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For Service Members – Benefits

If you’re looking for tuition assistance or help with finding a job, many agencies and organizations 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. The VA offers several programs to help service members, veterans, and in some cases, their families, pay for 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: 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.
  • Rogers STEM Scholarship: Veterans and FRY Scholars who have or will soon exhaust their benefits and are currently enrolled in a STEM degree program or are seeking a teaching certification are eligible to receive the Rogers STEM scholarship. Family members who received transferred entitlement are not eligible for additional educational assistance under the STEM Scholarship.

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: a deduction for 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 borrow the financial aid from the university instead of the federal government. Federal Perkins Loans have shorter time periods for repayment than Stafford Loans, but Perkins Loans do not require that students are enrolled at least half-time.

Employment benefits. The Department of Labor, Department of Veterans Affairs, and many other agencies and organizations offer assistance with employment. Find more services and programs on Military OneSource’s Education and Employment Resources.

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 program offers benefits to veterans with service-related disabilities.
  • Homeless Veterans Community Employment Services: These services can help if you are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

Entrepreneurial and business education.

  • Some universities and nonprofit groups offer free or low-cost entrepreneur and business-focused courses for veterans and family members.
  • Learn more at the Small Business Administration’s site for Veteran-owned Businesses.

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

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