Tuition Assistance Top-Up


Tuition Assistance Top-Up is a benefit program that allows GI Bill® recipients to use the GI Bill® to add to the tuition and fees not covered by DoD's Tuition Assistance.  The amount of the benefit can be equal to the difference between the full cost of a college course and the amount covered under active-duty TA.  In no case can the amount paid by the military combined with the amount paid by the VA be more than the total cost of the course.  Your regular GI Bill® benefits will be reduced if you receive the Top-Up benefit.  Please think carefully about your situation before applying for benefits through this program.  For more information, visit the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Tuition Assistance Top-Up page.

Am I eligible for Tuition Assistance Top-Up?

You may be eligible for Tuition Assistance Top-Up if you’re approved for federal TA and you meet both of these requirements.

Both of these must be true:
  • You qualify for Montgomery GI Bill® Active Duty (Chapter 30) or Post-9/11 GI Bill® (Chapter 33) benefits, and
  • The cost of the course and fees is more than the federal TA will cover

Note: Top-Up is limited to 36 months of payments. 

Frequently Asked Top-Up Questions

VA will pay back your school the difference between the DoD TA payment and the authorized (approved) maximum tuition and fees.

This benefit will be charged based on training time no matter how much money you’re paid back.  Half-time training rates reduce your GI Bill® benefit by a half-month for each month you’re enrolled.

Note: The Post-9/11 GI Bill® (Chapter 33) will often cover the full cost of tuition and fees, with the same amount of entitlement, charged no matter how much is covered by TA.  Be sure to consider your options before deciding to use both of these programs for the same courses.  If you use these benefits separately, you're more likely to maximize your educational benefit funding.

You’ll get the difference between the DoD TA payment and the total cost of the course.

This benefit will be reduced, or charged, one month of entitlement for each payment received that is equal to the full-time monthly GI Bill® rate.

The combined amount paid by DoD and Tuition Assistance Top-Up can never be more than the total cost of the course.  Review the rate tables.

Example:

The full-time monthly rate for the Montgomery GI Bill® Chapter 30 is $2,150 per month. The VA will divide the full-time monthly rate by 30 (days) to determine a daily benefit rate, i.e. $2,150/30 = $71.67/day.  If your 3-semester hour (SH) class is $1,500 (or $500.00/SH), TA will pay $750.00 and the VA will pay $750.  The VA will only deduct the number of days from your Chapter 30 benefit required to “Top-Up” your TA, or in this example 10.46 days per 3 semester hour (SH) class costing $500.00/SH, i.e. $750 paid by the VA divided by $71.67 daily rate equals approximately 10.46 (days) deducted from your Chapter 30 benefit.

Yes.  You’ll want to think carefully about your situation before applying for benefits through this program.  You can talk with your military (base) education officer and use the GI Bill® Comparison Tool to help you make your decision.  If you’re going to take more courses after leaving the military, figure out if the GI Bill® benefits you have left will cover your needs.

Interested applicants can call the VA Education Call Center 888-GIBILL-1 (888-442-4551) to learn more about Top-Up.

Request federal TA from your military service.  Refer to the Federal Tuition Assistance (TA) page.

If you haven’t filed, then complete the online application to apply for VA education benefits: VA.gov

Submit your Concise Student Schedule, indicate course(s), and your request for “Tuition Assistance Top-Up”:
By email: mvp@nmsu.edu
By fax: (575) 646-1113

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 https://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.