What Online Students Need to Know About Military Education Benefits

Military education benefits offered under the GI Bill might help you pay for college and transition into the next phase of your life. But for many active service members or veterans, a traditional college experience isn’t the perfect fit. Online learning may better suit your lifestyle, schedule, and goals. And the good news is, online degree programs may be eligible for military education benefits.

About Your GI Bill Benefits

You may qualify for the Post-9/11 GI Bill if you have at least 90 days of aggregate active duty service following September 10, 2001, and you are still on active duty; if you are an honorably discharged veteran; or if you were discharged with a service-connected disability after at least 30 days of service.

The Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) may be available to active duty military members or selected reservists. In the Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty (MGIB-AD) program, service members must pay $100 a month for twelve months and complete a minimum service obligation. In the Montgomery GI Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR) program, the VA makes monthly payments toward your benefits.

Both the Post-9/11 and Montgomery GI Bill programs may be used to pursue a variety of educational paths. These include college degree and certificate programs, vocational and technical courses, and even online or correspondence courses.

Check out our chart at the bottom of this article, to compare military education benefits programs you may qualify for!

How to Use GI Bill for Online Schools and Programs

Wondering how to use your VA online school benefits? Actually, using the GI bill for online schools isn’t any different from using these benefits at a traditional college…as long as your school and program are eligible.

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, you should follow these steps when applying for benefits:

  1. If You’re Ready to Apply, Do So. You can apply for VA military education benefits online, or else apply in person at your regional VA office. You can also call 1-888-GI BILL-1 (888-442-4551) to have an application mailed to you.
  2. If You Have Questions About Your Benefits, Talk to Someone. You can consult with the VA Certifying Official at your school of choice, to learn more about using your military education benefits. This person is usually in the Registrar’s or Financial Aid office. If you plan to study online or at a school far from home, that’s okay. Just contact the Registrar’s or Financial Aid office by phone or email. You can also seek assistance from an employee at your regional VA office.
  3. Wait for Your Claims to Be Processed. It usually takes about 30 days for VA to make a decision about your claims.

Servicemembers, veterans, and even military spouses and dependents may qualify for various military education benefits, many of which can be used to pursue an online degree program. But yes, it can get confusing. Use our handy chart to compare programs you may be eligible for. Remember to always check with The Department of Veterans Affairs to verify your eligibility and learn more about these and other programs.

List of Military Programs and Benefits

ProgramEligibility RequirementsRequirements for Monthly BenefitsBenefits Can be Used TowardTime Limitations
Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP); also known as Ch. 1607REAP ended on November 25, 2015. However, veterans who were attending an educational institution on (or on the term ending before) November 24, 2015, may remain eligible for REAP benefits until November 25, 2019.N/AN/AFor most service members, REAP benefits are no longer offered. Others have until November 25, 2019 to use benefits.
Veterans Education Assistance Program (VEAP)You must meet these requirements:
- Entered service for the first time between January 1, 1977, and June 30, 1985
- Opened a contribution account before April 1, 1987
- Contributed from $25 to $2700
- Completed your first period of service
- Were not dishonorably discharged
You must have elected to make contributions to this program from your military pay. The government matches your contributions, 2-for-1.Degree and certificate programs, technical or vocational courses, correspondence courses, and other programs that may potentially be pursued online.Benefit entitlement is for one to 36 months. After your release from active duty, you have 10 years to use VEAP benefits. After that time, your contributions will be refunded.
Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA) ProgramYou must be the son, daughter, or spouse of:
- A veteran who died or is permanently and totally disabled from a service-connected disability that arose out of active service in the Armed Forces.
- A veteran who died from any cause while a service-connected disability was in existence.
- A service member missing in action or captured in line of duty.
- 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 treatment for a service-connected permanent and total disability and is likely to be discharged for the disability.

If you are attending a college or vocational program, you must be attending full time, 3/4 time, or halftime. The number of your benefits will vary depending on this status.

Check with the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs to learn more about requirements and current benefit rates.

Degree and certificate programs,
apprenticeships, and on-the-job training. Spouses may take correspondence courses.
You may receive up to 45 months of education benefits, if you began using the program before August 1, 2018. If you began your program on or after August 1, 2018, you have 36 months to use the benefits.
Tuition Assistance Top-UpYou must be a recipient of the Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty or Post-9/11 GI Bill programs and be approved for Federal TA, among other potential requirements.You may receive up 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.College programs,
vocational programs, correspondence courses, apprenticeships, job training, flight training, and more
Top Up is limited to 36 months of payments. (For example, a six-month course would use up six months of your benefits.)
Work Study ProgramYou must be a full-time or 3/4-time student in a college degree, vocational, or professional program.
You must be in one of the following programs:
- Post-9/11 GI Bill
- Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty
- Post-Vietnam Era Veterans’ Educational Assistance Program
- Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program
- Montgomery GI Bill – Selected Reserve
- Or other select programs.
You must perform approved VA-related work while you are in school. You’ll earn the Federal minimum wage or your State minimum wage, whichever is greater.College degree, vocational, or professional programsThe total number of hours you work cannot exceed 25 times the number of weeks in your enrollment period.
Entrepreneurship TrainingYou must be eligible for any of these VA Education Programs:
- Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty
- Montgomery GI Bill – Selected Reserve
- Veterans’ Educational Assistance Program
-The Post-9/11 GI Bill
You may receive benefits for courses offered by Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs). Individual courses mustCourses offered by Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs)Varies
Yellow Ribbon Program

You must be eligible for the maximum (100%) benefit level under the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Check with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for more specifics.

In addition, your school must meet certain eligibility requirements. For instance, they must participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program and certify your enrollment to VA.

You must be enrolled in a school that participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program, and you must have been accepted to the Yellow Ribbon program, in order to receive potential benefits.

The Post-9/11 GI Bill will pay qualifying candidates:
- All resident tuition and fees for a public school
- The lower of the actual tuition and fees or the national maximum per year for a private school

Educational programs at schools that participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program

Your participation may be reassessed on a year-to-year basis, depending on factors like your enrollment, your school’s continued participation, and your remaining entitlement under the Post‐9/11 GI Bill.

Disclaimer: This is a private website that is not affiliated with the U.S. government, U.S. Armed Forces or Department of Veteran Affairs. U.S. government agencies have not reviewed this information. This site is not connected with any government agency. If you would like to find more information about the benefits offered by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, please visit the official U.S. government web site for veterans benefits at http://www.va.org.

Find GI Bill Online Schools and Start Using Your Military Education Benefits

Finding online degree programs that suit your goals, academic interests, and VA education benefits may be easier than you think. Search online for Montgomery GI Bill and post 9 11 GI Bill online classes and programs. Or, let Education Connection help match you to colleges and universities for free!