Members of the Selected Reserves make many sacrifices for the United States and its citizens. In an effort to reward these servicemembers who are called into active duty either because of war or a sudden threat to national security, the military created the Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP) to assist servicemembers by providing money for a college education.
REAP was first established in 2005 as a part of the Ronald Reagan National Defense Authorization Act and is a Department of Defense educational benefit program. Reservists who were activated for at least a 90 day period after September 11, 2001 are eligible.
Individuals become eligible for REAP as soon as they hit the 90-day mark regardless of if they are currently active duty or not. The Department of Defense is responsible for fully identifying contingency operations that qualify a member for benefits. Members of the National Guard may also be eligible if their active duty falls under section 502(f), title 32 U.S.C. and if they have served for 90 consecutive days as authorized by the President or Secretary of Defense.
Some servicemembers may choose to contribute up to an additional $600 to the GI Bill in order to receive an increase in monthly benefit payments. This additional contribution of $600 may result in an increase of up to $5400 additional GI Bill benefits. In order to participate in this “buy-up” program, individuals must be a member of the Selected Reserve Individual Ready Reserve, or the Inactive National Guard.
The Reserve Educational Assistance Program provides Reservists with up to 36 academic months of education benefits like tuition payment toward their college education. Degrees can be acquired through college or university programs, vocational programs, independent study through distant learning, apprenticeships and flight training courses.
If you qualify for REAP, taking advantage of the many benefits can put your life and career on a high trajectory path toward success.