The US Army Reserve
The Army Reserve is an indispensable part of the United States defense strategy. The Army Reserves work in conjunction with the Active Army and the National Guard to ensure the safety and integrity of our Nation.
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Just like the U.S. Army, the U.S. Army Reserves offer a number of different incentives and bonuses that may apply to you. Recruits without prior service who enlist for the new three-year Reserve enlistment option may also be eligible for enlistment bonuses of up to $20,000, depending on the Reserve unit vacancy and how quickly the individual can report to training. The Army Reserves also offers bonuses for prior service, certain much needed civilian skills, and level of education, among other things. Find out if you qualify today!

U.S. Army Enlistment Incentives

As of April 19, 2007
Incentives are subject to change. Ask your local recruiter for the latest information. Army Reserve Incentives

Army Reserve maximum enlistment bonus $20,000 (Non-Prior Service)

Qualified Army Reserve applicants without previous military service who enlist for six years may qualify for combined bonuses of up to $20,000, depending on the Reserve unit vacancy and how quickly the individual can report to training. Army Reserve Soldiers also must agree to remain in the Inactive Reserve for two more years - a total obligation of not less than eight years.

6-year Maximum Date of Increase
$20,000

January 2006

$10,000 2004
$8,000  

Recruits without prior service who enlist for the new three-year Reserve enlistment option may also be eligible for enlistment bonuses of up to $20,000, depending on the Reserve unit vacancy and how quickly the individual can report to training. Soldiers also must agree to remain in the Inactive Reserve for the remainder of their eight-year military service obligation.
The three-year enlistment option was implemented in April 2005.

Army Reserve quick-ship bonus

Army Reserve recruits who are willing to report for training before the end of January 2007 may be eligible for a bonus of $5,000. This bonus is for applicants without prior service and may be combined with other enlistment incentives.

Basic enlistment qualifications

  • U.S. citizen or permanent legal resident
  • 17 to 42 years old
  • Healthy and in good physical condition
  • In good moral standing
  • High school or equivalent education

The enlistment age limit was raised from 35 to 40 in March 2005; it was raised up to 42 in June 2006.

Prior Service enlistment bonuses

Individuals with previous military service who enlist in a critical skill position for six years are eligible for a bonus of $15,000; those who enlist for three years are eligible for a $7,500 bonus. This bonus may be combined with other incentives.

The Reserve Student Loan Repayment Program is available to qualified prior service applicants who enlist in a high-priority vacancy for three or more years. The SLRP may be combined with other enlistment incentives.

The selected Reserve Montgomery GI Bill & kicker is available to qualified prior service applicants who enlist in a high-priority vacancy for six years. This incentive may be combined with other incentives.

Army Reserve Incentives Reserve Bonus for civilian skills (ACASP)

Qualified Army Reserve applicants who already have civilian skills that the Army Reserve needs and enlist in a critical skill specialty may be eligible for bonus of up to $20,000 through the Army Civilian Acquired Skills Program (ACASP). This bonus may only be combined with the Reserve Student Loan Repayment Program. Maximum Bonus amount Date of increase $20,000 December 2006 $10,000 May 2006 $5,000 Army Reserve education bonus Qualified non-prior service applicants holding bachelorsí degrees who enlist for three or six years can earn $4,000 if the Reserve unit has a priority vacancy. Associate or two-year degree holders can earn $3,000. Qualified high school graduates with 60 or more college semester hours can qualify for a $2,000 bonus, and those with 30 to 59 college semester hours can earn $1,000 for enlisting in a priority Army Reserve vacancy.

These bonuses were implemented in April 2005. There previously were no bonuses for recruits with those education qualifications.

Reserve Student Loan Repayment Program

The Reserve Student Loan Repayment Program (SLRP) offers eligible recruits who enlist in a high-priority vacancy in a Selected Reserve Troop Program Unit up to $10,000 toward qualifying student loans. Selected job specialties offer up to $20,000.

The SLRP is also available to qualified prior service applicants who enlist in a high-priority vacancy for three or more years.

The SLRP may be combined with other enlistment incentives.

Reserve MGIB and kicker

The Army Reserve offers a selected Reserve Montgomery GI Bill up to $11,124. Recruits who qualify for and accept a critical skill position in the Army Reserve could earn up to $23,724 with the MGIB Kicker.

The MGIB and Kicker are also available to qualified prior service applicants who enlist in a high-priority vacancy for six years. This incentive may be combined with other incentives.

There is no Reserve Army College Fund.

Army Reserve Incentives Partnership for Youth Success

Partnership for Youth Success (PaYS) is an enlistment option that helps non-prior service applicants obtain civilian employment at the time of their Army Reserve enlistment.

A database allows the applicant to choose a PaYS partner that is looking for the job skills he or she will gain in the Army. The Army has more than 200 partners with more than 162,700 jobs available to Army Reserve recruits.

Under the terms of the agreement between Recruiting Command and the PaYS partners, enlistees gain specific job training and qualifications that will prepare them for employment with their selected PaYS partner.

As part of the enlistment process, the recruit signs a statement of understanding which contains specific details of the positions selected and PaYS partner contact information. This statement becomes part of the Soldierís official military personnel file. Following their initial entry training, Soldiers will interview with the partner for a specific job at a specific location.

PaYS may be combined with other enlistment incentives.

Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)

The Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) is a Federal Government-sponsored retirement savings and investment plan. The TSP offers the same type of savings and tax benefits that many private corporations offer their employees under "401(k)" plans.

The standard Thrift Savings Plan is available to all Soldiers, who may enroll in the program at any time during their enlistment. Soldiers can elect to contribute as much as 100% of their basic pay, including incentives, special or bonus pay, up to the annual IRS tax-deferred limit of $15,000.

TSP was extended to members of the uniformed services in October 2000.

09L Middle Eastern Translator Aide bonus

The enlistment bonus is $10,000 for eligible individuals who speak certain Middle-Eastern languages and enlist as 09L in the U.S. Army Individual Ready Reserve (IRR). This bonus cannot be combined with any other enlistment incentives.

Bonus amount Date of increase
$10,000 March 2005
$7,000 August 2004 (introduced)

Non-prior service applicants who enlist for 09L in the Selected Reserve may be eligible for a $15,000 Army Civilian Acquired Skills Program (ACASP) bonus. This bonus cannot be combined with any other enlistment incentives.

Soldiers in the IRR have a service obligation but are not assigned to a Reserve unit, while soldiers in the Selected Reserve are assigned to a unit.

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