On October 30, 2000, the President signed into law an amendment to the GI Bill® that permits the Department of Veteran Affairs to pay a Tuition Assistance Top-up benefit. If you’re eligible for the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) and plan to use Tuition Assistance (TA), and your service will not pay 100% of tuition and fees, you can use Tuition Assistance Top-up to pay the outstanding balance. The amount of the benefit can be equal to the difference between the total cost of the course and the amount of Tuition Assistance paid for the course.
To be eligible for the Top-up benefits, you must be approved for federal Tuition Assistance by a military department and be eligible for the Montgomery GI Bill (Chapter 30 only).
The amount of the benefit is limited to the amount that person would receive for the same course if regular GI Bill benefits were being paid. The amount of TA paid, combined with the amount paid by the VA, cannot exceed the total cost of the course.
If you receive the Top-up benefit, your regular GI Bill entitlement will be reduced.
Top-up can apply retroactively but the VA can only go back one year from the date your claim was/is received by the VA. Also, Top-up can only be used for training in terms that began on or after October 30, 2000, which is the effective date of the law.
These claims are handled differently from claims for MGIB without TA. For Top-up claims, you won’t need to check in with the school official who certifies VA benefits; Top-up is payable for any course for which TA is payable under DoD criteria.
The application and other evidence should be sent to one of VA’s four education processing offices in Atlanta, Buffalo, Muskogee (OK), or St. Louis. Claims should specify that Tuition Assistance Top-up is being claimed.
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 Web site at http://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.