Montgomery GI Bill: Active Duty

I. Benefit Description

The Montgomery GI Bill - Active Duty program provides up to 36 months of education benefits. These benefits may be used for degree and certificate programs, apprenticeship/on-the-job training and correspondence courses. Vocational flight training is approved from September 30, 1990. Remedial, deficiency, and refresher courses may be approved under certain circumstances. Generally, benefits are payable for 10 years following your release from active duty.

II. Eligibility

You may use the education benefits under the MGIB program if you qualify under one of the following categories:

Category I

You must have first entered active duty after June 30, 1985, and had your military pay reduced by $1200. This amount is non-refundable.

If you are now on active duty, you may begin using these benefits after completing two years of service.

You may also be eligible if you enlisted for 2 years of active duty with an obligation to serve 4 years in the Selected Reserve (the 2 by 4 program). You must have entered the Selected Reserve within 1 year of your release from active duty.

If you are separated from active duty, you must have an honorable discharge, and you must have completed your initial period of obligated active duty. Under certain circumstances, an early discharge or release from active duty may permit you to be eligible for MGIB benefits. This early release could reduce the amount of your entitlement.

Members of the National Guard who first entered active duty on or after November 28, 1989, under Title 32 U.S.C. (Active Guard Reserve or AGR), and who never served on active duty before entering AGR service, may use this active duty to establish MGIB eligibility. These members also are required to have their military pay reduced by $1200, which is non-refundable.

You must obtain a high school diploma or an equivalency certificate before your first period of active duty ends. Completing 12 credit hours toward a college degree meets this requirement.

Category II

If you had remaining entitlement under the Vietnam Era GI Bill on December 31, 1989, and served on active duty sometime between October 19, 1984, and June 30, 1985, and continued to serve through July, 1988, (or June 30, 1987, if combined with Selected Reserve service) you may be entitled to MGIB benefits.

In addition to the basic MGIB benefit rate, you will receive 1/2 of the Vietnam Era GI Bill rate, including the allowance paid for veterans with dependents. If you qualify for this category, your military pay will not be reduced.

You must have obtained a high school diploma or an equivalency certificate before December 31, 1989. Completing 12 credit hours toward a college degree meets this requirement.

Category III

Effective February 3, 1991, the law was amended to allow members who originally declined to participate or who were not eligible to participate, to elect MGIB benefits before separation if they are involuntarily separated from service. On October 23, 1992, the law was further expanded to allow the same opportunity to those voluntarily separated under the Special Separation Benefit (SSB) and Voluntary Separation Incentive (VSI) programs.

If you were eligible for the Veterans' Educational Assistance Program (VEAP), you must elect to receive benefits under MGIB and apply for a refund of your contributions to VEAP.

You must obtain a high school diploma or an equivalency certificate before you apply for benefits. Completing 12 credit hours toward a college degree meets this requirement.

III. Discharges and Separations

You must have an "honorable" discharge from active duty to participate in the MGIB program. Discharges designated "under honorable conditions" and "general" do not establish your eligibility for the MGIB program.

A discharge for one of the following reasons could result in a reduction of the required length of active duty to qualify for benefits under the MGIB:

  • Convenience of the Government;
  • Disability;
  • Hardship;
  • Medical Conditions Existing Before Entry into Service;
  • Force Reductions; or
  • Medical Condition Which Prevents Satisfactory Performance of Duty