The State of Wisconsin provides a number of educational programs for state veterans that are in addition to any federal veterans' educational benefits that may be available. Eligibility varies between programs, including state residency requirements.
The Federal Government provides several educational benefits for veterans and their dependents. See below for additional information.
The Wisconsin GI Bill provides a full waiver (“remission”) of tuition and fees for eligible veterans and their dependents for up to 8 full-time semesters or 128 credits (whichever is greater) at any University of Wisconsin System (UWS) or Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) institution for any degree seeking courses, or for study at the undergraduate, masters or even doctorial level at the UW System.
In accordance with 2005 Wisconsin Act 468, signed into law by Governor Jim Doyle on Memorial Day 2006 and effective with the 2007–08 academic year, the tuition remission is a full 100% of tuition and fees. The Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs verifies/certifies the veteran's eligibility for the program. The waiver ("remission") of tuition and fees for eligible veterans and their dependents is adminstered by the participating UW and Wisconsin Technical Colleges.
"If you served after September 10, 2001, and are currently using the WI GI Bill or plan to use the WI GI Bill; DO NOT MAKE AN IRREVOCABLE CHOICE TO CHANGE TO POST 9/11 Chapter 33 FEDERAL BENEFITS UNTIL YOU HAVE ALL THE FACTS. Visit the Wisconsin GI Bill Information website for additional information.
The Wisconsin GI Bill is a state program that is entirely separate from the federal VA's Montgomery GI Bill. For more information on the federal GI Bill, see the Wisconsin State Approving Agency (SAA) website.
For additional information, eligibility criteria, instructions on how to apply for the Wisconsin GI Bill, and statutory citations for the program, see the WDVA B0105 information and application booklet.
See the UWS WI GI Bill Benefits FAQs or WTCS WI GI Bill Benefits FAQs for frequently asked questions regarding the Wisconsin GI Bill and the University of Wisconsin System and the Wisconsin Technical College System.
If you have already been certified, do not reapply, even if you’ve changed schools.
Wisconsin GI Bill Tuition Remission Program for Veterans
For the Wisconsin GI Bill, the veteran must have been a Wisconsin resident at the time of entry onto active duty. Character of service and active duty service requirements apply (qualifying periods of service). Veterans with "less than honorable" discharges are not eligible for the Wisconsin GI Bill unless the character of service has been upgraded (DD-215) from the veteran's respective branch of service. Upgrades for the character of service from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (USDVA) are not acceptable for this state program. To obtain an upgraded (DD-215) for the character of service on a veteran's discharge (DD-214), the form DD-149 is used; however, we encourage the veteran to contact their local County Veterans Service Office (CVSO) to assist the veteran in completing the form and provide any necessary documents.
The benefit recipient must reside in Wisconsin.
For veterans, there is no post-service time limitation (such as the federal Montgomery GI Bill 10-year delimiting date) on the use of the benefit. The veteran may attend full-time or part-time.
The benefit may be used for study at the undergraduate or graduate level.
Wisconsin GI Bill Tuition Remission Program for Dependents
A 100% remission is provided to the qualifying dependents of an eligible veteran:
- Spouse; or
- Unremarried Surviving Spouse; or
- Child between the ages of 17 and under 26,
Where the qualifying Wisconsin (must have been considered a Wisconsin resident at the time of entry onto active duty) veteran:
- Is currently rated by the federal VA with a combined service-connected disability rating of 30% or greater; or
- Died in the line of duty while on active, Reserve, or Guard duty; or
- Died as the direct result of a service-connected disability, as determined by the federal VA.
For qualifying spouses the benefit must be used within 10 years of the initial disability rating and payment of 30% or greater. An unremarried surviving spouse of an eligible veteran who had a child with the eligible veteran is eligible to apply until 10 years after the youngest child reached 18 years of age or would have reached 18 if the child dies prior to reaching 18, or during the first 10 years after the veteran's death, whichever is longer. The spouse or unremarried surviving spouse may attend full-time or part-time.
For qualifying children, the benefit is available from ages 17 and under 26. The child may attend full- or part-time. Both children and spouses have to be residents of Wisconsin for tuition purposes to receive the tuition remission.
For the Wisconsin GI Bill, the veteran must have been a Wisconsin resident at the time of entry onto active duty. Character of service and active duty service requirements apply. Veterans with "less than honorable" discharges are not eligible for the Wisconsin GI Bill unless the character of service has been upgraded (DD-215) from the veteran's respective branch of service. Upgrades for the character of service from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (USDVA) are not acceptable for this state program. To obtain an upgrade (DD-215) for the character of service on a veteran's discharge (DD-214) the form DD-149 is used; however, we encourage the veteran to contact their local County Veterans Service Office (CVSO) to assist the veteran in completing the form and provide any necessary documents.
Eligibility for the WI GI Bill is a two-part process. WDVA certifies that the veteran is eligible, and the post secondary educational institution determines the student (be it veteran, spouse, or child of a veteran) as eligible for the tuition remission based upon the statutory requirements for eligibility outlined in the WI GI Bill legislation.
The benefit recipient must reside in Wisconsin.
The Veterans Education (VetEd) grant program provides a reimbursement grant based on a credit-bank system that is based on length of active duty military service to eligible veterans who have not yet been awarded a bachelor’s degree for the reimbursement of tuition and fees following successful course completion at an eligible UW, technical college, or approved private institution of higher learning.
Veterans may currently receive federal VA Chapter 30 Montgomery GI Bill benefits and VetEd for the same semester. Individuals eligible for Wisconsin GI Bill benefits must apply for, and use those benefits in order to be eligible for VetEd reimbursement. VetEd reimbursement will be reduced to the extent that tuition and fees have already been paid by other grants, scholarships, and remissions provided for the payment of tuition and fees, including federal VA Chapter 33 Post 9/11 GI Bill tuition benefits.
Under state law, veterans who entered active duty as a Wisconsin resident retain permanent eligibility for in-state tuition at University of Wisconsin System institutions. To be eligible, a person who was a resident of Wisconsin at the time of entry into federal active duty military service, who is a resident of and living in this state at the time of registering at a UW institution, and who meets the criteria for determination of veteran status under s. 45.01(12) of the Wisconsin Statutes are eligible for in-state tuition rates at UW institutions. There are no restrictions regarding residency after entry onto active duty but before registering at the UW institution under the program.
For more information, and to apply, see the WDVA B0105 information and application booklet, or contact the schools Veterans Certifying Official (a listing for each campus is included in the booklet).
Service members, reservists, and veterans pursuing a college education may be able to obtain academic credit for military courses they have completed through the military. Prior to enrollment individuals should discuss possible credit with the Veterans’ Coordinator at the college or university they plan to attend; credit received may reduce attendance time and cost. They may obtain information regarding transcripts and potential credit for military experience from the links below.
The American Council on Education's (ACE) College Credit Recommendation Service (CREDIT) provides access to academic credit for formal courses and examinations taken outside traditional degree programs. The ACE Guide to the Evaluation of Educational Experiences in the Armed Services contains recommended credit awards for formal military courses and occupations.
The Department of Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) sponsors several programs that advance the acceptance of military education and experience at civilian colleges and universities.
Each branch of service provides transcripts for current and former service members that include individual military education, training, and experience, which are evaluated according to ACE standards for recommended college credit:
- U.S. Army: Army/American Council on Education Registry Transcript System (AARTS)
- U.S. Navy: Sailor/Marine American Council on Education Registry Transcript (SMART)
- U.S. Air Force: Community College of the Air Force (CCAF)
- U.S. Marine Corps: Sailor/Marine American Council on Education Registry Transcript (SMART)
- U.S. Coast Guard: U.S. Coast Guard Institute (CGI)
- GED: Obtain your GED transcript based on the original testing center.
The DANTES Subject Standardized Tests (DSSTs) are approved by ACE and accepted or administered at over 1,900 colleges and universities nationwide. DSSTs enable people to use the knowledge acquired outside the classroom to accomplish educational and professional goals. The website includes downloadable forms, practice tests, and other information.
Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges (SOC) is a consortium of over 1800 colleges and universities pledged to support the higher education needs of military personnel. SOC works with civilian and military educators to overcome obstacles associated with gaining a college education when pursued through traditional means. Among its key goals is the award of credit for military training and experience.
The SOC Consortium Guide provides specific information for awarding credit for national testing programs, military experience, and other non-traditional learning. Service members, reservists, and veterans are encouraged to review their military transcript, obtained from their branch of service (see above), alongside the institutions’ credit-award information. They should contact the school SOC Representative and Veterans’ Coordinator for additional information.
Many public and private Wisconsin institutions (e.g., UW-Madison) accept SOC recommendations, including accepting some or all DSSTs, CLEPs (College Level Examination Program), and ACE recommendations for college credit.
For Information on Federal Veterans’ Education Benefits:
Federal GI Bill Website – http://gibill.va.gov
VA Education Hotline – 1-888-442-4551
"If you served after September 10, 2001, and are currently using the Wisconsin GI Bill or plan to use the Wisconsin GI Bill; DO NOT MAKE AN IRREVOCABLE CHOICE TO CHANGE TO POST 9/11 Chapter 33 FEDERAL BENEFITS UNTIL YOU HAVE ALL THE FACTS. Visit the Wisconsin GI Bill Information website for additional information.
Local School Boards in the state of Wisconsin, under the authority of Wisconsin Statutes section 120.13 (37), may award a high school diploma to veterans who left high school before receiving a high school diploma to join the U.S. armed forces during a statutorily designated war period.
- The high school diploma may be awarded if the veteran applies directly to the local school district, and meets all of the following requirements:
- Is at least 65 years old, or is at least 55 years old and has a service-connected disability;
- Attended high school in the school district, or attended high school in Wisconsin and resides in the school district;
- Left high school before receiving a high school diploma to join the U.S. armed forces during a statutorily designated war period; and
- Served on active duty under honorable conditions in the U.S. armed forces or in forces incorporated as part of the U.S. armed forces (such as the National Guard or Merchant Marine).
- The high school diploma may also be awarded to veterans who received a High School Equivalency Diploma (HSED) after serving on active duty under honorable conditions, and meet the conditions of items 1-3 above.
- The high school diploma may be posthumously awarded if the deceased veteran met the conditions of items 2-4 above.
For more information, please contact the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) directly at 1-800-441-4563 or visit the DPI website.
- Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts (MyCAA)
- Return-to-College Program for Veterans with TBI
- University of Wisconsin System Schools Veterans Certifying Officials Contact List
- Wisconsin Technical Colleges Veterans Certifying Officials Contact List