Reserve Education Assistance Program (REAP) (Chapter 1607, Title 10) was established in 2005 to ensure that members of the reserves who are called to active duty can receive additional educational benefits just like their Active Duty counterparts. REAP was created in part to cover the many members of the Reserves were called into service after 9/11/2001. Some of these Reserves continued to serve extensively over the next few years and many continue to serve very consistently on active duty to this day.
REAP extends to all members of the Selected Reserve (Sel Res) and Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) who have been called to duty and served at least 90 days of active duty on or after 9/11/2001. REAP ensures that these Reserves are entitled to expanded educational benefits. DoD and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) ultimately determine eligibility.
Reserve members entitled to REAP include members of: the Army Reserve, Naval Reserve, Air Force Reserve, Marine Corps Reserve, Coast Guard Reserve, Army National Guard, Air National Guard, Army IRR, Air Force IRR, Navy IRR and Marine Corps IRR.
A Reserve member is only eligible to receive REAP benefits as long as they continue to serve in the reserves. If a Selected Reserve member transfers into the IRR he/she is no longer eligible for REAP benefits. As with most portions of the code, if a service member is disabled or unable to complete the 90 days due to a service-related injury the 90-day qualification can be waived.
Educational benefits are available on a sliding scale depending on how long the individual has served on active duty (this is based on 3 years). The benefits for 2 or more consecutive years are paid at an 80% rate, 1-2 years are paid at a 60% rate and 90 days to 1 year are paid at 40% rate.
REAP can be used for a wide range of educational and training courses including graduate and undergraduate degrees, vocational and technical training, apprenticeship and on-the-job training and flight training. REAP pays less for apprenticeships and on-the-job training than for educational pursuits. The entitlement can be used for 36 months of education or training and can be used in conjunction with other benefits up to a total of 48 months.
REAP is an important program that recognizes the importance and sacrifice of Reservists since 9/11. Members of the Reserves have always received fewer benefits than full time active duty military and REAP is no exception. When called to active duty, many members of the Reserves are entitled to active duty benefits. The process of going back and forth between military and civilian life and reserve and active duty benefits is challenging. To get the most from your benefits while serving in the Reserves, it is best to stay well informed through your Regional Veterans Office and take advantage of your free educational and vocational counseling services.