After World War II, the United States committed to providing educational support for veterans. In recent years, however, the number of service members and veterans earning degrees with their military benefits has increased to historic levels. Military service members and veterans pursuing degrees in psychology benefit from a wealth of financial aid opportunities; these various forms of financial aid can be used to cover tuition costs and other education expenses, but can also be applied to the cost of a psychology license, a professional certification, and some national examinations.
Military personnel and veterans can qualify for a number of financial aid opportunities. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and each branch of the Armed Forces, for example, offer financial resources and scholarships. Many private scholarships are also designed specifically for military veterans, active duty military, and military dependents. Meanwhile, the Post-9/11 GI Bill® provides extensive education benefits, and the Yellow Ribbon Program offers additional funding for military members and veterans. Reservists and National Guard members can also qualify for a number of VA education programs.
In addition to support from the VA, military service members can access numerous scholarships for active duty military, including those for military dependents. Private organizations and groups offer additional awards to individuals with a military background, including service members from all branches of the Armed Forces. This page describes the many sources of financial support available to military service members and veterans pursuing psychology degrees.
Financial Aid Programs for Military and Veterans
The Montgomery GI Bill®
There are two versions of the Montgomery GI Bill: the Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty (MGIB-AD), aimed at active-duty service members and veterans who served at least two years in active duty; and the Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR), for reservists who sign a six-year service obligation. Both cover educational expenses, including those related to earning a psychology degree or gaining a license.
- What's Covered: Both programs provide funds toward a college degree, a certification or a professional license, and the cost of certain examinations.
- Who's Covered: The MGIB-AD covers active-duty service members and veterans who complete a minimum of two years of active duty. Recipients can use the Montgomery GI Bill for 10 years after being released from honorable service. The MGIB-SR covers reservists for up to 36 months of educational benefits while they are completing their service obligation.
- How to Apply: Recipients who qualify for the active duty benefits submit a VA application for education benefits. Reservists provide a notice of basic eligibility and an application for education benefits to their school, which files an enrollment certification and submits the forms to the VA.
Post-9/11 GI Bill®
Active duty service members and veterans receive assistance from the Post-9/11 GI Bill. The program covers a variety of educational expenses, including undergraduate and graduate degrees, licensing and certification reimbursement, and reimbursement for national testing costs. Recipients receive up to 36 months of education benefits.
- What's Covered: The Post-9/11 GI Bill covers college tuition, training programs, certifications, and national testing, among other educational expenses. In the cases of tuition assistance, the VA pays the benefit directly to the school, up to a national maximum rate.
- Who's Covered: Eligible service members must have at least 90 days of active duty service after September 10, 2001, or must be honorably discharged due to a service-connected disability with at least 30 days of active duty service. Some recipients can transfer unused benefits to a dependent.
- How to Apply: Active duty military and veterans can check their eligibility or apply online. They can also visit a VA regional office or consult with the VA official at their institution's registrar's or financial aid office.
Yellow Ribbon Program
Veterans eligible for the maximum Post-9/11 GI Bill amount can also receive support through the Yellow Ribbon Program, which provides additional educational assistance on top of the GI Bill entitlement. Colleges and universities choose whether to participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program, and participants agree to fund a certain number of eligible candidates.
- What's Covered: Veterans who qualify for full GI Bill support can receive additional funds through their degree-granting institution and the VA, which can be used to cover tuition and fees.
- Who's Covered: Eligible recipients served at least 36 months total in active duty after September 10, 2001; served 30 days after September 10, 2001 and received an honorable discharge from active duty because of a service-connected disability; or meet the dependent eligibility for a transfer of entitlement under the Post-9/11 GI Bill.
- How to Apply: Veterans contact their school to apply, and the institution certifies the recipient's enrollment to the VA. The VA provides a list of participating Yellow Ribbon Program institutions.
National Call to Service
A Department of Defense program administered by the VA, the National Call To Service incentive program provides educational assistance to service members who perform a minimum number of years of national service. The program provides cash benefits, tuition support, or loan repayment support.
- What's Covered: Recipients select from a cash bonus of $5,000, repayment of a student loan up to $18,000, or entitlements that equal the GI Bill educational benefits. This can mean either 12 months of the GI Bill active duty rate, or 50% of the GI Bill active duty rate for 36 months.
- Who's Covered: Eligible service members must pass initial entry training and serve on active duty for at least 15 months, followed by additional active duty or 24 months in active status in the Reserve force. Service members may then meet the remaining service obligation in active duty, the Reserves, or AmeriCorps.
- How to Apply: Members join the National Call to Service incentive program when they enroll for service, at which point they choose from the list of incentives.
Reserve Educational Assistance Program
The Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP) provides educational assistance for reservists, National Guard members, and veterans. In November 2015, Congress phased out REAP, with the educational benefits largely replaced by the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Current REAP beneficiaries can use the program through November 25, 2019.
- What's Covered: Eligible reservists and National Guard members can cover expenses at an educational institution through REAP. Recipients must have applied for benefits prior to November 24, 2015.
- Who's Covered: The program covers reservists, National Guard members, and veterans. Current REAP recipients -- and any qualifying applicants who submitted their application before November 24, 2015 -- can continue to use the program.
- How to Apply: REAP is no longer accepting new applicants. However, reservists qualify for educational benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill.
Survivors' and Dependents' Education Assistance
Offered through the VA, the Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance (DEA) program provides support for the eligible dependents of veterans who died on active duty, or those who died or were permanently and totally disabled because of a service-related condition. The program provides up to 45 months of education benefits.
- What's Covered: The DEA covers degree and certificate programs, on-the-job training, and apprenticeships. Spouses can also take correspondence courses, and funds may cover remedial courses.
- Who's Covered: Eligible recipients include the son, daughter, or spouse of a servicemember who was captured in the line of duty, went missing in action, was a POW, died, and veterans who are permanently and totally disabled because of a service-connected disability.
- How to Apply: Eligible dependents apply online through the VA using the Dependents Application for VA Education Benefits. Students can also take an application directly to their school.
Scholarships for Military and Veterans
U.S. Army Scholarships
Who Can Apply: Women soldiers and veterans qualify for the undergraduate and graduate scholarships through the Army Women's Foundation. Applicants must be enrolled at an accredited institution with a minimum 3.0 GPA and submit letters of recommendation. Scholarship decisions are based on merit, academic potential, community service, and need. The program also funds community college and certification students.
Who Can Apply: Current members of the AAAA qualify for the organization's scholarships for military veterans. Applicants must provide transcripts showing their GPA, an essay, a reference letter, and a photograph. The spouse, children, grandchildren, and unmarried siblings of current or deceased AAAA members also qualify.
Amount: Up to $4,000
Who Can Apply: The foundation awards multiple scholarships for active duty military and veterans to qualified students attending accredited institutions. The foundation considers applicants' academic record and community service. Recipients can apply to renew their scholarship for up to four years.
Amount: Up to $2,000
U.S. Navy Scholarships
Who Can Apply: Members of the Navy who entered active duty after 1989 qualify for the Navy college fund if they serve on active duty for a minimum of three years. The amount of Navy scholarships for military veterans depends on the service member's years of service and when they entered active duty.
Who Can Apply: Service members awarded a Purple Heart qualify for these scholarships for military veterans. Applicants must be full-time undergraduate students who maintain at least a 2.75 GPA, and they must be members of the MOPH.
Who Can Apply: AMVETS offers scholarships for veterans and active-duty service members who are U.S. citizens. Applicants must show financial need, be enrolled in an eligible program, and submit a brief statement on how the scholarship will advance the candidate's educational goals.
Amount: $4,000 over a four year period
U.S. Air Force Scholarships
Who Can Apply: The Tillman program offers scholarships for military veterans and active-duty service members from all branches of the Armed Forces. Applicants must be full-time students earning a bachelor's or graduate degree at an accredited institution.
Who Can Apply: Named for a Vietnam veteran who served in the Air Force, AMVETS offers scholarships for active duty military, veterans, and reservists. Applicants must provide transcripts, a short essay, and proof of attendance at an accredited institution.
Who Can Apply: Eligible veterans pursuing a degree and who plan to help other veterans in their career field qualify for this scholarship, which is designed for those earning a psychology degree. Applicants submit a 300-word essay and apply online.
U.S. Marine Corps Scholarships
Who Can Apply: Paralyzed veterans who are members of PVA qualify for these scholarships for military veterans. Applicants must be full-time students at an accredited college or university, and candidates submit their application online.
Who Can Apply: The VFW offers scholarships for active duty military and veterans. Applicants must be retired, honorably discharged, active duty, or a member of the National Guard or Reserve. Recipients must have completed basic training and demonstrate a need for financial assistance. They must also attend an accredited institution.
Amount: Up to $5,000
Who Can Apply: Military veterans from all branches of the Armed Forces qualify for this scholarship. Applicants must be enrolled at an accredited institution -- including community colleges -- and they submit proof of military service and a 500-word essay.
National Guard Scholarships
Who Can Apply: National Guard members qualify for this scholarship, which covers full tuition costs plus a monthly allowance. Recipients must be full-time students enrolled in the Army National Guard, and a minimum 2.5 GPA in high school.
Amount: Full tuition and stipend
Who Can Apply: Students entering their junior year of college who have a minimum 2.5 GPA can join the Reserve Forces and receive a scholarship as part of the ROTC. Applicants must complete the ROTC basic course requirements.
Amount: Full tuition and a monthly stipend
Who Can Apply: Named for an Army reservist who served in the Special Forces, this scholarship, granted by AMVETS, funds veterans, active duty military, and national guard members earning a degree, including in psychology. Applicants submit transcripts, an essay, and proof of their military status.
Amount: $12,000 over a four year period
Coast Guard Scholarships
Who Can Apply: The foundation offers education scholarships for enlisted service members in the Coast Guard. Applicants should be earning an undergraduate or graduate degree, or a certification. The award can be used on expenses not covered by the G.I. Bill.
Who Can Apply: Members of the Coast Guard Reserve qualify for this scholarship, offered through the Coast Guard Foundation. The award process takes into account the applicant's financial need, academic promise, and citizenship and leadership qualities.
Who Can Apply: Active duty Coast Guard service members who are at the Coast Guard Aviation Logistic Center qualify for this scholarship, which covers undergraduate, graduate, and training expenses.
Military Families Scholarships
Who Can Apply: The Air Force Aid Society offers scholarships for veteran dependents of Air Force service members. Applicants must demonstrate financial need, be enrolled full-time at an accredited higher education institution, and maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA.
Amount: Up to $4,000
Who Can Apply: In addition to the scholarship for active duty military, veterans, and reservists, AMVETS offers scholarships for military dependents. The children or grandchildren of military members who are currently high school seniors qualify. Applicants provide a brief essay, transcripts, and proof of their relative's military service.
Amount: $4,000 over a four year period
Who Can Apply: The children and spouses of active duty, retired, or deceased sailors and marines qualify for educational assistance through these scholarships for military dependents. Applicants must attend an accredited institution as a full-time student with a minimum 2.0 GPA. Candidates must also demonstrate financial need.
Amount: Up to $3,000
Who Can Apply: The immediate family members of active duty, retired, or reserve Chief Petty Officers in the U.S. Navy qualify for this scholarship. Applicants must attend a program that grants an associate or bachelor's degree.
Who Can Apply: The children of Marine Corps members qualify for these scholarships for military dependents, which funds students completing an associate or bachelor's degree. Applicants submit transcripts, proof of military service, and financial documents indicating need.
Resources for Active Military and Veterans
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs The VA offers multiple programs for veterans, including educational support, housing assistance, and healthcare benefits. The website provides extensive resources on education assistance for military and veterans.
GI Bill The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers resources for active duty military and veterans on their educational benefits under the GI Bill, including resources on how to apply for benefits.
Veterans Upward Bound Offered through the U.S. Department of Education, this program helps veterans develop academic skills in preparation for enrolling in postsecondary education.
Veterans' Employment and Training Service Run by the U.S. Department of Labor, VETS provides employment support and training for veterans in the workforce, including job search support and employment rights assistance.
Veterans Employment Program Office The office, operated through the U.S. Department of Education, helps veterans find jobs, both in government agencies and private organizations.
Yellow Ribbon Program GI-Bill-eligible veterans can participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program to increase their educational funding. The website includes institutions that participate in the program.
* 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 website at http://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill