Hoeven: DOD Restores Concurrent Use of Tuition Assistance & GI Bill Education Benefits for Guard & Reserve Members

Senator Recently Led Bipartisan Group in Reintroducing Legislation, Urging Defense Secretary to Ensure Full Education Benefits for Guard & Reserve

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today announced that the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) has signed a memorandumenabling members of the Guard and Reserve to concurrently use Federal Tuition Assistance and GI Bill benefits to fund their education, similar to active duty servicemembers. This process was initiated in August, following Hoeven’s efforts with the Trump administration to ensure Guard and Reserve servicemembers receive the full education benefits to which they are entitled. Hoeven also recently led a bipartisan group of senators in urging Austin to take the final steps in restoring these benefits.

The policy change will achieve the goals of the Montgomery GI Bill Parity Act, bipartisan legislation that Senators Hoeven and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) recently reintroduced, with Senators John Boozman (R-Ark.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) joining as original cosponsors.

“This is tremendous news for our Guard and Reserve members, who will now have access to the full education benefits that they have earned,” said Senator Hoeven. “We need well-educated servicemembers to ensure our nation can continue to keep pace with our adversaries. Allowing concurrent use of federal tuition assistance and GI Bill benefits will do just that for our Guard and Reserve components, who play an important role in supporting the high-tech operations of today’s military and defending against ever more advanced threats. We appreciate Secretary Austin for working with us on this priority.”

“This is great news for not only NDNG Soldiers and Airmen but for reservists nation wide,” said North Dakota Adjutant General Alan Dohrmann. “The National Guard has transitioned to an operational reserve, expected to be ready to support the nation and their states with little to no notice. It is appropriate that their benefits match the service they provide. Tuition benefits are the number one reason our service members enlist. The ability to simultaneously use GI Bill and FTA benefits return us to the previous standard that provides reserve members the same benefits as their active duty counterparts.”

Restoring Guard & Reserve Education Benefits 

Currently, individuals who qualify for Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty (MGIB-AD), also known as the “Post 9/11 GI Bill,” are able to simultaneously use federal tuition assistance and GI Bill benefits. In 2014, Department of Defense (DoD) issued a policy that prohibits similar concurrent usage of tuition assistance with the Montgomery GI Bill – Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR). As a result of the Hoeven-led effort, DoD has now updated its policy to allow Guard and Reserve members to utilize both their GI Bill benefits and the tuition assistance concurrently, providing parity with active duty servicemembers.

Providing Tuition Assistance to Air Guard Members

At the same time, Hoeven has been working to provide tuition assistance for Air National Guard members that is in line with their Army National Guard counterparts. In 2019, Hoeven announced that North Dakota had been selected by the National Guard Bureau as one of 14 states participating in a pilot program to provide college tuition assistance to the state’s Air National Guard members. Hoeven worked with the Air Guard to establish this program and has secured a total of $14.8 million across FY2020 and FY2021 to support the effort.