Montgomery GI Bill Eligibility Details

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To be eligible for the Montgomery GI Bill you must meet the following two requirements, no matter when or how you originally become eligible for MGIB.

  • Character of discharge. To use MGIB after you're separated from active duty, your discharge must be fully honorable. Discharges "under honorable conditions" and "general" discharges don't establish eligibility for MGIB.Important Note: If you had more than one enlistment and received an "honorable" discharge from at least one of them, you may be eligible, regardless of your final discharge status.
  • High School Completion. To use MGIB as an active duty member or after you're separated from active duty, you must obtain a high school diploma or equivalency certificate before you apply for benefits. Completing 12 hours toward a college degree before you apply for benefits also meets this requirement.

In addition to the requirements above, you must meet requirements from one of the four categories below.

If you entered active duty before July 1, 1985, skip Category 1. You may only qualify under Categories 2, 3, or 4.


  • Entered active duty for the first time after June 30, 1985
  • Had military pay reduced by $100 a month for first 12 months
  • Continuously served for 3 years, OR 2 years if that is what you first enlisted for, OR 2 years if you entered Selected Reserve within a year of leaving active duty and served 4 years ("2 by 4" Program)


  • Entered active duty before January 1, 1977
  • Served at least 1 day between 10/19/84 and 6/30/85, and stayed on active duty through 6/30/88, (or 6/30/87 if you entered Selected Reserve within 1 year of leaving active duty and served 4 years)
  • On 12/31/89, you had entitlement left from Vietnam Era GI Bill


  • Not eligible for MGIB under Category I or II
  • On active duty on 9/30/90 AND separated involuntarily after 2/2/91,
  • OR involuntarily separated on or after 11/30/93,
  • OR voluntarily separated under either the Voluntary Separation Incentive (VSI) or Special Separation Benefit (SSB) program
  • Before separation, you had military pay reduced by $1200


  • On active duty on 10/9/96 AND you had money remaining in a VEAP account on that date AND you elected MGIB by 10/9/97
  • OR entered full-time National Guard duty under title 32, USC, between 7/1/85, and 11/28/89 AND you elected MGIB during the period 10/9/96, through 7/8/97
  • Had military pay reduced by $100 a month for 12 months or made a $1200 lump-sum contribution

The monthly benefit paid to you is based on the type of training you take, length of your service, your category, and if DOD put extra money in your MGIB Fund (called "kickers"). You usually have 10 years to use your MGIB benefits, but the time limit can be less, in some cases, and longer under certain circumstances.

You can apply at VA's Online Application Website. Call toll free 888-GI-BILL-1 for more information.

Eligibility Time Frame

Benefits under the MGIB generally end 10 years from the date of your last honorable  discharge or release from active duty, but some extenuating circumstances qualify for extensions. If your discharge is upgraded by the military, you will have 10 years of eligibility from the date of the upgrade.

Original Enrollment Process

The following details explain how an individual is originally enrolled for the Montgomery GI Bill.

  • Enlisted servicemembers are automatically enrolled at their first duty station (i.e., basic training, direct duty).
    • The option to disenroll must occur within the first three working days of entering active duty.
    • The member's DD Form 2366 (enrollment/disenrollment form) is initiated at the Military Entrance and Processing Station (MEPS), but it must be finalized after the MGIB briefing during the first duty station processing.
  • Officers are not automatically enrolled. They must enroll/disenroll prior to Officer Basic Course (OBC) (within three working days of entering active duty).
  • Individuals entering active duty for the first time (excluding active duty for training (ADT)) from the Selected Reserves are not automatically enrolled. The first duty station must ensure the individual has the opportunity to enroll/disenroll within the first three working days.
  • Disenrollment is a one-time, irrevocable decision.
  • Enrollment
    • Individual signs a statement of understanding, Department of Defense Form 2366, that they agree to a $100/month reduction in pay during first 12 months of active service
    • Monies reduced are not taxable and not refundable.
    • Monies reduced cannot be stopped or suspended

Keep Up With Your Education Benefits

Whether you need a guide on how to use your GI Bill, want to take advantage of tuition assistance and scholarships, or get the lowdown on education benefits available for your family, can help. Sign up for a free membership to have education tips and benefits updates delivered directly to your inbox.

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