Montgomery GI Bill For Selected Reserve ProgramUpdated: December 23, 2022
The Montgomery GI Bill for Selected Reserve program is an educational benefit provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs for qualifying members of the United States Military serving as members of the Reserve or the National Guard.
Members of the following services may be eligible for the Montgomery GI Bill:
- Air Force Reserve
- Army Reserve
- Navy Reserve
- Marine Corps Reserve
- Coast Guard Reserve
- Army National Guard
- Air National Guard
What is the Montgomery GI Bill for Selected Reserve?
The Montgomery GI Bill for Selected Reserve, often abbreviated as MGIB-SR, offers up to 36 months of educational benefits for those who meet the following criteria:
- The applicant is an enlisted member with a six-year service obligation in the Selected Reserve
- The applicant is an officer in the Selected Reserve and commits to an additional six years above and beyond the initial service obligation
- The applicant has completed Initial Active Duty for Training (IADT)
- The applicant has a high school diploma, a High School Equivalency Diploma, or GED, before finishing IADT
- The applicant remains in good standing while working in an active Selected Reserve unit
What is Covered by the Montgomery GI Bill For Selected Reserve?
Eligible members of the Guard and Reserve may use the MGIB-SR for the following types of higher learning:
- Undergraduate and graduate degree programs
- Non-college degree technical or vocational courses
- Flight training
- On-the-job training
- High-tech non-degree programs (two years or less)
- Co-op training
- Licensing and certification tests
- Entrepreneurship training
- Qualifying entrance examinations or national testing
- Correspondence courses
Some remedial or refresher courses may also qualify, but these may be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
How is Eligibility Determined for the MGIB-SR?
Your Reserve component will decide who is eligible and who is not. That decision is NOT made at the Department of Veterans Affairs. You will need to discuss current requirements based on the service you are with, via your orderly room, 1st Sergeant, base education office, etc.
Can I Use The MGIB-SR with Other VA Educational Benefits?
As per the Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans are only eligible to use one VA education benefit at a time. That does not mean you cannot use the MGIB-SR in conjunction with a state-level Veteran education benefit, but you may not use two VA programs at once. Remember: there are scholarships that specifically target Service Members.
Generally speaking, you may be eligible for a maximum of 48 months of VA education benefits based on getting access to more than one VA program.
VA Vocational Rehabilitation
Vocational rehabilitation, or voc rehab, is an education benefit provided by the VA for injured and/or disabled Veterans. Voc Rehab differs from other education benefits in that it is specifically designed to assist the Veteran in gaining employment. Therefore, more restrictions apply for what education paths are approved.
This benefit may be used in addition to other DoD and VA funded education programs. Just like all programs, there is an eligibility and application process that can be done in person or started on eBenefits. For Reserve members: if you have a service connected disability of 20% or greater, you are also eligible.
Montgomery GI Bill For Selected Reserve Restrictions
Those who choose to have their total service in the Selected Reserve counted towards eligibility for the Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty program known as “2×4” are not eligible for the MGIB-SR. The 2×4 program lets members choose to have their service count towards the Active Duty version of the MGIB with two continuous years of service and a four-year commitment to the Selected Reserve, as long as the Service Member enters the Selected Reserve within a year of leaving active duty military service.
There is one exception: those who commit to an additional six years of Selected Reserve duty will become eligible for both the MGIB-SR and the active duty version of the MGIB. Again, you cannot use both benefits at the same time.
How Do I Sign Up for The MGIB-SR?
You will need the following:
- DD Form 2384-1
- Notice of Basic Eligibility
You may obtain the forms from your unit when you become eligible for the MGIB-SR or download them from eBenefits. Like all DoD and VA funded programs that are additional to your drilling obligations, you need to consult with your unit and enlist their help.
When you are approved by the VA, you will need to submit VA Form 22-1990, Application for Education Benefits to your closest VA regional office, OR via eBenefits online.
If You have Already Started School
Fill out an Application for VA Education Benefits VA Form 22-1990. Take your application and your Notice of Basic Entitlement to your school and ask them to complete VA Form 22-1999 and submit to the VA.
What About the Forever GI Bill?
Those who are eligible for the MGIB-SR may, depending on circumstances, become eligible to sign up for the new Forever GI Bill. This applies to members of the Selected Reserve who are called to duty at the request of a governor seeking help during a major emergency or natural disaster.
Eligibility for the Forever GI Bill is also possible for those who qualify for MGIB-SR if they are mobilized in support of a combatant command. Note: benefits targeting active duty Service Members are eligible for Guard and Reserve dependent on time spent activated. For Service Members who joined the military PRIOR to the Forever GI Bill, and have significant activated time post-9/11, the amount of education benefits paid for by the VA are increased.
Transferability: Can my Dependents Use this Program?
The Montgomery GI Bill for Selected Reserve IS NOT transferrable. However, if you qualify for the Forever GI Bill, the benefit IS transferrable IF: you have at least six years of service AND commit to four more years of service.
Note: the author used to speak about this issue to Reserve units. It may seem frustrating that you cannot transfer all of your benefits to your dependents. The good news is due to the increased utilization of the Guard and Reserve post-9/11, most Service Members qualify for at least a portion of the Forever GI Bill, which is transferrable.
Tia Christopher is a proud US Navy Veteran. Christopher’s writing has focused on explaining military benefits in plain language and helping fellow service members transition from the military. Christopher was recognized in 2013 by the White House as a Woman Veteran Champion of Change.