What are GI Bill Grants?

Montgomery GI Bill grants are one of the older forms of financial aid that the United States government provides for its military members.  There are two areas associated with the federal student financial aid plan, the Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty and the Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve. 

At its inception, the Montgomery GI Bill was looked upon with skepticism.  Opponents of the Bill, originally referred to as the Service Member’s Readjustment Act of 1944, thought if the government paid former military professionals money they could use toward a postsecondary education, that the former service members would be deterred from focusing on looking for new work.  When the Bill was first passed the government paid unemployed military service members $20 a week so, according to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, service members could prepare for their “future thru educational training.”

Furthermore, the Montgomery GI Bill was passed at a time in the nation’s history when you generally had to be wealthy to attend college.  The fact that the Bill gave former military members entrance to quality higher education may have helped generate interest in programs designed to pave the way for more American civilians to receive innovative forms of financial aid so they too could earn a valuable postsecondary education. 

Growing Your Military Montgomery GI Bill Grant Amounts

Depending on the amount of contributions you make to the program you qualify to participate in, you might be able to save enough money to pay for a four-year college education after you retire from serving in the military.  Additionally, should you qualify to receive non-military financial aid like scholarships and grants; you might be able to reduce the amount of money you contribute to your Montgomery GI Bill grant account.

With the Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty program you can receive up to 36 months in educational financial assistance.  You can use the money to earn an:

  • Undergraduate degree
  • Graduate degree
  • College or university certificate
  • Flight training certification

Active Duty and Reserve Military Members Use Montgomery GI Bill Grants to Pay for College

Money from the program can also be used to complete apprenticeship and on-the-job training programs or to complete correspondence courses.  You can finish your degree via a classroom or distance learning program.  If you’re eligible to contribute an additional $600 a month toward your Montgomery GI Bill account, you may receive as much as $5,400 in additional benefits from the military as the military matches money you contribute to the account.  However, the standard amount you may contribute each month is $100 as of July 2011.  Your eligibility to participate in the grant program depends on whether or not you have a high school diploma or General Equivalency Diploma (GED).  Without these secondary credentials you may not be able to receive financial assistance through the military’s Montgomery GI Bill grants.  Benefits associated with the program are far reaching.  For example, if you attend an accredited college or university full-time you can receive up to $1,426 a month, while you can receive up to $713 a month for attending school part-time.

As a reservist you can receive up to $337 a month from the military if you attend an accredited college or university full-time and enrolled in the Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve program.  Akin to the active duty program, the government will subsidize your education for up to 36 months, depending on the total amount of contributions made to your account by you and the government.  If you attend school part-time you can receive up to $167 a month in education benefits.

Over the years the Montgomery GI Bill has evolved.  As has been since the federal grant program’s inception, you can still apply for aid through the program so you can pay for an undergraduate or graduate degree.  However, as a military service member you can also apply for student financial aid through the Post 9/11 GI Bill, a program that may pay the total cost if you earn a four-year degree from an accredited college or university.  Both the Montgomery GI Bill and the Post 9/11 GI Bill are administered through the Veterans Affairs office.

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