The number of students veterans more than doubled in the U.S. between 2009 and 2013, and the Post-9/11 GI Bill and other educational benefits are continuing to bring new student veterans to college and university campuses in record numbers.
Because of their experiences, many student veterans have difficulty transitioning to higher education and relating to non-veteran students. According to federal VA statistics, only 15 percent of student veterans are traditionally aged college students (18-22). Most student veterans are between the ages of 24 and 40; many are married and also have children and other responsibilities unlike their fellow students.
You are not alone in the transition. ODVA and your local veteran service office can help you navigate the various educational benefits, scholarships and programs you may qualify for. Most post-secondary institutions (over 80 percent) have a designated point-of-contact for veteran students, such as a veteran coordinator or even a Veteran Resource Center, who can help you adjust and make the most of your college experience.
Explore below for more information about student veterans and the resources available to help you achieve your educational and vocational goals.
Resources and Information
Oregon National Guard State Tuition Assistance
The Oregon National Guard State Tuition Assistance (ONGSTA) program provides 100% funding for tuition at no more than the state residency rate to eligible Oregon Army and Air National Guard members at Oregon public universities and Oregon community colleges. The ONGSTA program provides an additional opportunity for eligible ONG members to obtain an associate or baccalaureate degree without being concerned with the obstacles of paying out of pocket tuition costs.
For more information: oregonstudentaid.gov/state-tuition-assistance.aspx
The Post-9/11 GI Bill provides financial support for
education and housing to honorably discharged veterans with at least 90 days of
aggregate service on or after September 11, 2001, or individuals discharged
with a service-connected disability after 30 days. This benefit provides up to 36
months of education benefits; generally benefits are payable for 15 years
following your release from active duty.
You qualify for this benefit if you:
at least 90 days aggregate service on Title 10 Active Duty or Title 32 Active
Guard Reserve Duty on or after September 11, 2001 or;
discharged with a service-connected disability after 30 days; and
an honorable discharge.
enrollment at more than half-time in a VA-approved training program. Programs
include undergraduate or graduate degrees, vocational training, licensing and
certification exams, in addition to others.
- Full tuition and fees paid directly to your school (you must
be an in-state student attending a public institution).
- If you attend a private or foreign school, tuition &
fees are capped at the national maximum rate of $18,077.50.
- A Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA) equal to the active duty
Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) for an E-5 with dependents. Click here to determine your MHA.
- If you are attending solely by distance learning, you will
receive one half of the BAH national average.
- MHA is not payable to individuals on active duty or those
enrolled at half-time or less.
- An annual books and supplies stipend of $1,000.
- A one-time rural benefit payment.
- Transferability of benefits to dependents and spouses of
veterans with six years of active duty service.
For more information: Federal VA: Post-9/11 GI Bill
Tillman Military Scholarship
The Pat Tillman Foundation’s Tillman Military Scholars
program is another great resource for removing financial barriers to higher
Each year, this program awards a select number of
scholarships to veterans across the country to cover not only direct
study-related expenses such as tuition and fees, but also other needs,
including housing and child care. Both veterans and their spouses are eligible
For more information:
contact your campus veteran services office or visit Tillman Military Scholarship
Montgomery GI Bill® (MGIB)
For qualified veterans, the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) can be a
valuable resource for reducing the cost of education and training programs.
This benefit can be used to pay for up to 36 months of costs for many different
- College degrees (undergraduate and graduate)
- Technical or Vocational Training
- Distance Learning or Correspondence Courses
- Apprenticeships/Job Training
- Flight Training
- Licensing and Certification Tests
- Entrepreneurship Training
- Certain Entrance Examinations
these benefits must be accessed within 10 years of your separation from active
duty. Unlike the Post-9/11 GI Bill, the Montgomery GI Bill is not transferable
to veterans’ family members.
You may be eligible for this benefit if you have an honorable
discharge and you have a high school diploma or GED, and if the nature of your
service meets all of the requirements of one of four VA qualification categories.
information: Federal VA: Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) Benefits
Tuition Assistance Top Up
Top-up allows the federal VA to reimburse you for all or a
portion of the charges for your college courses that are not covered under
certain military education programs. The amount of this benefit can be equal to
the difference between the total cost of a college course and the amount of
Tuition Assistance (TA) that is paid by the military for the course.
To be eligible for the Top-up benefit, you must be approved
for federal TA by a military department and be eligible for either Montgomery
GI Bill (MGIB) – Active Duty benefits or the Post-9/11 GI Bill.
For more information: Federal VA: Tuition Assistance Top Up
Yellow Ribbon GI Education Enhancement Program
This federal program provides additional funds toward your
education expenses at a number of participating colleges and universities nationwide.
It is meant to fill the payment gap in situations where the maximum amount
awarded by your Post 9/11 GI Bill falls short of the total cost of attendance
at your school.
Institutions voluntarily enter into a Yellow Ribbon
Agreement with VA and choose the amount of tuition and fees that will be
contributed. VA matches that amount and issues payments directly to the
institution, with no additional charge to your GI Bill entitlement. Contact
your institution to see if they participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program.
To access this benefit, you must:
- Be entitled to the maximum benefit rate of the Post 9/11 GI
- Not be on active duty or a spouse using transferred
- Dependent transferees may be eligible in certain
- Be attending an institution participating in the Yellow
- Your school must certify your enrollment to the VA.
- Your school must have not offered Yellow Ribbon to more than
the maximum number of individuals, as stated in their participation agreement.
For more information: Federal VA: Yellow Ribbon Program
Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP)
REAP provides educational assistance to members of the
Reserve components called to active duty in response to a war or national
emergency declared by the president or Congress.
Eligible veterans must be a member of a Ready Reserve
component (Selected Reserve, Individual Ready Reserve, or Inactive National
Guard) to pay into the “buy-up” program. National Guard members are eligible if they
were serving under Title 32 orders for 90 consecutive days as authorized by the
president or secretary of defense for a national emergency and that was
supported by federal funds.
The Post-9/11 GI Bill in many ways has replaced REAP because
it also provides educational assistance benefits for Reserve and National Guard
members called to active duty on or after September 11, 2001, and in many cases
provides a greater benefit than REAP.
For more information: Federal VA: Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP)
College Credit for Military Training
You can receive college credit for certain types of
education and training you received in the military, saving you money and time
as you pursue your education goals.
All universities and local community colleges throughout
Oregon accept guidance from the American Council on Education (ACE), which
provides recommendations on how to award academic credit for military training.
To claim college credit for military training, request a
transcript from your military service branch and submit it to your local higher
Request a transcript: Veterans of the Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps,
and Navy can access their Joint Services Transcript (JST) online by visiting
the JST website. Air Force veterans should
contact the Community College of the Air Force (CCAF) to receive transcripts.
Nonresident Veteran In-State Tuition
Attending college in Oregon is now more affordable for some recently-relocated veterans thanks to an Oregon law eliminating out-of-state education costs. Oregon House Bill 2158, signed into
law in the summer of 2013, states that if you are a veteran of the armed forces
pursuing undergraduate studies at a public institution in Oregon, you will pay
tuition rates and fees no greater than the Oregon resident rate — even if you are
not yet considered a permanent resident of the state.
These savings also apply to veterans’ dependents using
transferred benefits, as well as orphans of veterans who died on active duty.
Note: Certain online-only programs may be excluded from this
This benefit does not apply to graduate students or active
duty military members or their dependents.
For Graduate Students
Similar to the above program, HB 4021, signed into law in
the spring of 2014, reduces out-of-state tuition costs for nonresident veterans
attending graduate school in Oregon.
Under this program, qualified student-veterans will have their nonresident tuition
reduced after all other VA benefits and Gift Aid (grants and fee remissions)
have been deducted. Loans received through financial aid do not fall into this
For more information:
contact the veterans’ service office or financial aid office at your local
Voyager Tuition Assistance Program
Voyager is a tuition benefit that is available to Oregon
veterans who served as members of the National Guard or Reserves in an active
duty capacity in a combat zone on or after September 11, 2001.
Under this program, eligible student veterans will be
awarded a fee remission for no more than the difference between campus tuition
and mandatory fees and expected military tuition benefits. This program is
meant to work in conjunction with other educational aid programs; thus, you are
still responsible for obtaining federal military tuition benefits. If you are not
eligible for federal tuition benefits, you must demonstrate proof of
What it covers:
Voyager is a "last dollar award," meaning it works
to ensure that you do not pay tuition costs if your other federal military
education benefits fall short. The typical maximum length of the award is four
years for undergraduate programs (a fifth year may be approved under certain
programs). This benefit is only available to those seeking their initial
bachelor’s degree, and it carries a maximum credit limit of 15 course credits
beyond the minimum needed for degree completion.
The Voyager Tuition Assistance Program does not cover
E-Campus or Distance courses. This benefit is not transferable to a veteran’s
spouse or dependents.
For more information: Contact your campus financial services office.
Statewide Apprenticeships (BOLI)
Are you a veteran seeking training in the construction,
industrial or manufacturing trades? If so, you may be able to use your
veterans’ educational benefits for apprenticeship programs such as Oregon
Apprenticeship Opportunities Statewide.
This program, offered through the Oregon Bureau of Labor and
Industries (BOLI) in partnership with Oregon businesses and local
apprenticeship committees, offers career opportunities through paid on-the-job
training and education, with a focus on building and industrial career fields.
If an existing apprenticeship program does not have an
approved veteran’s program in place, you can coordinate the establishment of a
new training program by communicating with an employer and the Apprenticeship
and Training Division.
For more information: Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI): Apprenticeship and Training Division
Veterans Educational Assistance Program (VEAP)
VEAP is available if you elected to make contributions from
your military pay to participate in this education benefit program. The
government matches your contributions on a 2-for-1 basis.
Educational programs for which these benefits may be used
include college degree and certificate programs, technical or vocational
training, flight training, apprenticeships, and licensing and certification
tests, as well as various others.
Benefit entitlement is for one to 36 months, depending on
the number of monthly contributions. You have 10 years from your release from
active duty to use VEAP benefits. If the entitlement is not used after the
10-year period, your portion remaining in the fund will be automatically
If you are currently on active duty and wish to receive VEAP
benefits, you must have at least three months of contributions available.
For more information: Federal VA: Veterans Educational Assistance Program (VEAP)
GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at https://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.