National Guard GI Bill: 16 Things You Should Know

There are many benefits in serving the United States and her citizens by being a member of the United States National Guard. Some of the most common benefits are:

  • Gaining skills to help in the civilian world

  • Earning extra money to help offset the rising living costs

  • Travel

But another benefit that isn’t mentioned as often, and some soldiers do not take advantage of is the GI Bill.

In today’s post, we are going to provide 16 things you should know about the National Guard GI Bill.

1: What The GI Bill Is

In 1944, President Roosevelt signed the Service men’s Readjustment Act into law. This act is known as the GI bill. The idea was to help soldiers adjust back into society after being in war. The GI Bill was, and is a huge success. The original benefits that were included in the Act were:

  • Low interest loans for a business start-up

  • Low cost mortgages

  • One year of unemployment compensation

  • High school education/GED

  • Tuition and living expenses to attend college

The college tuition and living expense benefit was, and has been one of the largest utilized benefits from the GI Bill. The first recipient of any of the GI Bill benefits was a Don Balfour who attended George Washington University.

The GI Bill is still in effect. Service members need only apply to reap the benefits from this Act. As a member of the United States National Guard, if you have not researched the advantages of the GI Bill….you should!

We hope this post will help you understand it a little bit better.


2: Montgomery GI Bill For Selected Reserve

This program allows members to receive up to 36 months of education benefits. Assistance is given for:

  • College degrees and certificates

  • Vocational or technical courses

  • Flight training

  • On the job training or apprenticeship programs

  • Certification training or testing

  • Correspondence courses

  • and more.

This covers members of the:

  • Army National Guard

  • Air National Guard

  • Army Reserve

  • Navy Reserve

  • Air Force Reserve

  • Marine Corps Reserve

  • and Coast Guard Reserve

3: Montgomery GI Bill For Active Duty

This program also covers active duty members for the same benefits as listed in #2. They can use these for up to 10 years past their discharge. If a member contributes $600 to the GI Bill buy-up program, there are increased benefits up to $5,400.

4: Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP)

This program provides assistance for education for any members of the Ready Reserve who were called to active duty after September 11th, 2001.

5: Post 9/11 GI Bill

This bill entitles members who had at least 90 days of active duty, or were discharged with a service connected disability after 30 days educational benefits that can include:

  • Tuition

  • Monthly housing allowance

  • Yearly books and supplies allowance

  • A one-time rural benefit payment

This benefit is good up to 15 years following release from active duty.

6: Vocational Rehabilitation And Employment Program

Some Veterans may find it difficult to find employment. The GI Bill offers a Vocational Rehabilitation program that provides counseling, and job seeking skills for those who need such services. The support given helps Veterans find the job they need.

7: Transferring Benefits To Dependents

Some National Guard members may desire to transfer their GI Bill benefits to immediate dependents. There are options for service members to do this. Maybe you have a child that you want to provide an education for. Your GI Bill could very well cover a large part of those expenses.There is also more information about survivors and dependent’s assistance here.

8: GI Bill Kicker

As an added benefit to the Montgomery GI Bill, there is the Army National Guard GI Bill Kicker. If a member enlists, or reenlists in the National Guard for a 6 year term, there are added terms to the Montgomery GI Bill. The member must take a critical Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) to be eligible. For soldiers who attend school full time, the kicker is $200, and for officers, it is $350.

9: Yellow Ribbon Program

For those service members who elect to attend a private school, graduate school or an out of State school, the GI Bill also has the Yellow Ribbon Program. This program provides extra funds for anyone who seeks to attend a school in those categories.

10: School Finding Resources

Finding the right school for you is the main priority. Use these resouces to help:

  • School choosing guide

  • Schools that participate in the President’s Principles of Excellence Program

  • Choosing a college

  • Choosing a vocational school

11: Eligibility

There are several basic requirements to be eligible for the National Guard GI Bill. They include:

  • Have a 6 year contract to serve in the National Guard.

  • Complete your initial active duty for training.

  • Meet all requirements to attain your high school diploma or GED.

  • Remain in good standing in your National Guard unit.

Steps To Apply

12: Find A School

You first need to find a school that meets the requirements. This link can help you find schools that “fit the bill.”

13: Complete The Application

By using the VA’s website, you can easily fill out the application for education benefits.

14: Answer Questions

After filling out the application, you should receive an eligibility declaration within a few weeks. It is common that the VA asks for more information. You must answer all questions they ask to the best of your ability.

15: Complete WAVE

Every month after receiving your benefits, you will have to complete WAVE. WAVE is the Veteran Administration’s Web Automated Verification of Eligibility. All that you will need to do is log on to the system on line or call the toll free number and answer simple questions.

16: Basic Payment Rates

The basic payment rates per month under the Montgomery GI Bill are:

College or University

Full time $367

75% time $274

50% time $182

Under 50% $91.75

On the job training or apprenticeship

First 6 months $275.25

Second 6 months $201.85

Remaining $128.45

Final Words

It only makes good sense to take advantage of the National Guard GI Bill. Attaining added education can lead to better and higher paying jobs.

I hope this post helped you, but if you have any questions that we may be able to help you with, just post it below.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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