, i.e. not in default.

About repayment programs:

There are also specialized loan repayment programs for health professional officers.

Tuition Assistance 'Top-Up' Program

An additional benefit intended to supplement tuition assistance from the military with GI Bill benefits.

To be eligible for the Top-Up benefit, the person must be approved for federal Tuition Assistance by a military department and be eligible for GI Bill benefits.

Tuition Assistance will pay up to $250 for a course, and the Top-Up program will pay the remainder of the cost.

Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance Program (DEA)

Education and training opportunities for eligible dependents of certain veterans. May be used for degree and certificate programs, apprenticeships and on-the-job training.

You must be the child or spouse of a service member who died, is missing, or was permanently disabled while on duty or as a result of a service-related condition.

Up to $1,488 per month for full-time institutional education.

Work-Study Program

If you're a full-time or 3/4-time student in a college degree program, or a vocational or professional program, you can "earn while you learn" with a VA work-study allowance.

The VA work-study allowance is available to persons training under one of the VA benefit programs:

  • GI Bill
  • Veteran Readiness and Employment
  • DEA
  • Dependents may also be eligible

You'll earn an hourly wage equal to the federal minimum wage or your state minimum wage, whichever is greater.

Tutorial Assistance Program

Tutorial assistance for subjects you are having difficulty with.

If you have questions on this program, please contact VA at 888-442-4551.

If you are receiving VA benefits at a half-time or more rate, you are eligible.

VA may provide you with a tutor or with information for finding one.

Keep Up With Your Education Benefits 

Whether you need a guide on how to use your GI Bill, want to take advantage of tuition assistance and scholarships, or get the lowdown on education benefits available for your family, Military.com can help. Subscribe to Military.com to have education tips and benefits updates delivered directly to your inbox.

Story Continues