Army Reserve Bonus and Incentive Overview

The Army Reserve offers many incentives for joining; these include several types of cash signing bonuses and education bonuses. If you qualify for more than one bonus the Army Reserve may combine them to pay a combined bonus, which is not to exceed $20,000.

Most cash enlistment incentives may also be combined with either the Army Reserve’s Loan Repayment Program or the Army Reserve GI Bill Kicker, but not both

Army Reserve Cash Bonuses

If you enlist in the Army Reserve for six years you may qualify for a combination of bonuses that depend on reserve vacancies, how quickly you can report to training, advanced civilian skills, level of education and more. 

The following is a quick summary of the current Army Reserve Cash Bonus:

  • Non-Prior Service Enlistment Bonuses – up to $20,000
  • Seasonal/Quick Ship Bonuses – up to $5,000
  • High School Sr. Bonuses – $1,000
  • Prior Service Incentives – up to $10,000
  • Army Reserve Prior Education Bonus – up to $4,000
  • Army Reserve Bonus For Civilian Skills – $5,000
  • Army Reserve Chaplain Bonus

Army Reserve enlistment bonus $20,000 (Non-Prior Service)

Qualified Army Reserve applicants without previous military service who enlist for six years may qualify for combined bonuses of up to $20,000, depending on the Reserve unit vacancy and how quickly the individual can report to training.

Army Reserve Soldiers also must agree to remain in the Inactive Reserve for two more years - a total obligation of not less than eight years. 

Army Reserve seasonal/quick-ship bonuses

There is a $5,000 quick-ship bonus for those who enlist for a job with a primary vacancy and agree to report for training within 30 days of enlistment.  This bonus is for applicants without prior service and may be combined with other enlistment incentives. 

High School Senior Ship Bonus $1,000 Bonus

If you are a high school senior who has already contracted or plan to join the Army Reserve for a standard six-year enlistment and agree to report for training by a set date you can receive an additional $1,000 cash enlistment bonus, provided you complete high school and receive your diploma.

This bonus may be combined with other enlistment incentives, up to the maximum $20,000 bonus combination depending on their reservation dates.  The high school senior bonus will be paid in conjunction with any other non-prior service enlistment bonuses for which the recruit qualifies: 50 percent upon completion of initial entry training and the remainder paid on the second and fourth anniversaries of the enlistment contract

Army Reserve Prior Service Bonuses

If you have prior military service and meet the qualifications you may be eligible for a bonus of $15,000 for a six-year enlistment or $7,500 for a three-year enlistment.

Army Reserve Education Bonuses for Prior Education

If you are non-prior service applicant and hold a college degree you can earn the following bonuses for enlisting in a priority:

  • A Bachelors’ degree you can earn $4,000 for a three or six year enlistment.
  • An Associate or two-year degree can earn you $3,000. 
  • 60 or more college semester hours can qualify you for a $2,000 bonus
  • 30 to 59 college semester hours can earn you a $1,000 bonus.

Army Reserve Bonus For Civilian Skills

Qualified applicants who already have civilian skills that the Army Reserve needs and enlist for three or more years may be eligible for a $5,000 bonus.

Reserve Chaplain bonus

Individuals who enter the Army Reserve to serve six years as a Reserve Troop Program Unit Chaplain may be eligible for a bonus of up to $6,000.  The bonus is payable in a lump sum following the completion of the Chaplain Officer Basic Course, which must be completed within 36 months of commissioning.

Army Reserve Education Bonuses and Incentives

The Army Reserve offers several education related incentives including the following:

  • Student Loan Repayment – up to $65,000 to repay student debt.
  • Army Reserve College Fund – up to $71,000 when combined with the Montgomery GI Bill.

Note: Most cash enlistment incentives may also be combined with either the Army Reserve’s Loan Repayment Program or the Army Reserve College Fund, but not both

Student Loan Repayment Program

If you enlist for at least six years you may be eligible for the Reserve Student Loan Repayment Program offers eligible recruits who in a Selected Reserve Troop Program Unit up to $10,000 toward qualifying student loans.  Selected job specialties offer up to $20,000. 

The Reserve Student Loan Repayment Program is also available to eligible recruits who choose the three-year enlistment option in a Selected Reserve Troop Program Unit.  Eligible recruits can receive $500 or 15 percent repayment on the outstanding balance of qualifying student loans (whichever is greater) for each year in the TPU, up to $4,500.  Selected job specialties offer up to $9,000.

Army Reserve GI Bill and Kicker

The Army Reserve offers a Selected Reserve Montgomery GI Bill up to $11,124. If you qualify for and accept a critical skill position in the Army Reserve you could earn up to $23,724 with the MGIB Kicker.

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