In 2005 Congress moved to create the new improved Ronald W. Reagan National Defense Authorization Act. In so doing they revamped and overhauled what was previously the Educational Reserve Assistance program. The Reserve Educational Assistance program is a program designed to provide funds for educational help to all members of the National Guard or Reserves who are called to Active Duty, either by the President, or in time of war. This was an effort by Congress to show their appreciation for the Citizen warriors who are such a major assess to our Armed Forces, and who are doing a lions share of the fighting in the Wars on Terror in Iraq and Afghanistan. Reservists who have been activated for 90 days or more consecutive days of Active Duty service anytime after 9/11 are eligible for this program.
Reservists who have qualified are eligible to receive up to 36 months of benefits or the lesser part time amount according to this program. While not as lucrative as portions of the Reserve GI Bill, it is still an attractive program for those members of the Guard or Reserve who have been called to Active duty. The Reserve or Guard members who have been activated are eligible for the following amounts:
-For service of 90 days but less than 365 days, $413.60 dollars a month for 36 months if enrolled full time. For service in excess of 365 days, but less than two full years, $620.40 month for 36 months if enrolled full time. Two years or more of service, $827.20 a month if enrolled full time. This amount is in addition to any other benefits that they may be entitled to and was intended by Congress to provide educational support and to show appreciation for their service.
After their time on Active duty, to remain eligible for this program the Reservist or National Guard Servicemember has to return to the element they were mobilized from. For example if they were in the Individual Ready Reserve, then they should return to the IRR, if they were activated from the Select Reserve, then they should return to the select reserve force.
This program replaces the former REAP benefits, and is a more lucrative program for Reservist and Guard Servicemembers. Servicemembers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan after being mobilized from their Reserve Units should immediately investigate their educational benefits, as they may have changed since their mobilization. It is a good idea to find out as it may change a persons choice of direction following their mobilization. It is now more advantageous to attend school than ever before, and a Servicemember should weigh the options carefully.