(a) Program Authority.—
The Secretary of each military department may establish a program to increase the number of, and the level of the qualifications of, persons entering the armed forces as enlisted members by encouraging recruits to pursue higher education or vocational or technical training before entry into active service.
(b) Delayed Entry With Allowance for Higher Education.—The Secretary concerned may—
(1) exercise the authority under section 513 of this title—
to accept the enlistment of a person as a Reserve for service in the Selected Reserve or Individual Ready Reserve of a reserve component, notwithstanding the scope of the authority under subsection (a) of that section, in the case of the Army National Guard of the United States or Air National Guard of the United States; and
to authorize, notwithstanding the period limitation in subsection (b) of that section, a delay of the enlistment of any such person in a regular component under that subsection for the period during which the person is enrolled in, and pursuing a program of education at, an institution of higher education, or a program of vocational or technical training, on a full-time basis that is to be completed within the maximum period of delay determined for that person under subsection (c); and
subject to paragraph (2) of subsection (d) and except as provided in paragraph (3) of that subsection, pay an allowance to a person accepted for enlistment under paragraph (1)(A) for each month of the period during which that person is enrolled in and pursuing a program described in paragraph (1)(B).
(c) Maximum Period of Delay.—
The period of delay authorized a person under paragraph (1)(B) of subsection (b) may not exceed the 30-month period beginning on the date of the person’s enlistment accepted under paragraph (1)(A) of such subsection.
The monthly allowance paid under subsection (b)(2) shall be equal to the amount of the subsistence allowance provided for certain members of the Senior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps with the corresponding number of years of participation under section 209(a) of title 37. The Secretary concerned may supplement that stipend by an amount not to exceed $225 per month.
A member of the Selected Reserve of a reserve component may be paid an allowance under this section only for months during which the member performs satisfactorily as a member of a unit of the reserve component that trains as prescribed in section 10147(a)(1) of this title or section 502(a) of title 32. Satisfactory performance shall be determined under regulations prescribed by the Secretary concerned.
(e) Recoupment of Allowance.—
A person who, after receiving an allowance under this section, fails to complete the total period of service required of that person in connection with delayed entry authorized for the person under section 513 shall repay the United States the amount which bears the same ratio to the total amount of that allowance paid to the person as the unserved part of the total required period of service bears to the total period.
An obligation to repay the United States imposed under paragraph (1) is for all purposes a debt owed to the United States.
A discharge of a person in bankruptcy under title 11 that is entered less than five years after the date on which the person was, or was to be, enlisted in the regular Army pursuant to the delayed entry authority under section 513 does not discharge that person from a debt arising under paragraph (1).
(f) Special Pay and Bonuses.—
Upon enlisting in the regular component of the member’s armed force, a person who initially enlisted as a Reserve under this section may, at the discretion of the Secretary concerned, be eligible for all regular special pays, bonuses, education benefits, and loan repayment programs.