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Veterans Educational Assistance Program (VEAP) Overview

The Veterans Educational Assistance Program (VEAP) (Chapter 32) was enacted by Congress to provide educational benefits after the conflict in Vietnam. VEAP accompanied a shift to an all-voluntary military. VEAP is available to members of the military who were on active duty from 1/1/1977- 6/30/1985. Historically VEAP is important because it was the first educational assistance program that was designed using a fund-matching model. This model was later embraced and expanded by the Montgomery GI Bill.

VEAP was set up as a fund-matching program in which every $1 placed in the program by a military member was matched with a $2 contribution from the government. A service member has ten years after release from active duty to use his/her VEAP benefits. After that time any unused contributed funds will be refunded to the veteran.

Any member of VEAP can also formally request to have their contributions refunded at any time. This can be done by completing VA Form 22-5281, Application for Refund of Educational Contributions, and sending it to their Regional VA Office.

Members who transferred their GI Bill benefits out of VEAP and into the subsequent Montgomery GI Bill are no longer eligible to receive benefits through VEAP. On the other hand, if they joined either the Montgomery GI Bill or the Post-9/11 GI Bill in addition to VEAP, they can still draw on their VEAP benefits as long as they do not use them at the same time as benefits from one of the other educational assistance programs.

VEAP benefits can be used for many different types of VA approved educational programs such as undergraduate and graduate degrees including those at foreign institutions, business, trade and technical courses, licenses and certifications, apprenticeship and on-the-job training programs, correspondence and online programs and vocational flight training.

Depending on your eligibility VEAP provides up to 36 months of assistance. The benefits must be used within 10 years of discharge. This ten-year period can be extended under special circumstances such as illness or being called back to service.

VEAP is becoming less and less common because the program was replaced by the Montgomery GI Bill and later the Post-9/11 GI Bill. However, if you contributed to the program and still have these benefits, they can help you substantially with education or training. Contact you Regional VA Office if you have further questions regarding your VEAP benefits.

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