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Tuition Assistance – Top-Up

Active Duty Military can use their GI Bill to cover the amount between the course tuition and the amount the Tuition Assistance pays per course.

On October 30, 2000, the President signed into law an amendment to the Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty education program that permits VA to pay a Tuition Assistance Top- up benefit. The amount of the benefit can be equal to the difference between the total cost of a college course and the amount of Tuition Assistance that is paid by the military for the course.

To be eligible for the Top-up benefit, the student must be approved for federal Tuition Assistance by a military department and be eligible for MGIB-Active Duty benefits. To be eligible for MGIB benefits, the person must be an MGIB – Active Duty participant and must have served at least 2 full years on Active Duty.

The amount of the benefit is limited to the amount that the person would receive for the same course if regular MGIB benefits were being paid. In no case can the amount paid by the military combined with the amount paid by VA be more than the total cost of the course.

If a person receives the Top-up benefit, his or her regular MGIB benefits will be reduced. The amount of entitlement charged for Top-up payments is determined by dividing the amount of the payment by the claimant’s full-time monthly rate.

The benefit is available for all courses that began on or after October 30, 2000. A copy of the Tuition Assistance Authorization form for the course that has been signed by an authorized military official will be required.
People who have not requested MGIB benefits before should submit a VA Form 22-1990 to establish eligibility.

The application and other evidence should be sent to one of VA’s four education processing offices in Atlanta, Buffalo, Muskogee (OK), or St. Louis. The application form is available here: Claims should specify that Tuition Assistance Top-up is being claimed.

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