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. You’ll find valuable information, benefits and tips about pursuing higher education and employment on Military OneSource. For your convenience, Military OneSource has put several leads on education and employment benefits here in one place.

Education benefits

Tuition assistance programs. These programs provide financial assistance for voluntary off-duty education programs to support professional and personal self-development goals. Each service branch offers its own program:

Education programs from the Department of Veterans Affairs, or VA. The VA offers several programs to help service members, veterans, and in some cases, their families, pay for education:

  • Post-9/11 GI Bill®: Assistance for college education or on-the-job training for individuals who served on active duty after September 10, 2001. Benefits include support for college degrees, testing reimbursement, vocational and technical training, registered apprenticeships and more.
  • 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 eligible 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 assistance paid by the military for the course.

Tax credits and deductions. These federal education credits and deductions may reduce the amount of taxes that you owe:

  • American Opportunity Tax Credit: a maximum annual credit of $2,500 per student for qualified expenses paid during the 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 qualified student loans.
  • Business deduction for work-related education: a deduction for work-related education expenses if they are more than 2 percent of your adjusted gross income.

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

  • Federal Grants: Grant programs for eligible students 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 assistance for students enrolled at least half-time. These loans do not require repayment until after the student graduates, leaves school or drops below half-time status.
  • Federal Perkins Loans: Similar to Stafford Loans, except that the student borrows (and then repays) 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 Veterans Affairs, Department of Labor, Small Business Administration and many other agencies and organizations offer assistance with employment. Find more services and programs on Military OneSource’s Education and Employment Resources page.

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

  • Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment: This program for eligible veterans can provide benefits including job training and apprenticeships, one-on-one assistance in finding a job, postsecondary training, assistance for veterans starting their own business, and independent living services for veterans with severe disabilities and unable to work in traditional employment.
  • 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 discharge terms and state of residence, you may be eligible for 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 your options in pursuing education or employment opportunities.