Education and Training Benefit

Thinking of going back to school after your career in the military? Get financial help to go to college, university, technical school, or a short-term program.

About this program

Getting additional training, a certification, a degree or a diploma can help you be more competitive in the workforce; setting you apart from other applicants. Whether you are continuing a learning program or just starting out, the Education and Training Benefit can help finance the education you need to reach your career goals.

The Education and Training Benefit is not limited to formal post-secondary training. A smaller amount of funding is also available for short courses, such as those aimed at career and personal development. This can include business boot camps, workshops and seminars.

The Education and Training Benefit is a taxable benefit.


Do you qualify?

You should apply for the Education and Training Benefit if:

  • you were honourably released from the Canadian Armed Forces (Regular or Reserve Force) on or after April 1, 2006, or are a member of the Supplementary Reserve and;
  • you meet the “length of service” requirement:
    • at least 12 years of authorized days of CAF Service (4382 days) to receive up to $81,920 or
    • at least 6 years of authorized days of CAF service (2191 days) to receive up to $40,960

You have up to 10 years following your release date to access this funding. If you released from the Canadian Armed Forces between 1 April 2006 and 31 March 2018, you have until 1 April 2028 to access the funding.

Please note: You cannot access this funding while you are participating in VAC’s Rehabilitation and Vocational Assistance program, or if you are receiving the Canadian Forces Income Support.


How to apply

Before you apply

If you’re not sure what education to pursue, consider applying for Career Transition Services first. This program will give you access to a trained career coach. They will work with you to help you find your best educational or training path.


Apply online

If you are registered for My VAC Account, you can submit your application for this benefit online. My VAC Account offers a guided web form that makes applying easier. If you aren't registered, you can register now.

My VAC Account

Mail or in person

Download the application form. Then, drop it off at a VAC office or CAF Transition Centre. You can also mail your completed application directly to the address listed on the form.

Go to form

Get help with your application

The staff at any VAC office or Transition Centre can assist you, or call us at 1-866-522-2122.


Additional information

After you apply, you can expect a decision on your eligibility for the Education and Training Benefit within four weeks.

Find out more

Watch this video for a quick overview of the Education and Training Benefit.


Build your education plan

If you are approved for funding, you will then submit your education and training plan. The first step is to think about your options. Here are some things to consider:

  • Are you interested in pursuing a university degree? A trade school? A few workshops?
  • How many years does it usually take to complete the program?
  • Will you need to work while going to school?
  • Do you have other commitments which might limit the time you can dedicate to your studies?

Your answers to these and other questions will help you build your plan. It can be a lot to think about. Fortunately, most Veterans who qualify for this benefit are also eligible for VAC’s Career Transition Services, which can provide one-on-one help to:

  • Choose the field of study that is right for you,
  • plan your studies to suit your circumstances,
  • complete your forms, and
  • support your search for a job when you have completed your courses.

We need to receive your completed plan in advance of your course or period of study (e.g. semester) before we can send you any funds. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide retroactive payments.


Submit your education plan

If you use Career Transition Services, your career coach will help you submit your plan. If you are doing this on your own, there are two application forms to choose from – one for a formal program and one for a short course. You can submit your plan through My VAC Account or you can download the plan and mail it to us.

Formal program

The formal program plan requires information such as number of courses, cost of the program and start/end dates. This helps us calculate your payment plan to ensure you have enough funding for the duration of your program. If we need more information from you, we will contact you. Once your plan is approved, you will receive a letter detailing the total amount you will receive and your payment schedule.

Short course

You should fill out the short course plan when the course you want is short term and will not result in a college or university certificate, diploma or degree. For example:

  • small business/entrepreneurial boot camps,
  • continuing education,
  • workshops,
  • certification or professional designations, or
  • other professional development.

Monitor your progress

When you finish a period of study (e.g. semester), you will complete and submit the Education and Training Benefit – Monitoring Form (VAC 1550). This form is required before we can send the next payment in your schedule. When you submit the monitoring form, you will also need to include:

  • Proof of completion of the recently finished period of study (e.g. transcript), and
  • Proof of enrollment in the upcoming period of study (e.g. confirmation of registration).

To ensure that these documents reach VAC quickly, we recommend uploading the monitoring form through My VAC Account. Once VAC receives your completed form, your next payment will be issued.

Note: We can only issue payments within 60 days of the start of your study period.

The graduate bonus

After you complete your plan and achieve your diploma, degree or certification, you can apply for the “completion bonus.” All you need to do is submit the Education and Training Benefit - Completion Bonus (VAC 1572), along with proof of your achievement, and you will receive an additional $1,000.

The Education and Training Benefit - Applicant Guide (PDF) also covers all of the above steps from applying to this program through to your graduation.


Related programs

Career Transition Services - Access to a career counselor for Veterans who want to find a new job.

Vocational rehabilitation - Coaching, support and any other training you need to return to work or find a new job after an injury.

Transition Interview – Before you release, a meeting to provide information on VAC programs and services available to you and your family.


Information for education and training institutions

Veterans of the CAF have gained world-class skills and experience throughout their military careers that can translate very well into the classroom and workforce. The Education and Training Benefit will give many of these Veterans the opportunity and funding to participate in post-secondary education and other career development training programs.

Want more information? Find out how the Education and Training Benefit can help you recruit students from the Veteran community.


Frequently asked questions


If I apply for the benefit and get declined, can I appeal?

Yes. If you are not satisfied with a decision you may apply in writing for a review. Learn more about your review and appeal options.


The Education and Training Benefit was not previously available to Supplementary Reservists, but now it is. What changed?

The original legislation for this program identified Supplementary Reservists as ‘still serving’. Since still serving members do not qualify for the Education and Training Benefit, this disqualified them from the funding. The legislation has since been amended to include Supplementary Reservists .


I am a Supplementary Reservist and I already submitted my application before this change came into effect. Do I need to reapply?

You do not need to re-apply. We are now reviewing all applications from Supplementary Reservists that were received prior to 5 July 2019.

If you previously submitted an application and you have not heard from us by 2 August 2019, please contact us.


View all Education and Training Benefit FAQs.


How do I change or amend my plan?

After your ETB plan has been approved, circumstances may arise that may make you want to change your plan. For example, the course load is too heavy, or you have experienced a disruption in your personal life. If you want to make a change to your education plan, you must advise VAC immediately by completing and submitting the Education and Training Benefit - Plan Amendment (VAC 1573). We will evaluate your updated plan, and if approved, will recalculate your payment schedule for the remaining periods of study.


Do family members qualify for the Education and Training Benefit?

No. This benefit is for Veterans only. But there are other options for family members. Survivors, spouses and common-law partners may be able to access vocational assistance if the Veteran is ill or injured and unable to participate in vocational rehabilitation. Also, the Education Assistance Program supports children of certain deceased Veterans and members of the Canadian Armed Forces.


Are there policies for this program?

Yes. Read more about the Education and Training Benefit policies.

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