National Guard GI Bill User's Guide

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GI Bill benefits are available for Selected Reserve servicemembers to help with education and training costs, this guide will help to explain the Montgomery GI Bill - Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR).

The MGIB-SR is available to members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard Reserves, as well as the National Guard.

Besides the MGIB-SR, activated reserve and Guard servicemembers have two other GI Bill options.

  • The Montgomery GI Bill-Active Duty for those who serve continuously for 24 or more months on active duty and paid the $1,200 to buy into the program
  • The Post-9/11 GI Bill for reservists and guard members who were called to active duty under federal (title 10) orders.

The MGIB-SR benefit is worth over $11,000. This amount is based on the current monthly full-time student payment rate multiplied by the 36-month limit. This "payment rate" automatically increases on October 1 each year. You get the increase no matter when you became eligible or start using it.

See our Montgomery GI Bill-Selected Reserve payment rates page for current payment amounts.

Note: Your actual benefits may be higher if you signed up for the Army, Navy or Marine Corps College Funds.

MGIB-SR Eligibility

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

  • Have 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 888-GIBILL-1 or visit their website at

Step-by-Step Application Instructions

Although the GI Bill application process can be time consuming it is relatively easy and worth the time invested. 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 VA's School Comparison Tool 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 on the VA's website.

Step Three

In most cases, the school will send your enrollment information to the VA regional office with jurisdiction over the State or area where you will train. This will expedite the process.

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 payments 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 888-GIBILL-1. It only takes a couple of minutes, but you will not get your monthly payment until you do.

These four simple steps will lead to over $11,000 in education benefits. It's well worth the effort, so don't wait until it is too late, get started today!

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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