Benefits for Specific Groups and Other Options

There are several financial assistance programs benefiting special groups:

Veterans and Their Dependents

Federal Educational Benefits

The Montgomery GI Bill and the Montgomery GI Bill-Selected Reserve provide educational benefits for individuals entering military service or the reserves for the first time after June 30, 1985. Reservists who have enlisted for six or more years after July 1, 1985, may be eligible for the Selected Reserve Education Benefit.

Who is Eligible?

You may be an eligible veteran if you got an honorable discharge AND you have a high school diploma or GED or, in some cases, 12 hours of college credit, AND you meet the requirements of one of the categories below:


  • 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 three years, OR two years if that is what you first enlisted for, OR two years if you entered Selected Reserve within a year of leaving active duty and served four years ("2 by 4" Program)


  • Entered active duty before January 1, 1977
  • Served at least one day between October 19, 1984 and June 30, 1985, and stayed on active duty through June 30, 1988 (or June 30, 1987 if you entered Selected Reserve within one year of leaving active duty and served four years)
  • On December 31, 1989, you had entitlement left from Vietnam Era GI Bill


  • Not eligible for MGIB under Category I or II
  • On active duty on September 30, 1990, AND separated involuntarily after February 2, 1991
  • OR involuntarily separated on or after November 30, 1993
  • OR voluntarily separated under either the Voluntary Separation Incentive (VSI) or Special Separation Benefit (SSB) program
  • Before separation, you had military pay reduced by $1,200


  • On active duty on October 9, 1996, AND you had money remaining in a VEAP account on that date AND you elected MGIB by October 9, 1997
  • OR entered full-time National Guard duty under title 32, USC, between July 1, 1985 and November 28, 1989, AND you elected MGIB during the period of October 9, 1996 through July 8, 1997
  • Had military pay reduced by $100 a month for 12 months or made a $1,200 lump-sum contribution

VEAP is the post-Vietnam era Veterans Educational Assistance Program for those who entered active duty for the first time between January 1, 1977 and June 30, 1985, and contributed to the VEAP fund while on active duty or had contributions made for them by the military.

To qualify you must meet the following requirements:

  • Entered service for the first time between January 1, 1977, and June 30, 1985;
  • Opened a contribution account before April 1, 1987;
  • Voluntarily contributed from $25 to $2,700;
  • Completed your first period of service; and
  • Were discharged or released from service under conditions other than dishonorable.

If you are currently on active duty and wish to receive VEAP benefits, you must have at least three months of contributions available.

Service-disabled veterans may be eligible for vocational rehabilitation from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Benefits may include education or training to qualify for employment, counseling, tutorial assistance, and medical services.

Educational benefits also are available to veterans' dependents if the veteran (spouse or parent) died in service, was totally disabled, or is listed as missing in action or captured in the line of duty by a hostile force or a foreign government power.

With the Veterans' Work-Study program, eligible veterans are paid for working at U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs facilities. They earn the federal minimum or state minimum wage, whichever is lower.

For more information, contact your college's Office of Veterans Affairs, the local office of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (in the phone book under U.S. Government Offices), or call toll-free: 800-827-1000.

Disabled Students

Disabled students who meet the academic qualifications for a college should apply for admission and, if needed, financial aid. By law, a qualified student cannot be excluded from college solely because of a disability.

All public schools and colleges and many independent schools provide disabled student services. Benefits may include counseling, tutoring, readers, interpreters, note takers, special parking zones, and loan of special equipment. You may also request that a class be relocated to a more accessible place on campus.

Your student budget, as calculated by the colleges, should include all educational expenses necessary to accommodate your disability. Be sure to work with your financial aid offices if you apply, so they understand your particular circumstances.

For more information, contact schools' disabled students' office or the national organizations serving your particular disability.

You may also want to visit the website of the HEATH Resource Center of the George Washington University, Graduate School of Education and Human Development New Window icon, or you may call 202-973-0904 or 800-544-3284, write to The George Washington University, HEATH Resource Center, 2121 K Street, NW Suite 220, Washington, DC 20037, or e-mail

For information on benefits for service-disabled veterans, call the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs at 800-827-1000.

Native Americans

Native American students who can prove membership in a federally recognized tribe may receive education grants from the Federal Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) New Window icon.


Athletes considering a National Collegiate Athletic Association college should contact the NCAA for information on college recruiting rules, grade point average and testing requirements. Visit New Window icon or write to the NCAA at 700 W. Washington Ave., PO Box 6222, Indianapolis, IN, 46206-6222, or call 317-917-6222.

Get Creative with Your Options

Here are some options that may help in paying your way through college:

The Military

Educational benefits and scholarships are available to those who serve in the U.S. Armed Forces. In some programs, enlistees receive an education first, and serve an equivalent amount of military time after graduation. Other programs allow you to accumulate money for an education while completing an initial enlistment period. Some scholarships pay full tuition and all instructional fees, and may include a living allowance. Loan repayment is also available to Army service personnel. For more information, contact your local Armed Forces recruiting office.

AmeriCorps is a service program administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service and allows people of all ages and backgrounds to earn help paying for education in exchange for a year of service.

Working Your Way Through College

It may not be possible to earn all your own college costs, but a part-time or summer job can help reduce the amount you'll need to borrow. School employment offices can help you find a job on or off campus.

On some campuses, work-study or student assistant programs help students find career-related jobs.

Finishing College Sooner - AP Exams

High school students can take the College Board's Advanced Placement examinations and receive college credit for honors courses or independent study in foreign languages, English, history, science, mathematics, music, and art. Advanced college placement avoids repeating work and could save the cost of up to one year of study. See your high school counselor for details.