Chapter 30 - Active Duty GI Bill (MGIB)

listen this page Listen the this Page
Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

Chapter 30 – Active Duty GI Bill

The Montgomery GI Bill - Active Duty ("MGIB") provides up to 36 months of education benefits. The benefit can be used for:

  • College
  • Technical or Vocational Courses
  • Correspondence Courses
  • Apprenticeship/Job Training
  • Flight Training
  • High-tech Training
  • Licensing & Certification Tests
  • Entrepreneurship Training
  • Certain Entrance Examinations

Four categories of veterans are eligible. Each category also requires that the veteran have an Honorable Discharge AND a High School Diploma or GED. Twelve hours of college credit is required in some cases.

Category I

  • Entered active duty for the first time after June 30, 1985
  • Military pay was reduced by $100 a month for first 12 months
  • Continuously served for 3 years, OR served for 2 years if that is what you first enlisted for, OR served 2 years if you entered the Selected Reserve within a year of leaving active duty and served 4 years ("2 by 4" Program)

Category II

  • Entered active duty before January 1, 1977
  • Served at least 1 day between October 19, 1984 and June 30, 1985 and stayed on active duty through June 30, 1988 (or through June 30, 1987 if you entered the Selected Reserve within 1 year of leaving active duty and served 4 years)
  • On December 31, 1989, you had entitlement left from Vietnam-Era GI Bill

Category III

  • Not eligible for MGIB under Category I or II
  • On active duty on September 30, 1990 AND separated involuntarily after February 2, 1991
  • OR involuntarily separated on or after November 30, 1993
  • OR voluntarily separated under either the Voluntary Separation Incentive (VSI) or Special Separation Benefit (SSB) program
  • Before separation you had military pay reduced by $1200

Category IV

  • On active duty on October 9, 1996 AND you had money remaining in a VEAP account on that date AND you elected MGIB by October 9, 1997
  • OR entered full-time National Guard duty (under title 32 USC) between July 1, 1985, and November 28, 1989 AND you elected MGIB during the period October 9, 1996, through July 8, 1997
  • Had military pay reduced by $100 a month for 12 months or made a $1200 lump-sum contribution

If you are eligible under any of the above categories, you may be able to get help from the VA. The amount of support is based on:

  • the type of training you take,
  • length of your service,
  • your GI Bill category (I - IV above),
  • and if DOD put extra money in your MGIB Fund (called "kickers")

One such kicker is the Buy Up option. Under this plan, a servicemember can contribute up to an additional $600 while still on active duty. Then the VA will give you $8 of benefits for every additional $1 contributed. Thus, you can increase your benefit by $4,800 if you contribute the full $600. Other types of “kickers” include monies managed by the military services that you may be able to access under your signing bonus.

You usually have 10 years to use your MGIB benefits. This 10 years can be extended if you could not have recieved training during a time when you were disabled or captured by a foreign government. The 10 year limit may also be reset if you re-enter active duty for a period of at least 90 days.

To apply: Contact the VA at 1-888-GI-BILL-1, or mail in a VA Form 22-1990. Or apply online using the VNOPP application.

Read more about MGIB here

July 2011