Note: Congress has made significant enhancements to the GI Bill for military members (active duty, Guard, and Reserves) with post 9/11 active duty service. For details, see the article, Congress Revamps GI Bill.
The good news is, unlike the Active Duty Montgomery G.I. Bill (ADMGIB), to participate in the Selective Reserves Montgomery G.I. Bill (SRMGIB), one does not have their pay reduced by $100 per month for the first 12 months of service. Also, one can begin using benefits immediately after IADT (Initial Active Duty for Training), which normally means right after completing basic training and military job training school.
The bad news is that the SRMGIB pays much, much less in education benefits. The SRMGIB pays a total of $11,844 worth of education benefits, compared to total benefits of more than $47,000 for the active duty program.
Like the ADMGIB, the SRMGIB is not managed by the individual services. The program is managed by the Veterans Administration (VA), under laws enacted by Congress. The program is for members of the Selected Reserve of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard, and the Army and Air National Guard. "Selected Reserves" means those individuals who are drilling a minimum of one weekend per month, and two weeks per year (so, it doesn't include the "inactive reserves," who don't drill).
You are eligible for the SRMGIB if you meet the following requirements:
- Six-Year Selected Reserve Obligation. You must have a six-year obligation to serve in the Selected Reserve. If you’re an officer, you must agree to serve six years in addition to your current obligation.
- Complete Your IADT (Initial Active Duty for Training). In most cases, this means basic training and military job training school.
- Maintain Selected Reserve Status. Serve in a drilling Selected Reserve unit and remain in good standing.
- Completed High School. You must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalency certificate before you apply for benefits. Completing 12 hours toward a college degree before you apply for benefits also meets this requirement.
- ROTC Scholarship. You can’t be eligible for SRMGIB if you’re receiving financial assistance through the Senior ROTC program. Interestingly, however, while federal law prohibits ADMGIB benefits for those who receive a commission through a service academy, there are no such restrictions under the law for the SRMGIB.
- AGR Status. If you enter Active Guard and Reserve (AGR) status, your eligibility for MGIB – SR will be suspended. You may be eligible for MGIB – AD. You may resume MGIB – SR eligibility after your AGR status ends.
- Federal Active Duty. Under some active duty enlistment programs, part of the credit for obtaining the ADMGIB is based on continuing service (after active duty) in the Selected Reserves. If your active duty enlistment falls under one of these programs, you aren't eligible for the SRMGIB.
Expiration of Benefits
The SRMGIB used to expire 14 years after one became eligible, or upon discharge from the Selected Reserves, whichever occurred first. However, this has been changed by the FY 2008 Defense Authorization Act. MGIB benefits now expire 10 years after honorable discharge from the Selected Reserves.