Financial Aid for U.S. Military Veterans

In addition to GS institutional scholarships and the Post-9/11 GI Bill and Yellow Ribbon Program, there are several opportunities for U.S. military personnel to receive both federal and state financial aid. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers a variety of educational and vocational benefits for active duty service members, veterans, and dependents.

New York State Higher Education Corporation (HESC)
Information on TAP (Tuition Assistance Program)APTS (Aid for Part-Time Study), and VTA (Veterans Tuition Awards).

New York State Division of Veterans' Affairs offers Veterans Tuition Awards (VTA) for full-time study and part-time study for eligible veterans matriculated at an undergraduate or graduate degree-granting institution in New York State. Students must re-apply each year.

New York State Division of Military & Naval Affairs
Information for current and former New York State National Guard members.

Vocational Rehabilitation (Chapter 31) provides assistance to veterans who have a service-connected disability of at least 20 percent. More information about the eligibility requirements is available on the VA website.

If approved, the program provides for the full cost of tuition, mandatory fees*, books, and supplies. In addition, veterans who are eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill will receive the housing allowance associated with that benefit while utilizing Vocational Rehabilitation. Eligible veterans may be allowed up to 48 months of full-time benefits.

*Vocational Rehabilitation (Chapter 31) cannot be used to cover the cost of the Columbia Student Health Insurance Plan.

Veterans considering switching from the Post-9/11 GI Bill to Vocational Rehabilitation, should consult with the Assistant Director of Educational Financing for Veterans Benefits as well as a representative at the VA, as there may be additional considerations pertaining to an individual situation.

Applying for and Utilizing the Program

Students planning to utilize Vocational Rehabilitation benefits should first notify the Office of Educational Financing of their decision by emailing gsveterans@columbia.edu.

  1. Submit the application for Vocational Rehabilitation benefits to the VA. After completing the form, the applicant will receive written notice of eligibility from the VA, as well as a date and time to meet with a VA representative to review qualifications for the program.
  2. Submit the 28-1905 authorization form, provided by the Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, to the Assistant Director of Educational Financing for Veterans Benefits.
  3. Bring the Books and Supplies Certification form, provided by the Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, to the Columbia Bookstore and ask to set up a third-party billing account. The student may then take his or her books, and the bookstore will bill Vocational Rehabilitation.
  4. Complete the GS Veterans Request for Certification.

The Dependents' Educational Assistance (DEA) program (Chapter 35) offers education and training opportunities to eligible dependents of veterans who are permanently and totally disabled due to a service-related condition or of veterans who died while on active duty or as a result of a service-related condition.

Applicants are required to make an irrevocable election between the Dependents' Educational Assistance (DEA) program and the Fry Scholarship to receive benefits. Children of a servicemember who died in the line of duty prior to August 1, 2011 may be eligible for both the DEA program and the Fry Scholarship, but they cannot be used at the same time.

Applying for and Utilizing the Program

Students planning to utilize DEA program benefits should first notify the Office of Educational Financing of their decision by emailing gsveterans@columbia.edu.

  1. Complete VA Form 22-5490 and submit it to the VA Buffalo Regional Processing Office. After submitting the form, the applicant will receive written notice of eligibility from the VA.
  2. Complete the GS Veterans Request for Certification.

Buffalo Regional Processing Office
P.O. Box 4616
Buffalo, NY 14240-4616
Fax: (716) 857-3296

The Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) is available to those who enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces. There are two main programs:

Applying for and Utilizing the Program

Students planning to utilize Montgomery GI Bill benefits should first notify the Office of Educational Financing of their decision by emailing gsveterans@columbia.edu.

  1. Complete VA Form 22-1990 and submit it to the VA Buffalo Regional Processing Office. After submitting the form, the applicant will receive written notice of eligibility from the VA.
  2. Complete the GS Veterans Request for Certification.

Buffalo Regional Processing Office
P.O. Box 4616
Buffalo, NY 14240-4616
Fax: (716) 857-3296

The Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship (Fry Scholarship) provides Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to the children and surviving spouses of service members who died in the line of duty while on active duty after September 10, 2001. Eligible beneficiaries attending school may receive up to 36 months of benefits at the 100% level.

Applicants are required to make an irrevocable election between the Fry Scholarship and the Dependents' Educational Assistance (DEA) program to receive benefits. Children of a service member who died in the line of duty prior to August 1, 2011 may be eligible for both DEA and Fry but they cannot be used at the same time.

Applying for and Utilizing the Program

Students planning to utilize Fry Scholarship benefits should first notify the Office of Educational Financing of their decision by emailing gsveterans@columbia.edu.

  1. Complete VA Form 22-5490 and submit it to the VA Buffalo Regional Processing Office. After submitting the form, the applicant will receive written notice of eligibility from the VA.
  2. Complete the GS Veterans Request for Certification.

Buffalo Regional Processing Office
P.O. Box 4616
Buffalo, NY 14240-4616
Fax: (716) 857-3296

Army Emergency Relief Scholarship Programs
Scholarship opportunities for children and spouses of current and former Army soldiers.

Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation
Scholarship opportunities for children of current and former Marines.

National Military Family Association Joanne Holbrook Patton Military Spouse Scholarship Program
Scholarships are awarded to spouses of Uniformed Services members (active duty, National Guard and Reserve, retirees, and survivors) to obtain professional certification or to attend post secondary or graduate school. Scholarships range in amount from $500 to $2,500, and the number awarded each year varies depending on funding.

ThanksUSA Scholarships
Scholarships are awarded to spouses and dependent children of active-duty military personnel.

Pat Tillman Military Scholarship
The Tillman Military Scholars Program supports educational opportunities for service members and their families. 

VA Mortgage Center Military Education Scholarships
The VA Mortgage Center offers scholarships twice a year.

GoArmy
For students receiving Army Tuition Assistance.