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Requirements and eligibility for these military financial aid programs vary, so be sure to check with the Veterans’ Administration at www.gibill.va.gov for additional information.

Accelerated payment for MGIB-AD

If you’re pursuing studies in a technical field, you may be able to receive a large portion of your overall benefit up front, in the form of a lump-sum payment. This benefit aims to help provide money for college for a high-tech education, which is often more costly than a non-technical program.

If you’re eligible, you will receive 60 percent of your tuition and fees up front. Accelerated payments are made for one term, quarter, or semester at a time. In the event that your benefit isn’t enough to cover 60 percent, then you’ll be paid a lump sum, based on your remaining benefits.

Unlike college scholarships, which provide additional funds, this program simply gives you the funds and benefits you are eligible for faster.

To be considered for this program, you have to be enrolled in a VA-approved high tech program and you must certify that you intend to seek employment in a high-tech industry (as defined by the VA). You also need to be eligible for Montgomery GI Bill-Active Duty education benefits; however, the accelerated payments will replace the GI Bill payments that you would normally receive. Additionally, the tuition and fees for your program need to be more than double the Montgomery GI Bill benefits that you would otherwise receive for that term.

To be eligible for accelerated payments, you can be enrolled in a degree or non-degree program, but you do need to be enrolled in one of the following fields of study:

  • Life science or physical science (but not social science)
  • Engineering (all fields)
  • Mathematics
  • Engineering and science technology
  • Computer specialties
  • Engineering, science, and computer management

Additionally, to receive this type of military financial aid, you must indicate your intent to seek employment in one of the following industries when you have completed your program:

  • Biotechnology
  • Life science technologies
  • Opto-electronics
  • Computers and telecommunications
  • Electronics
  • Computer-integrated manufacturing
  • Material design
  • Aerospace
  • Weapons
  • Nuclear technology

Tuition Assistance Top-Up

This program is designed to help you cover any costs still remaining after your tuition assistance benefits have been used. Just as with non-VA student aid or scholarships, veterans’ education benefits rarely cover 100 percent of your tuition and fees. If you served at least two years on active duty and qualify for Montgomery GI Bill-Active Duty benefits, then you can seek approval for this benefit from your military department. (For now, it’s not available as a benefit for GI Bill-Selected Reserve beneficiaries.)

The amount you receive could be equal to the difference between the total cost of a college course and the amount of tuition assistance you receive from the military for the course; however, the amount of your GI Bill benefits will be reduced.

Student Work-Study Allowance Program

In addition to tuition assistance or scholarships for college, you may be able to obtain a work-study position offered through the VA. You must be enrolled at least three-quarter-time in a college-degree or vocational or professional program. The number of positions available and the locations of the work-study positions determine how many applicants will be awarded a position.

You must already be eligible for benefits under any of the following programs to be considered for this money for college, and you will probably need to meet other criteria as well:

  • Montgomery GI Bill-Active Duty (38 U.S.C. Chapter 30)
  • Vocational Training and Rehabilitation for Veterans With Service Connected Disabilities (38 U.S.C. Chapter 31)
  • Post-Vietnam Era Veterans’ Educational Assistance Program (38 U.S.C. Chapter 32)
  • Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program (38 U.S.C. Chapter 35)
  • Montgomery GI Bill-Selected Reserve (10 U.S.C. Chapter 1606)
  • Eligible dependents under 38 U.S.C. Chapter 35 may use work study only while training in a State.

There are several factors that the VA will consider when they make selections for recipients of available work-study positions. These may include having a disability, being able to fulfill your contract before your eligibility expires, or distance from the job site. Priority is usually given to more severely disabled veterans.

For more detailed information about these or any other education benefits or scholarships available through the Veterans’ Administration, visit their Web site at www.gibill.va.gov.