Post-9/11 GI Bill

The Post-9/11 GI Bill® (Chapter 33) went into effect August 1, 2009.  The percentage of the following benefits you will receive is determined by the number of days you served on Active Duty (not including training) after September 10, 2001:

  • Payment of tuition directly to the school.
  • A book stipend of up to $1000 per academic year payable to the student.
  • A monthly housing allowance paid to the student. This payment is equal to the BAH of an E-5 with dependents in the same zip code as the school. This is the applicable rate regardless of your rank/family size. As of August 1, 2020, the BAH in Big Stone Gap is $1083.

Please note:  The housing allowance is not payable if you are enrolled only half-time or less. The law has been updated to allow a reduced payment if you are enrolled in exclusively distance learning courses.

In order to receive Ch 33 benefits, you must submit an application (Form 22-1990) to the Veterans Administration specifically electing this benefit.  If you are eligible for any other benefit, you will have to give up that benefit in order to receive Ch 33.  This election CANNOT be reversed.  Please research and discuss your options so you can make the correct decision for your circumstances.

In certain instances you may qualify to transfer all, or a portion, of your benefits under Ch 33 to your spouse or children.  For the most up-to-date information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, please refer the Veterans Administration’s website at

Students and their families can compare the following across multiple financial aid offers by visiting, Know Before You Owe.

For more information about GI Bills & Programs that are available to qualifying students, visit GI Bills & Programs

For more information about receiving your benefits and payment deadlines, visit Receiving Your Benefits & Payments

The Veterans affairs office is located on the MECC campus on the first floor of Robb Hall, Room 106. Office hours are Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and can be reached by phone at 276-523-9028. For more information, visit Veterans Benefits

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Click here for a list of Frequently Asked Questions.

Montgomery GI Bill

The Montgomery GI Bill® (Chapter 30) will provide you with a monthly educational allowance to help you pay for your education.  The monthly benefit amount depends on the number of credits you are taking each term, the length of each course, and the length of your enlistment.  During a standard 16-week semester, 12 or more credit hours is considered full-time and will result in a monthly payment of $2122 (effective October 1, 2020) for each full month of classes if you completed three or more years of active duty service.  If you are eligible for the College Fund, Top-up, or Kicker, you will receive additional monies.

Reserve GI Bills

Reservists and National Guard members may qualify for Chapter 1606 benefits as long as you are actively drilling with a unit. The monthly pay rate for a full-time student under this program is $407 (effective October 1, 2021) Any kickers, etc. will be paid in addition to this base amount. If you have had Active Duty beyond training, you may have eligibility for more than one benefit. There are additional factors to consider if you plan to use Tuition Assistance at the same time. Please discuss your particular situation with your unit’s Education Officer and college’s Veteran Liaison.

Please note: The National Defense Authorization Act of 2016 ended Chapter 1607 (REAP) on November 25, 2015. As of November 25, 2019, the VA is no longer paying any benefits under this program. Where applicable, students collecting REAP were reviewed for eligibility under other education benefits programs offered by the VA and transitioned over.

If you have specific concerns related to your benefits, please contact the GI Bill education center at 1-888-442-4551.

Educational Programs for Dependents

Dependents (spouses and children) of veterans may be eligible for educational benefits as well.  The VA provides benefits to dependents of disabled/deceased veterans under the Dependent Educational Assistance (DEA) program (Chapter 35).  For children, you may receive this benefit from the age of 18 to 26.  There is no age limit for spouses, but the benefit is only available for 10 years after you are deemed eligible to receive it.  The monthly pay rate under this benefit is $1298 (effective October 1, 2021) for a full-time student.  Please visit for more information.

Virginia also provides benefits for certain dependents at public colleges within the state. You may collect both benefits simultaneously if eligible for both. As of July 1, 2019, there are now 2 tiers to the Virginia Military Spouses and Dependents Education Program (VMSDEP). Tier 1 provides a full waiver of tuition at public colleges and universities in Virginia. Tier 2 provides the tuition waiver as well as an additional stipend (MECC makes this available to you for use in the bookstore during the financial aid charging period) of up to $600 per semester, contingent on available funding. Please visit for more information and to apply.

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