Educational benefits for the Navy are geared toward those serving on active duty, though there is some money available for reservists. Many benefits apply only to individuals who are considering enlisting, as they provide an incentive to do so. Other programs provide education to individuals interested in certain degree tracks but require that they serve in the Navy after completing college. You may also be eligible for military-wide educational benefits.


Benefit Name Active Duty Reservist
Seaman to Admiral-21 Commissioning Program X
Navy College Program for Afloat Education X
Navy College Fund X
Navy Loan Repayment Program X
Advanced Education Voucher Program X
Graduate Education Voucher Program X
Navy Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve Kicker X
Navy Olmsted Scholar Program X
Civil Engineer Collegiate Program These programs are for students interested in joining the military in a particular field. Prior military background is not required.
Nurse Candidate Program
Nuclear Propulsion Officer Candidate Program

Seaman to Admiral-21 Commissioning Program

This program is available to currently enlisted active duty sailors in the Navy who want to return to college before commissioning as ensigns. While at college, service members will remain on active duty, receive their current pay and benefits, and take part in the institution’s NROTC program. The time spent in school cannot go toward fulfilling a service commitment. Sailors can choose to apply to the Core Program (in which there are a number of options for a major and school) or to a Target Group (where options are prechosen). Target Group options include Civil Engineer Corps, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Special Duty Officer, Naval Flight Officer, Nuclear, Nurse Corps, Pilot, Special Warfare, and Surface Warfare Officer.

  • Award amount: Sailors will receive up to $10,000 annually for tuition, fees, and books. Any costs that exceed this amount must be covered by the sailor. Sailors may use Montgomery GI Bill benefits to pay for more courses.
    • Tuition Assistance, the Navy College Fund, and VEAP may not be used to cover any extra costs.
    • Service members can take up to two classes each semester.
  • Eligibility: Service members must be U.S. citizens with a high school diploma or the equivalent who are serving on active duty in the Navy. For admittance, sailors must score at least 1000 on the SAT (math and verbal) or 21 math and 20 verbal on the ACT. Additionally, sailors must be able to complete their bachelor’s degrees within 36 months and maintain a GPA of at least 2.5 while enrolled in the program. Those hoping to pursue the nuclear option must score at least 1140 on the SAT or 50 (math and verbal combined) on the ACT.

Navy College Program for Afloat Education

While serving in the Navy, service members may find themselves shipboard for long periods of time. The Navy does not want this to inhibit educational opportunities. In partnership with Central Texas College, the Navy provides college courses to sea-bound service members. There are both instructor-led and distance learning opportunities provided minimum enrollment is met. Instructor-led courses are offered by Central Texas College, while distance learning opportunities are provided by Central Texas College, Coastline Community College, Dallas Colleges Online, Governors State University, Old Dominion University, Saint Leo University, Thomas Edison State University, the University of Oklahoma, and Vincennes University. All credits are transferable to other institutions to ensure that service members can complete their degrees at a later point.

  • Award amount: The Navy will cover 100% of tuition. Service members are responsible for books and class materials.
  • Eligibility: Service members must be assigned to ships on sea duty. Both Navy and Marine Corps service members are eligible for this program. If a service member is temporarily assigned to sea duty, the service member is only eligible to take part in the program if coursework can be completed while the ship is at sea.

Navy College Fund

This fund provides prospective soldiers with an incentive to enlist and fill a position for a critical or understaffed Military Occupational Specialty. Upon enlistment, soldiers accept the Navy College Fund for up to three years, with an initial enlistment of at least three years. This money supplements the Montgomery GI Bill.

  • Award amount: The award amounts depend on when the soldier enlisted and began serving on active duty and the service commitment of the original enlistment. Money accrues monthly provided the service member remains qualified for his or her original specialty. Sailors must maintain enrollment in the Montgomery GI Bill Program.
    • Benefits last for 10 years after the service member’s final release from active duty if used with the Montgomery GI Bill.
  • Eligibility: Navy recruits must have enlisted for active duty after November 21, 1989, (with no prior service) and agreed to an initial service commitment of at least three years. Additionally, recruits must be between 17 and 35 years old, possess a high school diploma, score at least 50 on the Armed Forces Qualifying Test, and enroll in the Montgomery GI Bill Program at the time of enlistment.
  • Applicability: These benefits apply toward degree and certificate programs, correspondence courses, online courses, apprenticeships, on-the-job training, work-study programs, private tutoring, remedial courses, cooperative programs, flight training, and vocational or technical training.

Navy Loan Repayment Program

The Navy will agree to pay back part of a sailor’s federal educational loans if the sailor agrees to enlist and serve on active duty in the Navy.

  • Award amount: Perkins Loans, Direct Loans, and PLUS Loans (taken out for the soldier’s education) are all eligible for repayment. The Navy will repay the greater of one-third of the outstanding balance on the loans or $1,500 after each year of service for up to three years (up to $65,000). Sailors are responsible for paying interest and taxes.
  • Eligibility: Enlisting active duty sailors must agree to a service commitment of at least four years. This program is only open to sailors who will enter the Navy through the delayed entry program.
    • Reserve sailors are not eligible.
    • To maintain eligibility for benefits under the Montgomery GI Bill, sailors must re-enlist and serve an additional two years on active duty. To maintain eligibility for Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits, sailors must serve at least six years.

Advanced Education Voucher Program

This program offers financial aid for postsecondary educational opportunities to senior enlisted sailors. Advanced Education Vouchers can apply toward either bachelor’s or master’s degrees provided the sailor is pursuing a Navy-relevant degree. Sailors must be enrolling in a program that will grant them a degree higher than any previous education.

  • Award amount: The Navy will cover full tuition, fees, and books for up to $6,700 annually for up to three years for sailors pursuing bachelor’s degrees; the total award is not to exceed $20,000. For sailors pursuing master’s degrees, the Navy will cover full tuition, fees, and books for up to $20,000 annually for up to two years. Sailors are not eligible to use Tuition Assistance for more funding.
  • Eligibility: Sailors must be enlisted and rank at least as chief petty officer (E-7). They must have adequate off-duty time (personal time beyond work hours) to complete the degree program at an accredited institution. Classes may be in-person or distance learning. Sailors must agree to an active duty service commitment three times as long as the number of months of education completed or three years, whichever is less.

Graduate Education Voucher Program

This program provides financial aid to active duty unrestricted line officers (commissioned officers who can command at sea) who would like to return to school to earn a graduate-level degree during their personal time.

  • Award amount: The program will cover up to $20,000 per fiscal year for tuition, course-related fees, and books for up to two years.
  • Eligibility: Officers must be lieutenants, lieutenant commanders, or commanders on shore duty to be eligible for this program. Candidates must be able to complete their degrees within 24 months and the degree must meet the requirements of the Navy. Sailors must agree to a three-year service commitment following the completion of the degree.

Navy Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve Kicker

The "kicker" provides prospective Navy reserve sailors an incentive to enlist. This money supplements the Montgomery GI Bill, and as such, upon enlistment, sailors must opt into the GI Bill to receive the kicker.

  • Award amount: The award is up to $200 monthly for a maximum of $7,200 for all sailors. The monthly amount depends on the time commitment of the sailor to the Reserves. Benefits can be accrued for up to 36 months.
  • Eligibility: Soldiers must be eligible for Montgomery GI Bill benefits and must not be on active duty. The kicker expires when a soldier can no longer receive Montgomery GI Bill benefits.
  • Applicability: These benefits apply toward degree and certificate programs, correspondence courses, apprenticeships, on-the-job training, preparatory classes needed for admission to a college program, private tutoring, flight training, and overseas study abroad programs.

Navy Olmsted Scholar Program

This program allows active duty officers the chance to learn a foreign language in two years of graduate-level education at the expense of the Navy. The program aims to turn out officers who are fluent in foreign languages, appreciate other cultures, and learn about different regions through overseas travel. Sailors do not have to have a background in foreign languages to apply.

  • Award amount: This program will cover the cost of tuition. Sailors are still considered to be on active duty for the duration of their education, so they will receive their regular paychecks and benefits.
  • Eligibility: Officers must have served on commission for at least three years but cannot have served more than 11 years of federal service by the time of candidate selection. They will need to provide their scores on the Defense Language Aptitude Battery and the GRE, official transcripts, an essay on why they want to be part of this program, and a letter of endorsement from their commanding officer. Sailors will incur a service commitment three times as long as their participation in the program.

Civil Engineer Collegiate Program

This program will cover up to two years of undergraduate and graduate education for students interested in joining the Navy and commissioning as a civil engineer corps officer. This is different from an ROTC program in that students will not begin to take military courses until after graduation, when they will attend Officer Candidate School and the Civil Engineer Corps Officer School.

  • Award amount: This program offers up to $113,100 to finish a civil engineering degree. This includes a military salary, a housing allowance, a food allowance, and health care.
  • Eligibility: Students must be U.S. citizens able to meet Navy physical fitness standards, who are at least 19 years old but will be younger than 35 years old at commissioning. They must be enrolled at an Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology-accredited engineering program or an National Architectural Accrediting Board-accredited architecture program. Students will incur a service commitment upon commissioning.

Nurse Candidate Program

This program provides financial aid to students who are studying to receive a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. Upon acceptance into the program, students enroll in the Navy Reserve with an eight-year inactive duty service commitment. Upon graduation, this commitment is relinquished and the student accepts a commission as an ensign in the Nurse Corps with an eight-year service commitment (at least four of which must be active duty).

  • Award amount: This program offers a $10,000 bonus for joining the Navy that will be paid out in $5,000 increments over a six-month period. Additionally, each month, the student will receive $1,000 for up to 24 months while enrolled as a full-time nursing student.
  • Eligibility: Students must be U.S. citizens who are below the age of 42 at the time of commissioning and able to meet Navy physical fitness standards. Students must be enrolled at an accredited institution to pursue their Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees.

Nuclear Propulsion Officer Candidate Program

This program is for students interested in commissioning as a Navy Nuclear Officer after completing their education. There are four potential focus areas within this program: submarine officers, surface warfare officers, naval reactors engineers, and naval nuclear power school instructors. Participants in this program will owe a five-year active duty service commitment and an additional three years in the IRR.

  • Award amount: This program provides a monthly stipend of up to $5,610 for up to 30 months. This includes a military salary, a housing allowance, a food allowance, and health care.
  • Eligibility: Students must be U.S. citizens able to meet Navy physical fitness standards. They must be at least 19 years old but cannot reach 29 years of age before commissioning. Students need to be sufficiently skilled in calculus and physics as shown by completing one year of each at an accredited institution. Additionally, students must have completed a bachelor’s degree or be currently enrolled in a program at an accredited institution. Degree requirements are specific to each focus area.

Page last updated: 05/2017