Deciding to apply for Education Assistance, whether you are a veteran or dependent requires certain steps in order to ensure your goal.

Determine your best Benefit

There are several factors that can help you determine which benefit is going to be beneficial to you as a veteran or dependent. For example, like where will you take classes? What type of program would you like to pursue? Do you want to use the Post 9/11 GI Bill or Chapter 30 Montgomery GI Bill? The answers to your question only you can decide. Don’t forget to check with State Agencies as well, each individual state may offer additional benefits on top your VA benefits.

Collect Your Paperwork and Information

As always there is paperwork needed to apply for any VA benefit. Be sure if you submit information via mail, you send it certified with return receipt. These are the most important pieces in the application for VA Education benefits but depending on your situation you may need to include more.

  • DD214 Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty for most recent period of active duty.
  • Transcripts for all periods of education after high school.
  • Kicker Contract (the Department of Defense may be able to provide this information if you cannot locate a copy of the contract.)

Choosing a School

*NOTE* If you’ve decided to pay for college using the Post-9/11 GI Bill, you’ll need to get some information about each school you might attend. Whatever school you choose be sure to get in touch with the School Certifying Official throughout your process as well. They are there to assist Veterans and Dependents as a liaison to the VA. There are more important questions to ask about choosing a school here.

Compare the Programs

The VA states each individual’s situation is different, this side by side chart may help you determine which of the programs provide the most benefit for your individual situation. You should now have enough information to decide whether you want to apply for the Post-9/11 GI Bill or another benefit program. Remember, if you give up another program to receive the Post-9/11 GI Bill, it is an irrevocable choice – this means that once you have selected the Post-9/11 GI Bill, you cannot switch back to the program you gave up. At this time, you also will have to determine which school you will apply to for enrollment.


When you have decided which education benefit is best for you, you’ll need to submit your application. You can either submit your application online or by mail, or, if you know what school you plan to attend, your school may be able to help you prepare and submit your application.

Apply online through VONAPP or send in a mail by following these steps:

  1. Fill out VA form 22-1990
  2. Mail it to your VA Regional Office (be sure to send it certified mail) or submit it to the region of your school’s physical address
  3. Send copies of documents: DD 214, DD 2384 if you are Selected Reserves applying for Montgomery GI BIll, copies of orders if activated from the guard/reserves, supporting documents, and/or College Fund kicker contact.

Any problems with the application you can call 1-(888)-GiBill1 to speak with a education specialist.

Are you a dependent wondering if you are entitled to education benefits? You must be the son, daughter, or spouse of:

  • A veteran who died or is permanently and totally disabled as the result of a service-connected disability. The disability must arise out of active service in the Armed Forces
  • A veteran who died from any cause while such permanent and total service-connected disability was in existence.
  • A service member missing in action or captured in line of duty by a hostile force.
  • A service member forcibly detained or interned in line of duty by a foreign government or power.
  • A service member who is hospitalized or receiving outpatient treatment for a service connected permanent and total disability and is likely to be discharged for that disability. This change is effective December 23, 2006.

If you have determined you are eligible for education benefits under the criteria above for the Dependents’ Education Assistance program, please visit the Veterans Administration site for more specific Education information.

Click here for the Dependent’s Application for VA Education Benefits form.

Are you a transitioning or a retired veteran? Have you just returned from OIF or OEF and have questions about your schooling benefits? Veterans may be able to use the GI Bill for On-The-Job Training (OJT), non-college degree training and much more!

On-the-job training (OJT) is training you receive while performing a job and earning wages. (6 mo to 2 yrs) Examples of this type of training are:

  • Union Plumber
  • Hotel Management
  • Firefighter

On-the-Job & Apprenticeship Training

This program assists veterans and their dependents by allowing them to learn a trade or skill through participation in apprenticeship or on-the-job training rather than by attending classes.

One generally enters into a training contract for a specific period of time with an employer or union and at the end of the training period has gained job certification or journeyman status. In most instances one receives a salary from their employer or union while participating in training. As one progresses through training, their skill level increases and so does their salary. GI Bill payments are issued monthly after VA receives certification of hours worked from the employer.

Non-College Degree Programs (NCD)

Non-college degree training includes programs that produce career-specific diploma or professional certifications. Training is designed to advance your skills, especially in relation to your present or future job. Non-college degree programs include training for jobs that are based on manual or practical activities related to a specific trade, occupation, or vocation. They do not normally include training for a specific profession.

Examples of non-college degree training are diploma vocational schools such as:

  • Truck Driving
  • EMT Certification
  • Barber/Beautician School

Flight Training

Flight training refers to programs for those who have a private pilot’s license and who are looking to learn a specific piloting skill or qualification. Examples of vocational flight training programs include:

Rotary Wing Qualification
Dual Qualification
Flight Engineer

VA – Education – Montgomery GI Bill (Selected Reserve)

The Montgomery GI Bill (Selected Reserve) is an educational assistance program enacted by Congress to attract high quality men and women into the reserve components of the Armed Forces.

General Program Requirements

  1. Incur a six-year obligation to serve in the Selected Reserve
  2. Complete your Initial Active Duty for Training (IADT)
  3. Maintain Selected Reserve Status
  4. Complete high school or obtain a high school equivalency certificate before you apply for benefits.

Your reserve or National Guard component determines your eligibility for this program.

VA – Education – Post-9/11 GI Bill

The Post 9/11 GI Bill is an educational assistance program enacted by Congress for individuals with active duty service on or after September 11, 2001.

To qualify, you must have served:

  • 90 days of active duty service after September 10, 2001; OR
  • 30 continuous days after September 10, 2001, and be discharged due to a service-connected disability.

If you are no longer on active duty, you must have been:

  • Honorably discharged; OR
  • Released from active duty and transferred to the Fleet Reserve or Fleet Marine Corps Reserve; OR
  • Released from active duty for further service in a reserve component of the Armed Forces.

For more specific questions and details about your veteran’s school benefits visit the VA GI Bill site.

Visit Headlines to read an article about the GI Bill payments backlog.