Overview

The Department of Military and Veterans' Services assists veterans and their eligible dependents through benefits advising, tracking educational progress and status, and assisting with paperwork to make the most of various GI Bill® benefits.

Instructions on how you apply for your VA benefits differ depending on whether you are a new student, transfer student or current student. Also, VA benefits have different payment types and schedules and cover different parts of your education — like tuition, work study or tutoring.

The Post-9/11 GI Bill® is a benefit for individuals with at least 90 days of aggregate service on or after September 11, 2001, or individuals discharged with a service-connected disability after 30 days. You must have received an honorable discharge to be eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

The Montgomery GI Bill is a benefit for individuals who contributed $1200 to the basic program while on Active Duty. All individuals who were separated or retired with an honorable discharge or were separated under the Voluntary Separation Incentive (VSI) or Special Separation Benefit (SSB) are eligible.

Using Top-Up benefits may be an option if you plan to use tuition assistance (TA) to complete a degree program while on active duty, and don't plan to continue your education after service. Top-up can also be helpful for just taking a few courses with TA while on active duty; then you can save most of your GI Bill® benefits for after service to complete your education program.

Type of Assistance

You need to consider carefully your own situations and contact your School Certifying Official (SCO) to discuss applying for Top-up. For example, if you plan to take expensive courses using Top-up, you need to consider whether you'll take additional training after you're discharged from active duty. If so, you need to understand the effect of using the Top-up. You can then calculate whether your remaining benefits will cover the additional training you might need. Get the Top-Up fact sheet (PDF).

The Top-up program is only available for recipients of the Montgomery GI Bill - Active Duty or Post-9/11 GI Bill programs

Available Benefit and Eligibility

Top-up is limited to 36 months of payments. For example, if you are paid Top-up for a three-month course, you use three of the 36 months.

The amount of this 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 TA by a military department and be eligible for Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty or Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits.

The amount of the benefit is limited to the amount that the person would receive for the same course if regular 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 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 DoD pays for the course and the authorized maximum tuition and fees for the school.

Your GI Bill entitlement is charged differently depending on which GI Bill program you are using:

  • If you are utilizing the Montgomery GI Bill your entitlement is charged based on the dollar amount of benefits VA pays you. You will be charged one month of entitlement for each payment you receive that is equal to the full time monthly rate for the GI Bill. View the current payment rates.
  • If you are utilizing the Post-9/11 GI Bill your entitlement is charged based on the training time you are enrolled in. If you are going to classes at the half-time training level you will be charged for a half month of Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits for each month you are enrolled and receiving GI Bill benefits no matter how much money you are reimbursed.

Apply

  1. First, apply for GI Bill benefits.
  2. Contact your School Certifying Official (SCO) to discuss applying for Top-Up.

The MGIB-SR program may be available to you if you are a member of the Selected Reserve and have completed your Initial Active Duty Training (tech school). The Selected Reserve includes 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.

  • Eligibility is determined by your Reserve or National Guard component.
  • To expedite processing, please obtain a copy of your DD 2384, Notice of Basic Eligibility "NOBE” from your unit.
  • If you enlisted on or after October 1, 1992, your period of eligibility ends 14 years from your beginning date of eligibility, or on the day you leave the selected reserve.
  • If you are mobilized or called to active duty your eligibility may be extended.
  • U.S. Depart of Veterans Affairs -- Chapter 1606 Info
  • How to Apply for VA Benefits

The Secretaries of each military service, Department of Defense, and Department of Homeland Security (Coast Guard) will determine eligibility and establish the program to provide educational assistance to members of the Reserves of the Armed Forces who are called to duty for 90 days or more. Members may be eligible after serving 90 consecutive days on active duty after September 11, 2001.

VR&E's primary benefit program is vocational rehabilitation services for veterans who have a service-connected disability of 10% and higher. To receive services a veteran must be found both eligible and entitled. The desired outcome of these services is to lead disabled veterans to suitable employment that is consistent with their aptitudes and interests or achieving independence in their daily living.

Follow link for more information on the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) VetSuccess Program and see our Chapter 31 Information Sheet (PDF).

Contact VR&E

Thomas Clark, Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor

Federal Building (1st Floor)
101 12th Avenue Rm 114
Fairbanks, Alaska 99701
907-433-1066 or 907-433-1067 or 907-433-1068
thomas.clark1@va.gov

If you are already in the VR&E program, did you know that UAF also has assistance available to you? Contact Disability Services for classroom accomodations to facilitate your learning.

DEA provides education and training opportunities to eligible dependents of veterans who are permanently and totally disabled due to a service-related condition, who are anticipated to be released from a military hospital with 100% disability or who died while on active duty or as a result of a service related condition. The program offers up to 45 months of education benefits.

Spouse or dependent child of a veteran who:

There is a provision under Chapter 33 Post 9/11 GI Bill that enables eligible service members to transfer their eligibility to their dependents, but there are very strict requirements to do so.

  • You have completed at least 6 years of service on the date your request is approved and you agree to add 4 more years of service, or
  • You have completed at least 10 years of service on the date your request is approved, can’t commit to add 4 more years of service because of either a policy or statute, but agree to serve for the maximum amount of time allowed

To manage these transferred benefits, please see the DoD MilConnect site.

Eligible dependents include:

  • Spouse: Not eligible for BAH while member is on Active Duty unless spouse is also an entitled veteran.
  • Child: Eligible only after member has served at least 10 years. They will receive BAH and the Books stipend.

For more information about the process see Transfer of Benefits. Eligible transferees may access their benefits by creating an account and signing up with VA benefit application.

Dependents of service members who died in the line of duty are eligible for tuition waivers and scholarships.


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