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How to Apply for Reserve Education Assistance Program (REAP) Benefits


The Reserve Education Assistance Program (REAP) (Chapter 1607, Title 10) extends to all members of the Selected Reserve (Sel Res) and Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) who have served at least 90 days of active duty on or after 9/11/2001. REAP offers these soldiers expanded educational benefits. DoD and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) ultimately determine REAP eligibility.

To apply for REAP benefits you need to fill out VA Form 22-1990. You can get a copy of this form online from http://www.gibill.va.gov/, by calling 1-888-GIBILL-1 (1-888-442-4551) or by writing and requesting the form from your Regional VA Office. You can submit the application online but you will also have to print and sign the signature page and send it in to your Regional VA Office. Your Education Service Officer must also sign your application if you are on active duty. You may also have to submit a copy of your Notice of Basic Eligibility.

Once you have decided on an educational program, make sure that the institution is approved for VA benefits. Contact the school’s Financial Aid Office or contact your Regional VA Office to find out if the institution is approved. You then contact the school’s official who handles and certifies enrollment for the VA. The Financial Aid Office or the Registrar's Office should know who this person is. This official will need to sign your application verifying your enrollment in the school or program.

Sending in your application if you haven’t yet decided on a program will inform you of your basic eligibility and entitlement. The amounts paid by REAP increase yearly to reflect the increased costs of education.

REAP benefits are substantial but as a Reserve member on active duty with more than 24 continuous months you are also eligible for Active Duty GI Bill benefits (Chapter 30). This may be a better option for you.

All Reserve benefits are complicated by going on and off duty and having access to both sets of benefits at certain times. It is always a good idea to use the free educational and vocational counseling services available to you through the military to choose the best options for your circumstances.

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