National Guard Education Benefits

It’s a common misconception that only career military personnel receive the really good benefits. It’s simply not true, and for proof, here are some of the great education benefits available to members of the National Guard.

Federal Tuition Assistance

The Guard can pay up to 100% of your college tuition and general fees, up to $4,500 per year—that’s up to $18,000 over four years. The amount is based on in-state public institution tuition rates, and can be applied to the other financial assistance programs listed below.

In addition, many states also offer college funding such as State Tuition Waivers that reduce a percentage of the cost of tuition even more. Ask your recruiter about state tuition assistance.

Find out more about federal and state Tuition Assistance.

Note: Federal Tuition Assistance is based on funds availability and is issued on a first come, first served basis.

Montgomery GI Bill

In addition to having your college tuition paid for, you may qualify for the Montgomery GI Bill for a monthly allowance of up to $356 totaling more than $12,000 in a four-year period. Best of all, this money is sent directly to you (not to your school) to spend on books, supplies—or anything you want.

Post-9/11 GI Bill

For Soldiers with at least 90 days of Active Duty service on or after September 11, 2001, the Post-9/11 GI Bill can cover up to 100% of your tuition, depending on the length of time you’ve served. You may also be eligible for an annual stipend of $1,000 for books and supplies, and your benefits may be transferrable to your dependents.

Plus, for individuals paying higher private school, graduate school or out-of-state tuitions, the Yellow Ribbon Program may be able to provide the necessary additional funding.

Army National Guard Kicker

The Army National Guard Kicker supplement to the Montgomery GI Bill pays up to $350 per month in living expenses—up to $12,600 over 36 months. You’ll need to apply and qualify for this program.

Learn more about GI Bill and Army National Guard Kicker benefits.

Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) Scholarships

ROTC is a college elective that allows you to earn a commission straight out of college as a second lieutenant in the Army. This leadership program also provides a way to help hold down the cost of college by offering two-, three- and four-year ROTC scholarships, as well as monthly allowances for some cadets.

Scholarships include:

  • A wide range of merit-based scholarships that pay up to full college tuition
  • Additional funds to pay for books, supplies and other school fees
  • Tax-free stipends up to $500 per month if you qualify

All ROTC scholarships require a service commitment. Your local recruiter or your school’s military science department or can furnish complete details.

Student Loan Repayment Program (SLRP)

For Soldiers and officers who have an existing student loan obligation at the time of enlistment in the Guard, the Student Loan Repayment Program (SLRP) may pay up to $50,000 for certain jobs, with a six- or eight-year enlistment as a member of a unit.

In addition, current Guard members who extend their enlistment contract for a minimum period of six years are also eligible for this program, provided they meet certain requirements, including a qualifying score on the Armed Forces Qualifying Test and being in a valid Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) in a National Guard unit.

This incentive is also available to applicants entering Officer Candidate School (you must have at least 90 college credit hours and agree to a minimum six-year commitment).

Additional Programs and Resources

The Guard has other programs and services to help you earn additional college credits, prepare for your graduate school exam, or even get your GED—all while earning your Guard pay. Learn more about:


For more information about all benefits available to members of the National Guard, download our 2013 Guard and Reserve Handbook.

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