For many, the opportunity to pursue education and training beyond high school is not easily within reach. When military members are asked why they serve, the available GI Bill® education benefits are often one reason why.

As a part of their earned benefits, active duty men and women can also transfer all or part of their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to their spouse and/or dependent children. This is called Transfer of Entitlement (TOE). Those wishing to transfer entitlement to a dependent must be sure to do this while still on active duty.

The option to transfer education assistance to dependent family members provides them with the financial means to pay for their education and training. However, until recently, this benefit was not available to all dependent children. With the recent passing of the Johnny Isakson and David P. Roe Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2020, commonly referred to as Isakson and Roe, beginning January 6, 2021, service members can transfer all or part of their Post-9/11 GI Bill entitlement to their ward or foster child. This new law changes how VA administers education benefits, and more importantly, is a major step in recognizing the diversity of the Nation’s military families and their unique needs.

According to the Department of Defense, more than five million people are part of today’s military family. The men and women who serve in our Nation’s armed forces are a diverse group. So, too, are their families, to include spouses, children and other family members who represent varying demographics, experiences and needs. With the implementation of Isakson and Roe, VA is able to address the needs of more families and ensure that the GI Bill’s purpose is further realized.

Now, even more military dependents can receive help paying for tuition, books and housing using Post-9/11 GI Bill education benefits. Eligible dependents, who are pursuing a degree or certification in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) field, can maximize their benefits through the Edith Nourse Rogers STEM Scholarship. To help pay for higher out-of-state, private or graduate tuition that the Post-9/11 GI Bill doesn’t cover, the Yellow Ribbon Program provides additional assistance. In addition to education and training, GI Bill benefits can provide other assistance to eligible students, such as help with paying for certain test fees and help with deciding on the right school or program, using the GI Bill Comparison Tool.

The spring months provide the Nation with an opportunity to celebrate those who serve and their families. As we celebrate service members and their families during Month of the Military Child in April and Military Appreciation Month in May, this is also an opportunity to celebrate the uniqueness of military families. In continued celebration of our Nation’s military families, VA will continue to do its part to acknowledge the differences that make them unique, while ensuring that their unique needs are also met.

Louiseza Sanderson works in the Stakeholder Engagement office in VBA’s Education Service.

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Published on Apr. 28, 2021

Estimated reading time is 2.5 min.

Views to date: 1,334


  1. SSG moses milburn May 7, 2021 at 11:52 pm

    I’m retired army, can my daughter use my Entitlement to finish her college time, I have more than 1 education entitlement. She’s almost done , she need more time at the campus. What can I do?

  2. Gary Ma May 6, 2021 at 10:14 pm

    Wrt transfer of educational benefits to dependents, has the va and Dod made any progress toward equally supporting active duty service members who don’t have a dependent until after a full active duty career. If these members fulfill same obligations and service, why are the penalized for a mere date of entering into marriage or having a child after retirement?

    Is there some logical rationale for this situation?

  3. Edgar Luciano May 6, 2021 at 8:39 pm

    The major change that needs to happen, it’s to let retirees to make the change of benefits just like active duty! In my case I have to retire because the RCP regulation for an E7 was change and when I was told I had one year left, during the ACAP briefing I brought this up, but I was told that I couldn’t transfer the benefit.

  4. Peter Krempely May 6, 2021 at 3:43 pm

    I was among the last of the Vietnam War draftees in 1972. Had two brothers who served in Nam and they advised enlisted for an extra year to learn a trade and avoid combat. Got my orders for Vietnam but broke my jaw and had to delay my duty report date. My unit got transferred to Korea so I met up with them and served my duty honorably. Got discharged and 10 years later came down with Tuberculosis. Suspected it was service connected, since two buddies I served with got it about the same time. Went to the VA for care and spent a month in the VA hospital. (The Reagan recession was brutal and I had no job and no insurance). I was told the VA would always take care of me.
    After 2 years I recovered and went about building a career in IT. Did pretty well, invested wisely and took care of myself.
    After my retirement, I check into VA health benefits and learned that I was minimally qualified at the lowest level. That means I get charged co-pays and fees like Medicare for VA health services. Yes, I can take care of myself, but had I been unsuccessful, broke and in poor health the VA would take care of me. Who chose the better path and is it fair?

  5. michael schardt May 6, 2021 at 1:18 pm

    Has there been any progress made with the co-pay forgiveness plan? I scrapped up a considerable amount of money and made a large payment before I heard about it.
    Michael Schardt

  6. Mark Dyer May 6, 2021 at 8:36 am

    Is there other benefits for family members to qualify for after the 9/11 -yellow ribbon is ehausted?. This has been the only way for to go to college. Certainly can’t get a loan, moreless pay the payment or hope for forgiveness of one.

  7. Adolfo Martinez May 5, 2021 at 9:49 pm

    Is there additional help for more than 1 child? There should also be additional education benefits for those that serve multiple decades. This would also help with keeping good military men and women serving longer. If further education becomes more easily affordable to all civilians, then the GI Bill will be a joke.

  8. Mark D Naymik May 5, 2021 at 8:28 pm

    The benefit would be helpful to pay for student loans that me and my wife took out for my child. We are still paying loans down, that 50k sitting there does me no good now hes already graduated.
    Can that be the next benefit update?

  9. Mark Beck May 1, 2021 at 11:50 am

    Now if only they’d fix the system so that we can transfer the benefit to our children after Retirement.

    • Edgar Luciano May 6, 2021 at 8:45 pm

      You are 100% right! That’s what needs to be done!

  10. Thomas Worley April 30, 2021 at 9:55 am

    I am a 76 year old Vietnam Veteran with Multiple Health Disparities due to my exposure to the Chemical Agent Orange.
    (1) Skin Condition
    (2) Diabetes 2
    (3) PTSD
    (4) Peripheral Nephropathy
    (5) High Blood Pressure
    (6) Prostate Cancer
    (7) Erectile Dysfunction
    My tour of duty in Vietnam began January 26, 1966 until January 26, 1967. I was assigned to 505th Graves Registration. Our duties was to Recieve, on some occasions Retrieve, Escort and Transport our deceased soldiers. We handled these deceased soldiers who had this deadly encounter with the enemy while breathing in these dust particles or traveling in air spaces directly in or around contaminated jungles without Any protective gear.
    Thomas Worley

  11. Remedios Espino April 30, 2021 at 9:23 am

    My 15 year retirement in October, is too late for me to use my 9/11 gi bill?

    • Reina Rivera May 5, 2021 at 11:29 pm

      Are they still approving retirement with 15 years? My son in law was just told not anymore…

  12. Anthony April 30, 2021 at 8:22 am

    It’s great that we are now recognizing the diversity of military families and allowing service members to transfer benefits to wards and foster children.

    Perhaps it’s also time to recognize the diversity of higher education, and stop punishing veterans who choose to attend online schools by only paying half the national average for BAH. It seems a message that online schools are less demanding or somehow decrease the cost of living for students. This is clearly not the case.

  13. Francisco Mejia April 29, 2021 at 5:31 pm

    I am not on Active Duty anymore is there a way to transfer my benefits to my child?

    • Jo jo May 6, 2021 at 1:11 am


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