The U.S. government and many private organizations provide financial aid for active-duty military. Following the Post-9/11 GI Bill® and the drawdown of overseas military personnel, many service members and veterans are using their military benefits to seek higher education in the United States. Many Christian colleges and other higher education institutions have developed military-friendly policies that include tuition discounts, trained financial aid counselors, and distance education programs specifically for active-duty personnel. These colleges may also offer scholarships for military dependents.
Military members should review general financial aid available to military personnel and veterans as well as information specific to attending Christian colleges
Active-duty personnel, veterans, reservists, and National Guard members can take advantage of several federal financial aid benefits. In addition to scholarships for active-duty military, many funders also provide scholarships for military dependents and scholarships for military veterans. Some federal programs allow military members to transfer unused funds to dependents. Others help pay the educational costs of spouses and children of service members who died or became disabled in the line of duty. Some private scholarships for veteran dependents help fund veterans' grandchildren or great-grandchildren. Military members should review general financial aid available to military personnel and veterans as well as information specific to attending Christian colleges.
Financial Aid Programs for Military and Veterans
The Montgomery GI Bill®
|Active-duty members or reservists in the armed forces can take advantage of the Montgomery GI Bill to help fund higher education costs. Active-duty soldiers must pay $100 per month for 12 months to be eligible, and reservists must have a six-year obligation and be actively drilling to qualify.|
|What's Covered||Both reservists and active-duty members can receive up to 36 months of benefits for college, technical school, flight training, on-the-job training, and other educational opportunities. Recipients typically must use their benefits within 10 years.|
|Who's Covered||Active-duty members must hold an honorable discharge, have a high school diploma or GED, and meet other eligibility requirements. Reservists must meet similar qualifications but also complete IADT and remain in good standing.|
|How to Apply||Get the DD Form 2384-1, Notice of Basic Eligibility, confirm your educational program is eligible, complete the VA Form 22-1990, and send it to the VA regional office. Forms are available on the VA website.|
Post-9/11 GI Bill®
|The U.S. government created the Post-9/11 GI Bill to support men and women service members at least 90 days after September 10, 2001, those on active duty, and those who were honorably discharged after 30 days with a service-connected disability. The program funds academic degrees and on-the-job training for up to 36 months.|
|What's Covered||The program covers eligible expenses related to correspondence training, entrepreneurship training, independent and distance learning, graduate and undergraduate degrees, vocational training, and national testing reimbursements.|
|Who's Covered||Soldiers released from active duty before January 1, 2013 must use the benefits within 15 years. Those released after this date have no time limitation. Unused portions of funds may serve as scholarships for military dependents.|
|How to Apply||Applicants can visit their closest VA regional office, apply online at www.benefits.va.gov, or call VA 1-888-GI BILL-1.|
Yellow Ribbon Program
|Created to promote veterans' welfare, the Yellow Ribbon Program allows degree-granting higher education institutions to make additional funds available without drawing on the GI Bill entitlement. Students hoping to use these funds at a Christian college must choose a school that participates in the program.|
|What's Covered||The program may partially or fully fund tuition and other expenses that surpass the Post-9/11 GI Bill threshold. Participating schools determine the amount.|
|Who Qualifies||This program is offered to veterans who fully qualify for the Post-9/11 GI BIll. Active-duty service members are not eligible, and recipients are not guaranteed automatic continuance in the program.|
|How to Apply||Interested applicants should visit the VA website.|
National Call to Service
|Those who perform a period of national service may receive educational assistance under the National Call to Service Incentive program, which is a Department of Defense initiative managed by the VA. Recipients do not qualify for additional assistance under chapter 1606 or chapter 30 benefits unless they meet additional eligibility requirements.|
|What's Covered||Recipients may receive a $5,000 cash bonus, repayment of student loans of $18,000 or less, an entitlement to allowance of $1,564 for 12 months, or an entitlement to allowance of $635 for 36 months.|
|Who Qualifies||Applicants need to have served on active duty in a military occupational specialty for 15 months followed by an additional period of active service or of 24 months of reserve duty. They must also serve the rest of their obligated time.|
|How to Apply||Qualifying personnel may apply online at Vets.Gov.|
Reserve Educational Assistance Program
|Until November 25, 2015, REAP helped support the education of reservists called to active duty by Congress or the president. The U.S. government discontinued the program under the National Defense Authorization Act of 2016. Some reservists already receiving REAP can continue to access funds until November 2019.|
|What's Covered||The program helped support the education of reservists called to action. Today, those reservists quality for aid under the Post-9/11 GI Bill.|
|Who Qualifies||REAP benefits are limited to veterans already receiving benefits and attending a school or other institution on November 24, 2015.|
|How to Apply||The VA is not accepting new applicants. Current REAP recipients should call the VA at 1-888-GIBILL-1 to discuss transferring to the Post-9/11 GI BIll.|
Survivors’ and Dependents’ Education Assistance
|To help survivors and dependents of veterans who die in the line of duty or who become completely and permanently disabled, the U.S. government created the DEA program. Upon applying for DEA benefits, applicants must make an irrevocable choice between FRY and DEA. They cannot receive both.|
|What's Covered||DEA beneficiaries may receive 45 months of education assistance or up to 81 months if used in conjunction with other programs. Funds can help pay for apprenticeships, certificates, on-the-job training, and degree programs, including those offered at online Christian colleges.|
|Who Qualifies||Spouses, sons, and daughters of veterans who die, are captured by hostile forces, or become completely and permanently disabled as a result of service qualify. Children aged 18-26 can still qualify, and marriage is no barrier to eligibility.|
|How to Apply||Applicants can complete VA Form 22-5490 online and send it to the regional processing center. Applicants already enrolled in an educational program need their school to complete VA Form 22-1999 and Enrollment Certification, and send both forms to the VA.|
Financial Aid Programs by Branch Eligibility
How to Find Scholarships
Determine how much federal aid you are eligible to receive: Federal aid comes from a variety of sources and can include loans, grants, and work study. Ask a financial aid counselor how much money you can receive.
Find military-friendly Christian colleges: A military-friendly Christian college offers a tuition discount for active-duty personnel or veterans, and provides trained financial aid counselors who can help find scholarships for military veterans.
Seek privately funded military scholarships: Private dollars can help cover tuition costs and additional expenses, and many private scholarships for active-duty military, veterans, and families can significantly offset educational costs.
Apply to many scholarships: Applicants rarely win all the money they apply for, so it is wise to seek funding from as many sources as possible.
Scholarships for Military and Veterans
Legacy Scholarship Program $2,500
Google Student Veterans of America Scholarship $10,000
Ahmanson Veterans Scholarship $3,000
AFCEA War Veterans Scholarships, Afghanistan and Iraq War Veterans $2,500
The AMVETS Scholarships $4,000
NABVETS Scholarship Varies
FRA Education Foundation Scholarships $5,000
Paralyzed Veterans of America Scholarships $1,000
Tillman Scholars $10,000
Troops to Teachers Program $10,000
The Army Scholarship Foundation $500-$2,000
The Raytheon Patriot Scholarship $10,000
Student Veterans of America and NBC Universal Scholarship $12,000
Sport Clips Help A Hero Scholarship $5,000
Military Order of the Purple Heart Scholarship Program $2,500
Resources for Active Military and Veterans
- National Military Family Association For almost 50 years, the NMFA has provided resources to military families and been a voice for families to appropriate federal agencies.
- Military OneSource This organization offers resources to help military families solve problems and improve their lives. Enlisted personnel and their families can access expert support 24/7.
- Student Veterans of America This nonprofit helps veterans achieve higher education and thrive post-graduation.
- VA.Gov Using vets.gov, military veterans can explore and apply for benefits, manage their benefits, request records, and find VA locations. They can also apply for education benefits or request help in a crisis.
- VA ebenefits Designed to help veterans determine their benefit eligibility, this site covers compensation, education, healthcare, housing, insurance, and pension. It also includes resources for family members.
- U.S Department of Veterans Affairs The VA offers a webpage dedicated to information on education and training, including choosing a school, applying for benefits, and comparing the various GI Bills.
* GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government website at http://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.