2021 Montgomery GI Bill Rates – How Much is Your MGIB Benefit Worth?

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The Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) is one of the most valuable benefits available to military members and veterans. In many cases, it is worth tens of thousands of dollars in education benefits. If you want to know how much you can earn in MGIB benefits, then check out these GI Bill Rates tables to find…

The Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) is one of the most valuable benefits available to military members and veterans. In many cases, it is worth tens of thousands of dollars in education benefits. If you want to know how much you can earn in MGIB benefits, then check out these GI Bill Rates tables to find the corresponding monthly payments based on your GI Bill program and the educational program you are attending.

Montgomery GI Bill RatesAbout these GI Bill rates: Each year the VA reassesses the cost of tuition and updates the benefits paid to GI Bill recipients. In most cases, the value of the Montgomery GI Bill increases each year based on the Consumer Price Index. We update this information each year to reflect the new GI Bill rates and present the most accurate information we can.

That said, each situation is unique, and this chart should only be used as a reference. You should contact the VA and your educational institution to determine your eligibility and the status of your benefits. Remember – Montgomery GI Bill benefits expire 10 years after your last separation from active duty, so be sure to use them before they do!

Montgomery GI Bill Benefits

The Montgomery GI Bill for Active Duty military members (MGIB-AD/Chapter 30) is probably the most common GI Bill plan, and those are the rates covered in this article. The MGIB is the GI Bill plan military members were given the opportunity to buy into for $1,200 during basic training.

There is another GI Bill plan, the Post 9/11 GI Bill, which is available to military members who served after September 11, 2001. The Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits are paid directly to the school or educational institution (more info below).

The MGIB can be used while the member is on active duty or after they separate. However, it is generally better to use Tuition Assistance benefits while serving on active duty, and saving your GI Bill until after you leave military service. The MGIB expires 10 years after the member separates from military service.

Montgomery GI Bill Monthly Rates – 2020-2021

The Montgomery GI Bill offers eligible recipients a monthly stipend while they are attending classes at a qualified training institution. The checks are sent on a monthly basis and are made payable to the student. This allows you to pocket the money if your company is covering your tuition.

Payments to students who are on active duty status are limited to the reimbursement of tuition and fees. If the servicemember uses military tuition assistance, the payments are limited to the difference between the tuition assistance and the remaining tuition and fees.

The following payment rates for the Montgomery GI Bill are good for the Fiscal Year 2021, or from October 1, 2020, through September 30, 2021:

Montgomery GI Bill Institutional Training Rates

MGIB Institutional Training Rates (3 or More Years of Service)

Institutional Training TimeMonthly GI Bill Rate
Full Time$2,122.00
¾ Time$1,591.50
½ Time$1,061.00
Less than ½ time more than ¼ time$1,061.00**
¼ Time or less$530.50**

MGIB Institutional Training Rates (Less Than 3 Years of Service)

Rates are given for servicemembers who served 3 years or more on Active Duty. If you served fewer than 3 years:

Institutional Training Time
(Less than 3 Years)
Monthly GI Bill Rate
Full Time$1,722.00
¾ Time$1,291.50
½ Time$861.00
Less than ½ time more than ¼ time$861.00**
¼ Time or less$430.50**

MGIB Apprenticeship and On-the-Job-Training Rates

MGIB Rates for Apprenticeships & OJT (3 or More years of Service)

The MGIB can also be used for apprenticeships and On-Job Training. The following rates cover these types of training:

Apprenticeship and On-Job TrainingMonthly GI Bill Rate
First six months of training$1,591.50
Second six months of training$1,167.10
Remaining pursuit of training$742.70

MGIB Rates for Apprenticeships & OJT (Less Than 3 Years of Service)

Apprenticeship and On-Job Training
(Less than 3 Years)
Monthly GI Bill Rate
First six months of training$1,291.50
Second six months of training$947.10
Remaining pursuit of training$602.70

Additional notes about these MGIB Rates:

  • Correspondence and Flight – Entitlement charged at the rate of one month for each $1,722.00 paid.
  • Cooperative – $1,722.00
  • ** Tuition and Fees only. Payment cannot exceed the listed amount.

Entitlement Under Chapter 34 of Title 38, U.S.C. Chapter 30 Category II

Some veterans may be eligible for GI Bill benefits under a different category or program. The VA has a Chapter 30 Eligibility pamphlet which explains more information on this topic.

Basic Institutional Rates for persons with remaining entitlement under Chapter 34 of Title 38, U.S.C. Chapter 30 Category II rates effective October 1, 2017.

Institutional Training

Training periodMonthly Rate
No DependentsOne DependentTwo DependentsEach additional dependent
Full time$2,310.00$2,346.00$2,377.00$16.00
¾ time$1,733.00$1,759.50$1,783.00$12.00
½ time$1,155.00$1,173.00$1,188.50$8.50
less than ½ time more than ¼ time$1,155.00**
¼ time or less$577.50**

Apprenticeships & OJT

Training periodMonthly Rate
No DependentsOne DependentTwo DependentsEach additional dependent
First six months of training$1,694.25$1,706.63$1,717.50$5.25
Second six months of training$1,223.48$1,232.83$1,240.53$3.85
Third six months of training$766.50$772.63$777.35$2.45
Remainder of program$754.60$760.38$765.63$2.45

Cooperative Training

Training periodMonthly Rate
No DependentsOne DependentTwo DependentsEach additional dependent
Oct. 1, 2019 - Sept. 30, 2020$2,310.00$2,346.00$2,377.00$16.00
  • Correspondence – 55% of the approved charges
  • Flight – 60% of the approved charges

Montgomery GI Bill Kicker – Add up to $600 Per Month to Your GI Bill Payment

The Montgomery GI Bill and Reserve Educational Assistance Program both have a program that allows members to “top up” their GI Bill by buying additional benefits. Also called the GI Bill Kicker, this plan allows members to buy additional benefits in $20 increments, up to a total of $600. MGIB and REAP recipients will then receive an additional stipend on their monthly GI Bill payment, valued at ¼ the amount they paid into the buy-up program for full-time attendance (rates vary based on full-time or partial-time attendance).

MGIB Kicker Rate Chart

If this amount paidAdd this amount to Full Time paymentAdd this amount to ¾ time paymentAdd this amount to ½ time paymentAdd this amount to less than ½ time but more than ¼ time paymentAdd this amount to ¼ time payment

How Does the VA Charge Your Training Against Your GI Bill Benefits?

The VA will charge you one full day of entitlement for each day of full-time benefits you receive. Entitlement is charged in months and days. Each month is counted as 30 days. If you train part-time, the VA will adjust the entitlement charge according to your training time.

For example, if you receive full-time benefits for 12 months, the charge is 12 months of entitlement. If you receive half-time benefits for 12 months, the charge is six months.

For correspondence, flight training, accelerated payments for high-cost, high technology courses, and a test for a license or certification, we determine the entitlement by dividing the amount you were paid by your MGIB monthly rate for full-time training.

Montgomery GI Bill for Reserves

The above listed rates are for members of the Active Duty Montgomery GI Bill program (Chapter 30). There are other MGIB programs available to military members, including the Montgomery GI Bill – Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR/Chapter 1606) and the Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP/Chapter 1607). You can find the current rates for these programs at the VA website.

Post 9/11 GI Bill Rates

The Post 9/11 GI Bill makes tuition payments directly to the educational institution. Benefits can be used at a variety of higher learning institutions, but rates are capped at the rates of the most expensive state Institution of Higher Learning (IHL). Click to see current rates. Recipients may be eligible to receive BAH benefits based on the rates of an E-5 with dependents, a book stipend, and more. BAH rates are based on the zip code of the school the recipient is attending.

Related information:

GI Bill Refunds:

Transfer GI Bill Benefits:

  • It is also possible to transfer the Post-9/11 GI Bill to family members. You must be enrolled in the Post-9/11 GI Bill and agree to extend your service in the military.
  • This option is only available for the Post-9/11 GI Bill and is not available for the Montgomery GI Bill.
  • You cannot transfer GI Bill benefits once you separate or retire from the military.

Use your GI Bill Benefits!

GI Bill benefits don’t last forever. Your MGIB benefits expire 10 years after your last separation from Active Duty status. Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits are good for 15 years after you separate. Contact the VA to start using your GI Bill benefits before they expire!

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About Ryan Guina

Ryan Guina is the founder and editor of The Military Wallet. He is a writer, small business owner, and entrepreneur. He served over 6 years on active duty in the USAF and is a current member of the IL Air National Guard.

Ryan started The Military Wallet in 2007 after separating from active duty military service and has been writing about financial, small business, and military benefits topics since then. He also writes about personal finance and investing at Cash Money Life.

Ryan uses Personal Capital to track and manage his finances. Personal Capital is a free software program that allows him to track his net worth, balance his investment portfolio, track his income and expenses, and much more. You can open a free Personal Capital account here.

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  1. Brandi says

    Hi Ryan,
    I am currently dealing with VA trying to prove I bought the MGIB Buy-up program you mention in this article. I want to clarify the terminology that one knowledgeable VA Rep corrected me on… The “kicker” is/was a recruiting benefit… which is not the same as the MGIB “buy-up” (of up to $600 in $20 increments). I make the point, because I’ve had a h311 of a time hunting down the information trying to prove my payment. Searching for the “kicker” led me down some rabbit holes. The different services, it seems, have different terms too. I also used “top-up” in the past while on AD to cover the last 25% of tuition that Tuition Assistance did not cover.

    It’s also difficult to find info, since most vets are using Post 9/11 benies. There are a few of us where MGIB still makes sense. I am attending school in Texas, which has the Hazelwood Act and covers tuition a large but limited amount of credit hours.

    Advice for anyone looking at education benies before leaving Active Duty… ensure proof of this entitlement… ie. payment explicitly for MGIB Buy-up program.

    The problem I’m having with VA is proof that I paid the buy up program never made it from DoD side to VA, so I have to prove a payment made 17 years ago, when it was very new. Luckily, I did find the DD form 2366, however, LES from that payment says “misc debt,” not something more helpful like “MGIB Buy-up.”

    Otherwise, thanks for this helpful and very explanatory post!

  2. Ashley says


    I am a traditional reservist & am 5 years into my 6 year contract (I’ll probably reenlist next year). I have never deployed, I have never been active duty, & never spent more than 62 days on active duty orders outside of BMT & Tech School. I paid for & obtained my Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology myself years prior to ever enlisting in the military. 12 years after obtaining my garbage BS degree & not finding the career I was hoping for, I wanted to go back to school for a Bachelor’s in nursing. This is my fault for not understanding, but, I just found out that I basically have NO educational benefits because I have never served 90 consecutive days on AD orders. In other words, even though I 100% bought for & paid for my BS degree, I cannot use any military education benefits towards a bachelors. I understand I can use TA for a Master’s, but, why would I want to further my education in a crappy career field?

    I’m trying to research the GI Bill Selected Reserves, which I think I will be eligible for at my 6 year mark, but the monetary benefits are peanuts to what it will cost to go to school at a university. Any suggestions or something else I should look into. (It will be unlikely that I will be going in any long-term Active Duty orders anytime soon as I am currently pregnant.)

    Thanks for your time.

  3. Matthew says

    Hello! I have a 2 part question for you.

    1. When and how can I apply for the “Top Up” program for my Montgomery GI Bill? I am currently active duty with just a few more months left on contract.

    2. If I attend a school in a state that covers veterans tuition costs, can I still withdraw my GI Bill monthly to cover other expenses?

    Thank you!

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Matthew, Thank you for contacting me. You should contact your unit education office. They should be able to help you with the GI Bill top up program.

      You can still use the MGIB even if your tuition is covered 100% – regardless of the source (tuition assistance from a civilian employer, scholarship, grants, etc.). The check is made to you, not to the school. So you can use the payment for whatever you wish, whether that is tuition, books, living expenses, etc.

      The Post-9/11 GI Bill is different, as the payments are made directly to the school, not the individual. If you use the Post-9/11 GI Bill, the school would receive the tuition payment, and you would receive the housing allowance and additional stipends.

      The transfer to the Post-9/11 GI Bill is non-revocable, so run the numbers to see which program is more lucrative for your situation. The Post-9/11 GI Bill is generally the better deal, since it covers tuition up to the most expensive state university, plus a housing allowance and book stipend. But the MGIB can be more beneficial if you do not have to pay tuition and can otherwise pocket the payment.

      I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  4. sam morrison says

    hello I been looking an I am confused. I am active duty and have 4 more years in my contract, can I transfer my Montgomery GI Bill to my wife?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Sam, Thank you for your question. You cannot transfer the MGIB to your dependents. However, it is possible to transfer the Post-9/11 GI Bill to your spouse or children. This is used as a retention tool, and is only available to service members who have at least 6 years of service on date of GI Bill transfer request, and who agree to serve 4 more years.

      So you would be eligible to transfer your Post-9/11 GI Bill if you already have 6 years of service. You may be required to extend your contact by a short time period if you have less than four years of service left on your military commitment. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  5. Kate says

    My daughter is questioning if she chooses MGIB 1st can she still transfer to Post 9-11 once she exhaust all the be MGIB benefits? She sais she can pick only one : MGIB or Post 9-11

    She is in base training as we speak( Air Force)

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Kate, Thank you for contacting me. Service members must opt into the Montgomery GI Bill and pay $100 a month from their paycheck for the first year of enlistment. The Post-9/11 GI Bill does not require an opt-in or enrollment fee. However, one must serve the required amount of time before they will be eligible to receive the full benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

      There is value in the Montgomery GI Bill, but in most cases, the Post-9/11 GI Bill is more valuable, and it there is no cost to join. In most situations, the Post-9/11 GI Bill is the better plan, and the member can save $1,200 if they elect not to opt into the Montgomery GI Bill.

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