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Tuition Assistance Programs for Veterans

Veterans pursuing their educational goals are usually eligible for military tuition assistance. Educational benefits for veterans and their dependents, including the children of deceased and disabled veterans, may also be available. Military tuition assistance is a benefit paid to eligible members of the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard. This particular benefit often pays up to 100% of the tuition expense.

Each branch of service has its own criteria for eligibility, minimum obligation of service, application process, and restrictions. This type of military tuition assistance is usually paid directly to the institution of higher learning.

Additionally, active duty members may elect to use the "top-up" tuition assistance program in addition to the tuition assistance program already being used. The top-up benefit is a program that allows GI Bill participants to use the GI Bill to supplement the tuition and fees not covered by the tuition assistance program. 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. To be eligible for the top-up benefit, you must be approved for federal tuition assistance by a military department and be eligible for GI Bill benefits.

You may be wondering how much of your entitlement will be charged for top-up payments. That depends on which GI Bill you are using. If you are receiving the Montgomery GI Bill, you will receive the difference between what the DoD pays for the course and the total cost of the course (not to exceed the GI Bill monthly maximum). If you are receiving the Post-9/11 GI Bill your school will be reimbursed the difference between the amount the Department of Defense pays for the course and the authorized maximum tuition and fees for the school.

Unfortunately, the top-up benefit is not available persons who are eligible for the Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve program.