College Orientation: Benefits
Reserves Educational Assistance Program (REAP - Chapter 1607)
REAP is a Department of Defense education benefit program designed to provide educational assistance to members of the Reserve components called or ordered to active duty in response to a war or national emergency. This program makes certain reservists who were activated for at least 90 days after September 11, 2001 either eligible for education benefits or eligible for increased benefits.
Your Reserve or Guard Component will enter your eligibility into the DoD personnel system if you become eligible.
You may be eligible for REAP benefits if you meet the following requirements:
- Served on active duty on or after September 11, 2001, in support of a contingency operation for 90 consecutive days or more; or
- Performed full-time National Guard duty under section 502 (f) of title 32 for 90 consecutive days or more when authorized by the President or Secretary of Defense for the purpose of responding to a national emergency declared by the President and supported by Federal funds; or
- A member called or ordered to active service while serving in the Selected Reserve remains entitled to benefits under REAP only by continuing to serve in the Selected Reserve. A member called or ordered to active service from the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) remains entitled to benefits under REAP by continuing to serve in the Ready Reserve (either Selected Reserve or IRR).
Note: You may be eligible as soon as you have served 90 consecutive days on active duty in a qualifying period of active duty. Not all call-up service is necessarily qualifying for REAP. DoD/ DHS identities which reservists and full-time National Guard members are eligible. In some cases, serving in an AGR (Active Guard and Reserve) may be qualifying service.
You may use this education assistance program for degree programs, certificate or correspondence courses, cooperative training, independent study programs, apprenticeship/on-the-job training, and vocational flight training programs. Remedial, refresher and deficiency training are available under certain circumstances.
$600 Buy-Up Program
Some reservists may contribute up to an additional $600 to the GI Bill to receive increased monthly benefits. For an additional $600 contribution, you may receive up to $5400 in additional GI Bill benefits. You must be a member of a Ready Reserve component (Selected Reserve, Individual Ready Reserve, or Inactive National Guard) to pay into the "buy-up" program.
Applying for your VA Benefits
There, you will find the "Road Map for Success":
- Step 1: Determine your best Benefit
- Step 2: Collect Your Paperwork and Information
- Step 3: Choosing a School
- Step 4: Compare the Programs
- Step 5: Apply
NOTE: Whether you choose to apply online or by sending a paper application through the mail, we recommend following the Road Map above. In addition to the steps outlined above, you will also need to submit some paperwork to Excelsior College.
Paperwork required by Excelsior College
- If you did not already indicate that you have this benefit during the admissions process, please complete the Letter of Intent linked below and provide it to Excelsior College's financial aid office.
- Letter of Intention and Instructions - Veterans Affairs (VA) Benefits (PDF)
Financial aid counselor for veterans
Application, degree planning, or enrollment assistance
Toll free: 888-647-2388, ext. 1352
Veteran Services and Outreach at Excelsior:
Veterans Services and Outreach
7 Columbia Circle
Albany, NY 12203-5159