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As a member of the military, you have a number of resources available to you to help pay for your education. Federal Tuition Assistance, as well as the Top-Up benefit, are two such resources you may want to know more about.
To obtain federal military Tuition Assistance, you need to visit your installation’s education office in order to receive college counseling and develop an education plan. From that point, you can submit a military Tuition Assistance request.
You can currently receive 100% federal Tuition Assistance from military service, with a $250 cap per semester hour and a $4,500 annual limit.
If you want to apply the military Tuition Assistance, you’ll need to submit a completed authorization form to your Military University Representative at least two weeks before your class start date.
If you’re eligible for the Montgomery GI Bill® (MGIB) and plan to use Tuition Assistance, you can use the MGIB Top-Up Benefit to cover the remaining costs of your college.
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 use Top-up, you must be approved for federal Tuition Assistance by a military department and be eligible for Montgomery GI Bill–Active Duty benefits. To be eligible for MGIB benefits, you must be an MGIB–Active Duty participant and have served at least two full years on Active Duty.
The amount of the benefit is limited to the amount you would receive for the same course if regular Montgomery 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 MGIB benefits will be reduced. The amount of entitlement charged for Top-up payments is determined by dividing the amount of the payment by your full-time monthly rate.
The benefit is available for all courses that began on or after October 30th, 2000. A copy of the Tuition Assistance Authorization form for the course that has been signed by an authorized military official will be required. People who have not requested MGIB benefits before should submit a VA Form 22-1990 to establish eligibility.
The application and other evidence should be sent to one of the VA's four education processing offices in Atlanta, Buffalo, Muskogee, Okla., or St. Louis. Addresses of the processing offices and the application form are available on the GI Bill Benefits website. Claims should specify that Tuition Assistance Top-up is being claimed.
Select your specific branch of service for more information on the Tuition Assistance program:
For the National Guard and Reserve:
Tuition Assistance is currently suspended for all branches other than Navy. Please check with your education office for updates and eligibility.
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 benefits.va.gov/gibill.