Understanding your VA education benefits can be difficult. This is the place to start!
The Department of Veterans Affairs administers several education programs as set down in law, Title 38 United States Code. Each program is found in a different chapter of the law and this chapter number is often used to refer to the different benefit programs. The programs also have specific names. Each program provides different benefits to different groups of individuals.
Veterans, members of the National Guard and Reserve, and certain eligible dependents can use these programs for a wide variety of VA-approved education and training programs, which include: apprenticeship and on-the-job training, college degree and certificate programs, flight training and correspondence courses.
Each program offers a specified number of "months" of benefits. This number is typically 36 and the maximum number of benefit months that can be collected under any combination of VA education programs is 48. The 36-month figure was established based on full-time college attendance where students typically attend classes for 9 months each year: 9 x 4 years = 36 months.
A "full-time" institutional payment rate is set annually for each program and each time an eligible individual collects that amount of money he or she is said to have collected "one month" of benefits. Therefore, if a student were to attend a program on a half-time basis, it would take twice as long to exhaust the benefit.
Monthly rates for apprenticeship and on-the-job training programs are set to account for the increase in an apprentice's wages as he or she works towards journeyman status. Benefit payments decrease as wages increase.
For the first six months of an apprenticeship program the apprentice receives a monthly VA check that equals 85% of the currently full-time institutional rate for his or her benefit program. During the second six months of the program benefits are paid at 65% of the full-time rate and during the remainder of the program the apprentice receives a monthly check equal to 45% of the benefit's full-time rate.
It is important to note that VA education benefits can only be used for one type of training at a time. Individuals changing from one type of training to another, such as transitioning from a college program to an apprenticeship program, must complete VA Form 22-1995, Request for Change of Program or Place of Training and submit it to their VA Regional Processing office.
Please review all the information we have posted on our G.I. Bill page. If you have any additional questions please don't hesitate to contact us. We are happy to assist you and we thank you for your service to our nation.
For detailed information concerning VA education benefits visit: http://www.gibill.va.gov/GI_Bill_Info/rates.htm