National Guard GI Bill User's Guide

The Montgomery GI Bill can be hard to understand, the following guide will help you cut through the confusion and access the benefits you deserve. GI Bill benefits are available for National Guard servicemembers to help with education and training costs. The guide topics include the following:

  • A MGIB-SR Benefits Overview
  • Step-by-Step Application Instructions
  • Related GI Bill Programs

The Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR, Chapter 1606) is available to members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard Reserves, as well as the Army National Guard and the Air Guard.

In addition to the MGIB-SR, Guard and Reserve servicemembers who have been activated under federal orders have several other GI Bill options.

The first of these programs gives those who serve continuously for 24 or more months on active duty, the option to pay into the GI Bill for active duty (Chapter 30). The second program, called the Reserve Education Assistance Program (REAP). REAP provides activated reserve and guard members up to 80 percent of the GI Bill for active duty (Chapter 30). This program is further explained on the REAP fact sheet.

The third and most recent GI Bill program is open to members of the Guard and Reserve who have been activated for 90 or more days. The new Post 9/11 GI Bill offers new benefits including tuition, fees, and stipends for housing and books. Learn more about the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

The MGIB SR Chapter 1606 benefit is worth more than $11,000. This amount is based on the 2010-2011 monthly full-time student payment rate of $337 multiplied by the 36 month limit. This "payment rate" automatically adjusts on October 1 each year. You get the current payment rate no matter when you became eligible or start using it.

MGIB SR Eligibility

To be eligible for the MGIB SR you must meet the following criteria:

  • Agree to a six-year obligation to serve in the Selected Reserve or Guard signed after June 30, 1985. If you are an officer, you must have agreed to serve six years in addition to your original obligation.
  • Complete your initial active duty for training (IADT).
  • Meet the requirement to receive a high school diploma or equivalency certificate before completing IADT.
  • Remain in good standing while serving in an active Selected Reserve unit.

Using Your GI Bill

Your GI Bill can be used to pay for many different programs including the following:

Note: Only VA representatives can answer specific questions about your GI Bill account. You can reach them at 1-888-GIBILL-1.

Step-by-Step Application Instructions

Although the GI Bill application process can be time consuming it is worth the time and effort. In most cases the process could take you four steps, or less!

Step One

Find a school that has VA approved training or education programs. Be sure to ask the admissions counselor if the school meets the requirements to use the GI Bill. You can use the School Finder to locate a school or institution that fits the bill.

Note: Most regionally and nationally accredited colleges and universities have VA approved programs.

Step Two

Complete the Application for Education Benefits, VA Form 22-1990. Your school's registrar's office usually has copies of the form on hand. In addition, you must also submit a copy of the Notice of Basic Eligibility (DD Form 2384 or 2384-1) your unit gave you when you become eligible.

Step Three

In most cases, the school will send your application along with their paperwork to the VA regional office with jurisdiction over the State or area where you will train. This will expedite the process. However, if you have not found a school yet, you can still apply for your VA Eligibility Determination by mailing your completed VA Form 22-1990 to your VA Regional Processing Office.

Within four to eight weeks you should receive a declaration of eligibility and a letter explaining your VA GI Bill benefits. Keep in mind that it is not uncommon to get a letter from the VA requesting more information. You will have to answer the Department of Veteran's Affairs requests to be determined eligible and complete the process.

Step Four

Once you begin receiving your benefit checks (Direct Deposit) you will have to complete the VA's Web Automated Verification of Eligibility (WAVE) process each month to continue to receive your monthly benefits payments.

The WAVE is a simple process that requires you to either log-on to the VA WAVE website or call their toll-free number at 1-888-GIBILL-1. It only takes a couple of minutes, but you will not get your monthly payment until you do.

Depending on your eligibility these four simple steps will lead to over $38,000 in education benefits. It's well worth the effort, so don't wait until it is too late, get started today!

GI Bill Related Topics

The GI Bill offers several programs. The following links will help you learn to get the most of the GI Bill.

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
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