Montgomery GI Bill: Benefits and Eligibility Criteria
The Montgomery GI Bill (sometimes referred to as Chapter 30) is an updated version of the original GI Bill drafted by Mississippi Congressman Gillespie Montgomery in 1984.1 Designed to further extend education benefits to veterans, reservists, and active-duty service members, the Montgomery GI Bill is a voluntary program that provides up to 36 months of tuition reimbursement for those who opt-in during active service. There are two versions of the bill: one for service members who served on active duty (MGIB-AD), and one for Selected Reserve members (MGIB-SR).
Montgomery GI Bill Benefits
Both versions of the Montgomery GI Bill provide up to 36 months of education benefits, which are paid directly to eligible service members. The monthly benefit you can claim is based primarily on the type of education/training in which you are enrolled, though other eligibility factors may also apply. In order to qualify for benefits, service members must make a monthly $100 contribution during their first 12 months (or an equivalent lump-sum contribution in certain cases).
Benefits can be claimed for the following types of educational programs:
- College degree and certificate programs
- Technical or vocational courses
- Flight training
- Apprenticeships or on-the-job training
- High-tech training
- Licensing and certification tests
- Entrepreneurship training
- Flight training
- Entrance examinations (select admissions and assessment exams)
- Correspondence courses
Typically benefits from the Montgomery GI Bill are available for up to 10 years following release from active duty (MGIB-AD) or during one's service in a Selected Reserve branch (MGIB-SR).
The $600 Buy-Up Program offers those enrolled in the Montgomery GI Bill benefits program the option to make an additional contribution (up to $600) during active duty. Based on the level of this contribution, service members can receive increased monthly benefits (up to an additional $5,400) following release from service.
Who is Eligible for Benefits?
In order to receive benefits from the Montgomery GI Bill, you must have enrolled in the program during your active service period. (For most, this will also include having had military pay reduced by $100 per month for the first 12 months of service or paying a single $1,200 sum during active duty.) Eligibility requirements are different for active-duty service members and members of the Selected Reserve.
Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty (MGIB-AD)?
Active-duty service members must meet requirements in one of four eligibility categories. In addition to the specific requirements in these categories, the following criteria must also be met:
- Served at least 2 years of active duty
- Have a high-school diploma or GED
- Received an honorable discharge2
Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR)
Members of the Selected Reserve include the Army Reserve, Navy Reserve, Air Force Reserve, Marine Corps Reserve and Coast Guard Reserve, and the Army National Guard and the Air National Guard.
- Six-year commitment to serve in the Selected Reserve (signed after June 30, 1985)
- Completed initial active duty for training (IADT)
- Have a high-school diploma or GED (must be prior to completing IADT)
- Currently serving in good standing with the Selected Reserve3
When/How Can I Claim Benefits?
Benefits from the Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty are typically available for 10 years following honorable discharge from active duty. Once enrolled in an approved program, benefits will be paid directly to you as reimbursement for tuition and other educational expenses. The monthly amount distributed is determined by the education/training program chosen, length of active service, your eligibility category, and additional contribution to the Buy-Up Program (if applicable).
For Selected Reserve members, benefits are payable during the time you are enlisted in a reserve branch. If you are mobilized or recalled to active duty, your eligibility period is extended for the entire mobilization period plus an additional four months.
At AIU, we are committed to veterans, active-duty service members, and their families. Learn more about the ways we work to serve military students.
1U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, "History and Timeline," on the internet at http://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/history.asp (visited January 24, 2016).
2U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, "Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty," on the internet at http://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/mgib_ad.asp (visited January 24, 2016).
3U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve," on the internet at http://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/mgib_sr.asp (visited January 24, 2016).