To assist returning World War II veterans, the GI Bill of Rights was signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on June 22, 1944. It originally ended in July of 1956 but lives on today as the Montgomery GI Bill with several amended chapters, including the recent Post 9/11 GI Bill.
Today the GI Bill provides education assistance for traditional, vocational, or online college, vocational rehabilitation services, health care, and special home and business loans to war veterans, reservists, peacetime service personnel, and in some cases educational opportunities to eligible spouses and children of veterans.
Since the GI Bill can be used for both in-residence and online college programs, this allows a veteran to return to school no matter where they are in the world or what their schedule.
On average online college programs for military personnel and their spouses cost less per semester credit than traditional ones. Depending on a veteran’s specific benefits, this could allow for greater coverage and make a degree program very affordable, if not 100% free.
We work with veterans from all over the world to help them access their GI bill benefits. Here is a high level overview of the process of pursuing online college for the military using your GI Bill benefits:
1. Learn what your eligibility will be and what that eligibility will cover using the GI Bill rates page. Select your correct designation (such as active, reserve, year, etc). Your benefits will differ depending on this designation.
2. Fill out the VONAPP (Veterans On-line Application) to register to apply for your benefits.
3. Find a VA-approved school by asking the admissions counselor of the school you are interested in if the school meets the requirements, or use the VA school finder. The school you choose must be regionally or nationally accredited.
4. Complete the Application for Education Benefits (VA Form 22-1990).
5. As you apply to your school of choice, you should contact the Veteran Benefits
Certifying Official at the college. Your Academic Advisor or Admission Counselor
will be able to direct you.
6. Once you begin receiving your benefit checks, you must complete the VA’s WAVE (web-automated verification of eligibility) monthly to continue receiving the monthly payments.
Here are some other fast facts for using the GI Bill to pay for your traditional or online college program:
- You can begin using your GI Bill benefit after 2 years of service, but must use it within 10 years of your last discharge (or you lose it).
- To be eligible, you must contribute $100 a month for the first 12 months of service (or qualify under VEAP conversion), and if unused this portion will be reimbursed to you.
- Your payment rate is determined by student status (full or part time) and duty status.
- To reach VA representatives about your GI bill account, call them at 1-888-GIBILL-1.