Education & Training

Montgomery GI Bill

The Montgomery GI Bill is an educational program that can be used by active duty military or veterans. As with all VA programs, there are certain criteria that must be met. For the educational benefits there are four basic eligibility requirements, and then there are further requirements split into four categories.

The basic criteria for the Montgomery GI Bill are:

  • Veterans must have retired with a fully honorable discharge. If you have anything else, you do not qualify for educational benefits.
  • Veterans must have a high school diploma, an equivalent certificate, or have completed 12 hours towards a college degree prior to applying for benefits.

Applicants must also satisfy the eligibility requirements demanded by one of four categories.

Category 1

This category is for those who entered active duty after June 30, 1985, and have not declined (in writing) the Montgomery GI Bill. If veterans are in this category and complete 3 years of continuous active duty, or 2 years of continuous active duty and have an obligation to serve 4 years in the Selected Reserve (and do so within one year of separation).

Note: If a veteran did not fulfill the time requirements of Category 1, they may still be eligible if they were discharged for:

  • Convenience of the government
    • If you had an initial 3 year or greater service obligation, you must have completed at least 30 continuous months of service
    • If you had an initial service obligation of less than 3 years, you must have completed at least 20 continuous months of service
  • Service connected disability
  • Hardship
  • Diagnosed with a medical condition prior to entering the service
  • Non-misconduct condition, which interfered with the performance of your duties
  • Most reduction in force separations

Category 2

This category is for those who have a remaining entitlement under the Vietnam Era GI Bill and convert it to the Montgomery GI Bill as of December 31, 1989. There are additional service requirements for this entitlement.

Category 3

This category is for those who were voluntarily separated in accordance with the Special Separation Benefit program and had their paid $1,200 before discharge as part of accepting Montgomery GI Bill benefits.

Category 4

This category is for those who participated in the Veterans Educational Assistance Program (VEAP) as long as they meet the following requirements:

  • On active duty on October 9, 1996
  • Participated in VEAP (to include contributing money to a VEAP account)
  • Elected the Montgomery GI Bill by October 9, 1997 and paid the $1,200

Note: Veterans, who had VEAP but did not put money into their account are also eligible if they served on active duty between October 9, 1996 through April 1, 2000, converted to the Montgomery GI Bill by October 31, 2001 and paid $2,700.

Eligibility Period

In most cases veterans have 10 years to use their educational benefits.