Does the GI Bill Provide Tuition Assistance to Children of Enlisted Personnel?

Soldier and DaughterThe GI Bill is a federally approved government bill that provides tuition assistance to those who served in the military. Signed into legislation following World War II, it allows military men and women to receive assistance from the government when going back to school. The bill allows them to receive free money they can use for attending any accredited college, university or vocational school. Though the bill does not cover the children and dependents of a service person, individuals can transfer their benefits or gain assistance for their dependents in other ways.

What Does the Bill Cover?

Though some think the bill covers the entire cost of attending any college in the country, this isn’t necessarily true. The bill requires that those receiving help attend an accredited college or university. Though most know it as the GI Bill, it is actually part of the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act. This act includes other benefits that are available to those who served their country. Those applying for benefits may receive a loan with a low interest rate when opening a business, loans with low interest rates for buying a home and compensation for periods of unemployment. Some may also receive money to cover their living expenses while enrolled in school.

Scholarships for Survivors

Though the bill does not provide benefits to the children and dependents of military personnel, those individuals can apply for scholarships from the government. The Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship is a scholarship program open to college students and students planning to attend college who are the children or dependents of someone killed during active duty after September 11, 2001. Students can also apply for financial help and assistance through the Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program. This program is open to dependents of injured veterans, veterans killed in the line of duty and those who died as the result of injuries sustained while on duty.

Transferring Benefits

The federal government gives veterans and active duty personnel the option of transferring some or all of their benefits to a wife or dependent. They can only transfer the benefits they still have remaining and cannot transfer any benefits they have already used. According to the United States Department of Veteran Affairs, the Department of Defense has final say over whether the benefits will transfer. Those applying for a transfer must show that they have a certain number of years in the military and that they will remain on active duty afterwards.

How to Apply

When applying for tuition assistance, applicants will need to complete an in-depth application through the Department of Defense (DOD). This application asks them about the number of years they completed service, if they are on active duty or a member of the reserve corps, and other questions. The DOD will then compare those answers against their records to determine if an individual qualifies for any benefits, the type of benefits they will receive, and how much they will get.

Service men and women on active duty earn a certain number of benefits for each year that they remain in the military. They can use those benefits while still serving their country or after they get out. While the GI bill does not typically provide tuition assistance for the dependents of soldiers, military personnel can request a transfer to award benefits to their loved ones.