Unique Montgomery GI Bill Features

The GI Bill has greatly improved over the last few years. While Military.com has highlighted these improvements to the Montgomery GI Bill in the following links, check out the latest updates to the more recent Post-9/11 GI Bill here:


The Buy-Up feature can allow active duty servicemembers to Get up to an extra $150 per month increase above the standard MGIB "pay rate." This could increase your total benefits by $5,400.

Note: The Air Force calls this program a GI Bill kicker.

Applying for Buy-up

To apply you must be a Category 1 eligible servicemember and elect to contribute up to an additional $600 before you separate. This means you can contribute up to a total of $1,800 - your mandatory $1,200 payment when you sign up for MGIB benefits, plus $600. Active-duty members can contribute (to their military branch) in increments of $20 up to $600. You can use form DD-2366-1 to process your request.


Through the Tuition Assistance Top-Up program active-duty servicemembers can use the GI Bill to supplement the military provided TA program. Top-Up covers the difference between the total cost of a college course and the amount of Tuition Assistance that is paid by the military.

For example, if you were taking a course that costs $1000, your tuition assistance would cover approximately $750; you can use Top-Up to cover the remaining balance.

Top-up Eligibility

If you have served at least two full years on active duty, are eligible for the MGIB, and have been approved for federal tuition assistance by a military department, you are eligible for Top-Up.

The Top-up benefit is available for all courses that are eligible for military TA.

Top-Up is charged against your GI Bill Benefit

If you receive $550 for Top-Up, and your full-time rate is $1,101, divide $550 by $1101. Your entitlement charge is one-half month.

Applying for Top-Up

If you haven't previously filed a claim for MGIB, you should do the following:

  • Request TA from your branch of service. For more details, see the Tuition Assistance Overview.
  • Complete an application for VA education benefits, VA Form 22-1990. Indicate "Top-Up" on the VA application in item 1A under the MGIB-Active Duty block.
  • Send your TA approval form, along with the application for VA education benefits, to the VA Regional Processing Office that handles your claim. The address is on the form.

Accelerated Payments

You can receive accelerated payment for education leading to a High-Tech job!  Get more details on this program.

Expanded Vietnam-era Veteran Benefits

Vietnam-era Veterans may convert their Vietnam-era GI Bill benefits to the MGIB Bill.

Veterans may be eligible if they:

  • 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 June 30, 1987 if  entered Selected Reserve within 1 year of leaving active duty and served four years) and
  • Have entitlement left from Vietnam-Era GI Bill.

Certification Programs

The VA now permits payment for independent study programs if they lead to a certificate that reflects educational attainment offered by an institution of higher learning. Learn more about MGIB Certification Programs.

Applying for MGIB benefits

You can apply for the GI Bill by filling out and following the instructions on VA Form 22-1990, Application for Education Benefits. For more details, see How to Apply for Montgomery GI Bill Benefits and get started using your benefits today!

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GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at www.benefits.va.gov/gibill
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