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Understanding the Federal Program Descriptions

Content provided by the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance
64.124 All-Volunteer Force Educational Assistance

FEDERAL AGENCY:

VETERANS BENEFITS ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS

AUTHORIZATION:

Department of Defense Authorization Act of 1985, Title X, Section 702, Public Law 98-525; Public Laws 100-48, 100-689, 101-189, 101-237, 101-510, 102-25, 102-127, 102-484, 102-568, 103-66, 103-160, 103-446, 104-106, 104-201, 104-275, 105-114, 105-178, 105-261, 105-368, 106-117; 106-398; 106-419; 107-103; and 107-107; 38 U.S.C. 3001.
OBJECTIVES: Click here for help!
To help servicepersons readjust to civilian life after their separation from military service; assist in the recruitment and retention of highly qualified personnel in the active and reserve components in the Armed Forces by extending the benefits of a higher education to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it; restore lost educational opportunities to those who served on active duty; and enhance the Nation's competitiveness through a more highly educated work force.

TYPES OF ASSISTANCE:

Direct Payments for Specified Use.
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USES AND USE RESTRICTIONS:

The veteran may select a program of education to assist him or her in attaining an educational, professional, or vocational objective at any approved educational institution he or she chooses which will accept him or her as a student. The Under Secretary for Benefits will not approve enrollment in certain courses, such as those he finds vocational or recreational in character. An individual must have met the requirements of a secondary school diploma or the equivalent before completing the initial obligated period of active duty or successfully completed 12 college credits. Individuals may pursue certain flight training. Benefits may not be paid for elementary or secondary courses, or farm cooperative courses. Benefits may be paid for preparatory courses for admission to an institution of higher education or graduate training. Benefits may also be paid for any test that is necessary for licensing and certification needed to enter, maintain, or advance into employment in certain civilian occupations. Service members can increase their benefits substantially by making contributions above the basic $1200 at anytime while on active duty. Individuals can make additional payments to VA in $4 increments up to a maximum of $600. Their monthly full-time MGIB benefit will be increased by an additional $1 per month for each $4 contributed. A maximum contribution of $600 would yield an additional $5,400 of entitlement to MGIB participants who use their full 36 months of benefits. In addition, the military services can now pay up to 100 percent of the tuition and expenses charged by the school. At one time, the military could pay up to 75 percent in most cases. If a service department pays less than 100 percent, a service member eligible for the MGIB can elect to receive MGIB benefits for all or part of the remaining expenses. Effective October 1, 2002, certain MGIB trainees pursuing high technology training may qualify for an 'accelerated payment'. This payment is a lump sum payment of a maximum of 60 percent of the charged tuition and fees of an approved program. In addition, there is now a transferability program. When certain conditions are met, some individuals who have completed at least six years of service in the Armed Forces may transfer a portion of their entitlement (up to 18 months) to their dependents. Each individual service will determine whether or not they will allow their members to participate.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS:

Applicant Eligibility:   Individuals initially entering military service on or after July 1, 1985 will have their basic pay reduced by $100 a month for the first 12 months, unless they specifically elect not to participate. Individuals who were eligible for the Old GI Bill benefits as of December 31, 1989, who served on continuous active duty for 3 years after June 30, 1985, are also eligible, but will not have their basic pay reduced. They must have served on active duty without a break at some time during the period beginning on October 19, 1984, and ending on July 1, 1985, and continued on active duty without a break through their qualifying period. Certain veterans who were not on active duty on October 19, 1984, and who were eligible for the Old GI Bill, may now be eligible for the MGIB. In addition, individuals who were on active duty on September 30, 1990, or after November 29, 1993, and who are involuntarily separated from active duty after February 2, 1991, may elect MGIB benefits. However, they must have their basic pay reduced by $1,200. Similarly, those who are voluntarily separated after October 23, 1992, under the Voluntary Separation Incentive (VSI) or the Special Separation Benefit (SSB) programs, may make such an election. They too must have their basic pay reduced by $1,200. Other additional VEAP individuals may elect benefits under chapter 32 on or before October 9, 1996, and must have continuously served on active duty since October 9, 1996, through at least April 1, 2000. There are some other eligibility criteria which must be met. VEAP participants must have made this election by November 1, 2001. Questions about eligibility should be directed to the nearest VA regional office. Individuals must have met the requirements of a secondary school diploma or the equivalent before applying for benefits. A veteran must be discharged from active duty with an honorable discharge to receive benefits. Veterans and service personnel must serve 2 years before they are eligible for basic assistance. Participants who do not complete the required obligated service must have been discharged for a service-connected disability, for the convenience of the Government, for hardship, for a pre-existing medical condition, for involuntary separation due to certain reductions in force, or separated for a physical or mental condition that was not characterized as a disability.

Beneficiary Eligibility:   Veterans and servicepersons.

Credentials/Documentation:   Military discharge certificate, certification of enrollment by the educational institution in approved courses leading to an educational, professional or vocational objective.

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APPLICATION AND AWARD PROCESS:
Pre-application Coordination:   None. This program is excluded from coverage under E.O. 12372.

Application Procedure:   An application (VA Form 22-1990) may be obtained from any VA Regional Office and submitted to the appropriate VA Regional Processing Office.

Award Procedure:   Awards are authorized at the designated VA Regional Processing Office.

Deadlines:   Veterans have 10 years after release from service to complete their education. The basic 10-year period may be extended for those veterans who were prevented from beginning or completing their chosen program of education because they were held by a foreign government or power or because of a physical or mental disability not the result of their own willful misconduct. The 10-year period can also be extended if they reenter active duty for 90 days or more after becoming eligible.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time:   At least 97.2 percent of applications are processed within 90 days or less.

Appeals:   Appeals are available through a special board; response time is 220 days.

Renewals:   Possibility of adjustments to the basic eligibility period of a medical condition, including alcoholism, which prevented a veteran from entering or completing a program of education.

ASSISTANCE CONSIDERATIONS:

Formula and Matching Requirements:   Reductions from military pay will be turned over to the Treasury. There will be no refunds of any portion of these reductions. In the event of the service-connected death of an individual on active duty or within 1 year after discharge, a death benefit of unused amounts withheld from military pay may be paid to a designated beneficiary under certain circumstances. If an individual elects not to participate, he or she may not decide at a later date to participate except for certain situations mentioned in "Applicant Eligibility" above. Active duty for 3 years, or 2 years active duty plus 4 years in the Selected Reserve or National Guard will entitle an individual to $800 monthly basic benefits for 36 months. Two years active duty would entitle the individual to $650 monthly for 36 months. Individuals who initially serve a continuous period of at least 3 years of active duty, even though they were initially obligated to serve less than 3 years of active duty, will be paid at the higher basic rate. The Department of Defense may provide a supplemental assistance benefit of up to $300 monthly to individuals who serve an additional five continuous years of active duty. Persons with critical military skills may be paid an additional discretionary kicker by the Department of Defense. Basic kickers may not exceed $400 monthly (for those who initially entered service before November 29, 1989); $950 monthly (for those who initially enter service after September 30, 1998); or $300 monthly as a supplemental kicker. Also, the Department of Defense may offer certain participants who have a skill or specialty in which there is a critical shortage or for which it is difficult to recruit or retain qualified personnel, in reserve components, an additional benefit not to exceed $350 per month if they make a commitment to serve in the Selected Reserve for 6 years. Persons who were eligible for the Old GI Bill benefits as of December 31, 1989, and who served on active duty without a break at some time during the period beginning on October 19, 1984, and ending on July 1, 1985, and continued on active duty without a break through the qualifying period, will be eligible for basic assistance under the MGIB, plus one-half of the amount they would have received under the Old GI Bill.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance:   Available within 10 years of first date of discharge or release from service, or until 36 months of entitlement is exhausted. Assistance checks generally to be released on a monthly basis. For those who serve 2 years active duty, followed by 4 years in the Selected Reserve (2x4 program), the 10-year period runs from the date of release from active duty or 10 years from the completion of the 4-year Selected Reserve obligation, whichever is later.

POST ASSISTANCE REQUIREMENTS:

Reports:   The educational allowance will not be paid if participants do not pursue their courses in accordance with established policies and regulations of the educational institution they attend, and are not making satisfactory progress as required by law and VA regulations. Students must verify their pursuit at institutions of higher learning and for courses not leading to a standard college degree on a monthly basis. Attendance for OJT/apprenticeship training must be certified monthly by the veteran. Absences do not need to be reported. Students certify lessons completed under correspondence training on a quarterly basis.

Audits:   None.

Records:   None.

FINANCIAL INFORMATION:

Account Identification:   36-0137-0-1-702.

Obligations:   (Direct Payments) FY 01 $892,104,000; FY 02 est $1,376,127,000; and FY 03 est $1,467,295,000.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance:   Currently, the full-time monthly benefit can range from $873 to over $2,000 depending on the length of the service obligation, military incentives, military career field, branch of service and voluntary contributions. In most cases, benefits last for 36 (48 months when combined with other VA education benefits) calendar months of full-time training. The work-study allowance is limited to the higher of the Federal minimum wage, or the State minimum wage where work is performed. Tutorial assistance can be up to a maximum of $1,200.

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PROGRAM ACCOMPLISHMENTS:
For fiscal year 2001, there were 279,949 trainees; trainee estimates for fiscal years 2002 and 2003 are 510,300 and 648,300, respectively.

REGULATIONS, GUIDELINES, AND LITERATURE:

38 CFR 21.7000 - 21.7320. "Federal Benefits for Veterans and Dependents," VA Pamphlet 80-01-1, $5.00, available from Superintendent of Documents, P.O. Box 371954, Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954. The stock number is: 0051-000-00224-5.

INFORMATION CONTACTS:

Regional or Local Office:   1-888-GIBILL-1.

Headquarters Office:   Department of Veterans Affairs, Central Office, Washington, DC 20420. Telephone: (202) 461-9800.

Web Site Address:  
http://www.GIBILL.va.gov

EXAMPLES OF FUNDED PROJECTS:

Not applicable.

CRITERIA FOR SELECTING PROPOSALS:

Not applicable.

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