For Service Members – Benefits

If you’re looking for help with paying for tuition or finding a job, many agencies and groups are ready to assist. On this page, Military OneSource provides valuable information, benefits and tips about higher education and employment.

Education benefits

Tuition assistance programs. These programs provide financial aid for voluntary, off-duty education programs that support your professional and personal goals. Each service branch offers its own program:

Education programs from the Department of Veterans Affairs, or VA. The VA offers programs to help service members, veterans and family members pay for higher education:

  • Post-9/11 GI Bill®: Provides aid for college education or on-the-job training for those who served on active duty after September 10, 2001. Benefits include support for college degrees, testing costs, job training, apprenticeships and more. Also, a spouse or child can use these benefits in certain cases.
  • Montgomery GI Bill® for Active Duty and Veterans: Sometimes known as Chapter 30, the program provides education benefits to service members and veterans with at least two years of active duty.
  • Montgomery GI Bill® for Selected Reserves, or MGIB-SR: Provides education and training benefits to members of the reserve.
  • Tuition Assistance Top-up Program: This VA benefit can help pay the difference between the total cost of a college course and the amount of tuition paid by the military.

Tax credits and deductions. These benefits may lower the taxes you owe:

  • American Opportunity Tax Credit: a yearly credit of up to $2,500 per student for certain expenses paid during your first four years of college.
  • Lifetime Learning Credit: a credit of up to $2,000 per year for undergraduate, graduate and professional students, for an unlimited number of years.
  • Tuition and fees deduction: can reduce your taxable income by up to $4,000.
  • Student loan interest deduction: deduct up to $2,500 of the interest you've paid on certain student loans.
  • Business deduction for work-related education: deduct work-related education expenses if they are more than 2% of your adjusted gross income.

Federal grants and loans. Federal grants and loans can help you pay for higher education:

  • Federal Grants: Grant programs include the Pell Grant, the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, the Academic Competitiveness Grant and the National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent (SMART) Grant.
  • Stafford Loans: Financial aid for students enrolled at least half-time. You don’t have to repay these loans until after you graduate, leave school or drop below half-time status.
  • Federal Perkins Loans: Similar to Stafford Loans, except that you the financial aid from the university instead of the federal government. Federal Perkins Loans have shorter time periods for repayment than Stafford Loans, but with Perkins Loans you don’t have to be enrolled at least half-time.

Employment benefits

Many federal agencies and other groups offer help with employment. Learn more on Military OneSource’s Education and Employment Resources page.

VA employment benefits. The VA offers several benefits to help service members find civilian work:

  • Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment: This program for veterans can provide benefits, including job training and apprenticeships, one-on-one help in finding a job, postsecondary training, help for veterans starting their own business, and independent-living services for veterans with disabilities who can’t work some jobs.
  • The Compensated Work Therapy, or CWT, program offers benefits to veterans with service-related disabilities.
  • Homeless Veterans Community Employment Services: Also referred to as HVCES, these services can help if you are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

Entrepreneurial and business education.

Unemployment insurance.

  • Depending on your type of discharge and where you live, you may be able to get unemployment insurance.
  • Check your closest unemployment office or visit the Department of Labor.

Call Military OneSource at 800-342-9647 or click here for overseas calling options to find out more about help with education or employment.