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According to data collected by the Student Veterans of America (SVA), about 52 percent of former service members who utilized their G.I. Bill benefits completed their higher-education programs, and earned their degree.

They started their successful journey by attaining the benefits they were afforded through the following process — a step-by-step process any current or former service member can go through, online.

If you’ve already applied for G.I. Bill benefits and want to check on them, click here.

Step One: Check If You’re Eligible for Benefits

Click here then follow the instructions on this page.

You’ll need to be either an active-duty service member or veteran, a member of the National Guard or Reserves, or a qualified survivor or dependent.

If you’ve served on active duty after September 10, 2001 for at least 90 days, continuously or even interrupted, you may be eligible for the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill.

You may be eligible for the Montgomery G.I. Bill Active Duty (MGIB-AD) if you were honorably discharged, have a high school diploma, GED or 12 hours of college credit and meet other requirements. If you’re a member of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard Reserves, Army National Guard or the Air National Guard and have a six-year obligation in the Selected Service or are an officer in the Selected Reserve who agreed to serve six years on top of your original obligation — and you meet other requirements, you may be able to obtain the benefits from the Montgomery G.I. Bill Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR).

Again, for more information, click here.

Step Two: Prepare

It’s a good idea to know how far — and where — your benefits will go, before you even apply. This tool will answer a lot of these questions.

Also, you’ll need to prepare the following documents, and have them ready for the application: Social Security number, bank account direct deposit information, education and military history, some information about the school/training facility you’re aiming to attend.

If you need personal assistance in putting together any of the above, you can find a friendly member of a Veterans Service Organization (VSO) to contact, by clicking here.

Step Three: Apply!

Click here then scroll down to the green button that reads “Select Correct Form.” Pull it down and choose one of the two options: “Applying for a new benefit” or “Updating my current education benefits.”

You’ll then answer a few more “Yes” or “No” questions before you’ll be given another green button that reads “Apply now.” Click on it, and then follow the online instructions.

It should only take about 15 minutes to complete.

Step Four: What Happens After You Apply?

You’ll have to wait for a decision. The good news is that it should only take about a month, or 30 days.

If your application is approved, you’ll receive your Certificate of Eligibility (COE) in the mail. You’ll need this and give it to the VA certifying official at the school you choose to attend.

If you have any questions, you can call 888-442-4551 (888-GI-BILL-1) from 8:00 am to 7:00 pm (ET), Monday through Friday.