Watch CBS News

How The Montgomery GI Bill Is Motivating Our Servicemembers

Veterans Education
Photo by John Moore/Getty Images

Have you ever heard of the Montgomery GI Bill? Created in 1983, the bill assists members of the military so they can pursue degrees in higher education and additional training for flight training, apprenticeships and more. The Montgomery GI Bill has two programs that provide support: the Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty and the Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve. Each program provides education benefits that can be used for a number of purposes. Here’s a rundown of what’s available for active duty service members and reservists under the bill.

Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty

The Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty (MGIB-AD) provides assistance for those who wish to pursue a college degree and is available for veterans and service members who have at least two years of active duty, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. However, assistance through MGIB-AD can be used beyond traditional college classrooms, too, including technical and vocational courses; tests for licensing and certification, such as for a mechanic, therapist, and other professions; and some entrance exams, including the SAT, LSAT and DAT. Those who qualify for MGIB-AD must apply to receive benefits.

Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve

Members of the Selected Reserve or the Ready Reserve of any of the Reserve components of the Armed Forces may be eligible to receive education and training benefits through the Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR). Similar to the MGIB-AD, those who meet the eligibility requirements may receive benefits for college degrees, as well as flight training; entrepreneurship training, such as for a future owner of a small business; and apprenticeships and on-the-job training for union plumbers, hotel management and fire fighters. Applicants must meet certain requirements to receive benefits.

Veterans Affairs education beneficiaries

There are also a number of Veterans Affairs education beneficiaries, with a total of approximately 1.1 million people receiving education benefits in fiscal year 2013, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. This figure includes the MGIB-SR and MGIB-AD programs, as well as other education programs. The total also represents an increase from the approximately 950,000 people who received education benefits in fiscal year 2012. The Department of Veterans Affairs has also estimated that 25 percent of people benefiting from the education programs are non-veterans.

Million Records Project

The Montgomery GI Bill and Post-9/11 GI Bill programs that provide assistance have translated to a number of student veterans earning degrees, too. Through the Million Records Project, which is a study by Student Veterans of America, the National Student Clearinghouse, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, it was found that “A majority (51.7 percent) of student veterans in this sample earned a post-secondary degree or certificate.” According to the Student Veterans of America's website, the Million Records Project was based on "randomly selected sample of approximately 1 million Montgomery and Post-9/11 GI Bill veteran education beneficiary records from 2002 to 2010."

Other Educational Resources

In addition to receiving education benefits, veterans, service members and reservists are also receiving additional support in the classroom. Many colleges and universities are increasingly realizing that those who have served or are currently serving in the military may have special needs, and are providing a number of resources. For example, many colleges and universities have programs in place to help active-duty service members complete their degrees, and may also provide special assistance for improving study skills or providing on-campus support networks for veterans. Other programs include one-on-one help in navigating and receiving benefits to complete a degree.

The MGIB is one of many programs in place to help service members, reservists, veterans and their families and dependents by providing education benefits for pursuing college degrees, job-training and apprenticeships.

Megan Horst-Hatch is a runner, reader, baker, gardener, knitter, and other words that end in "-er." She is also the president of Megan Writes, LLC. Her work can be found at

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.