GI Bill Top 15 Top Questions Answered

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Here are the most asked questions about the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

1. Question: Who is eligible?

Answer: You're eligible if you served a minimum of 90 days on active duty after September 10, 2001. This covers active duty served as a member of the Armed Forces or as a result of a call or order to active duty from a reserve component (National Guard and Reserve) under certain sections of Title 10.

The following types of reserve/guard duty count toward qualification for the Post 9/11 GI Bill:

  • All Title 10 active duty supporting named contingency operations
  • Title 32 service for the purpose of organizing, administering, recruiting, instructing, or training the National Guard
  • Title 32 service under section 502(f) for the purpose of responding to a national emergency
  • All voluntary active duty, with the exception of active duty for medical care and medical evaluation
  • Title 10 service under 502(f): Title 10 service under 12301(h) for the purpose of receiving service-related medical care
  • A reservist who receives a Purple Heart for service occurring on or after September 11, 2001.
  • Service under 12304, 12304a, and 12304b orders, mobilization to provide assistance in response to a major disaster or emergency or for preplanned missions in support of combatant commands
  • Individuals ordered to active duty under section 12301(h) of title 10, USC to receive authorized medical care, to be medically evaluated for disability or other purposes, or to complete a required Department of Defense healthcare study.

If you are a veteran, you must have an honorable discharge. If you served at least 30 days active duty and have a disability discharge you are also eligible.

2. Question: Does the length of time served after Sep. 11, 2001 affect my level of benefits?

Answer: Yes, the amount of tuition and stipends paid under the Post 9/11 GI Bill will vary depending on your school, number of classes taken, and amount of post Sept. 11, 2001 active-duty service. Here is a quick reference showing the percentage of total combined benefit eligibility based on the following periods of post 9/11 service:

  • 100% - 36 or more total months
  • 100% - 30 or more consecutive days with disability related discharge.
  • 90% - 30 total months
  • 80% - 24 total months
  • 70% - 18 total months
  • 60% - 12 total months
  • 50% - 6 total months
  • 40% - 90 or more days

3. Question: What are the benefits of the this new educational assistance program?

Answer: The Post-9/11 GI Bill offers several education assistance benefits. The three major benefits include:

  • up to 100% paid tuition,
  • a monthly housing stipend,
  • a stipend of up to $1,000 a year for books and supplies.

If you attend less than full-time you will receive a portion of the payment based on the number of units of study. These payment rates are paid according to the length of your period of service as listed in the previous question.

Tuition and fee payments will be made to the school (of your choice) for all authorized charges. The Post-9/11 GI Bill can pay your full resident tuition at a public school. If you are attending a private or foreign school it will pay up to $24,476.79. The amount of authorized charges payable for the entire quarter, semester, or term will be sent directly to the school as a lump sum payment.

The monthly housing stipend will be paid based on the monthly basic allowance for housing (BAH) payable for a military member with dependents in pay grade E-5 residing in the same ZIP code for the school or campus where you take a majority of your classes.

The housing allowance is paid at a percentage based on your active duty service, as listed above.

MHA Rate Exceptions

Type of School MHA Rate
Foreign School $1,789.00
Schools in US Territories E-5 with dependents OHA Rate for school location
Exclusively Online Training (No Classroom Instruction) $894.50  
Attending classes at ½ time or less NOT PAYABLE
Active Duty Trainee (or transferee spouse of servicemember) NOT PAYABLE

You may receive a stipend of up to $1,000.00 a year for books, supplies, etc. You will get a lump sum payment in the first month of each quarter, semester, or term. The amount of the stipend payable is an amount equal to the fraction of the whole academic year that the quarter, semester, or term represents.

NOTE: The amount of the monthly housing and book stipends will be paid based on the percentage of maximum benefit payable as noted in a previous question.

Let's use a couple of examples to help explain:

EXAMPLE 1: Florida residents attending Public Money University (PMU) in Florida are charged $2,500 for full-time training each quarter. The monthly housing allowance for the ZIP code that PMU is located is $1,500.

Individuals who served at least 36 months on active duty (eligible for 100% of benefit) and who attend PMU full-time would receive:

  • $2,500 for tuition and fees (paid directly to PMU);
  • A monthly housing allowance of $1,500 per month (while pursuing training); and
  • $250 book stipend for each quarter that they are enrolled.

Individuals who served at least 24 months on active duty (eligible for 80% of benefit) and who attend PMU full-time would receive:

  • $2,000 for tuition and fees (paid directly to PMU);
  • A monthly housing allowance of $1,200 per month (while pursuing training); and
  • $200 book stipend for each quarter that they are enrolled.

EXAMPLE 2: Individuals attending Private Benefits University (PBU) in Texas (a private school) are charged $25,000 for full-time training each semester. PBU is a private school, the monthly housing allowance for the ZIP code that PBU resides in is $1,000, and the annual maximum amount the Post-9/11 GI Bill can pay for a private school is $24,476.79.

Individuals who served at least 36 months on active duty (eligible for 100% of benefit) and who attend PBU full-time would receive:

  • $24,476.79 for tuition and fees (paid directly to PBU);
  • A monthly housing allowance of $1,000 per month (only during the school term); and
  • $250 book stipend for each quarter that they are enrolled.

Individuals who served at least 24 months on active duty (eligible for 80% of benefit) and who attend PBU full-time would receive:

  • $19,581.43 for tuition and fees (paid directly to PBU);
  • A monthly housing allowance of $800 per month (while pursuing training); and
  • $200 book stipend for each quarter that they are enrolled.

For more details see our Post-9/11 GI Bill Overview page.

4. Question: Are there additional benefits?

Answer: Yes, the additional benefits include the following, which are not charged against your 36 month entitlement:

  • Tutorial assistance may be paid up to $100 per month, not to exceed a total of $1,200;
  • Work-study is authorized for individuals training at 3/4 time or higher.
  • A one-time payment of $500 for veterans using the Post 9/11 GI Bill to pursue a program of education if they - Live in a county with 6 persons or less per square mile (as determined by most recent decennial Census); and either - Physically relocate at least 500 miles to attend school; or - Travel by air to physically attend school if no other land-based transportation exists.

5. Question: Is the a limit to the benefits if I go to school half-time?

Answer: Yes, if you are enrolled at 1/2 time or less (or on active duty) you are not eligible for the monthly housing stipend. You are eligible for an appropriately reduced stipend for books. The amount of tuition payable is the applicable percentage mentioned in an earlier question at a rate the lesser of:

  • Authorized charges; or
  • Up to $24,476.79 if you are attending a private or overseas school.

6. Question: I am on active duty, is there a limit to my benefits?

Answer: Yes, active duty members are not eligible for the monthly housing stipend. The amount of educational assistance payable is the lesser of the:

  • Authorized charges, as computed above; or
  • The Top-up amount not covered by military tuition assistance.

7. Question: I was promised the College Fund when I joined, will I still get that extra benefit?

Answer: Yes, individuals are eligible for a kicker (College Fund, Reserve Kicker) under the Post 9/11 GI Bill. If eligible, you will be paid the kicker each month as an increase to your housing stipend, even on active duty. Although as an active duty service member, or a veteran training at 1/2 time or less, or you are pursuing distance learning, you will receive your monthly kicker payment at the beginning of the term.

8. Question: I elected to make additional contributions under the "Buy-Up" program, will I get the additional benefit?

Answer: No, you will not receive an increased amount for additional contributions ($600 buy-up) paid under chapters 30 or 1607 and you will not be refunded this amount under the Post 9/11 GI Bill.

9. Question: Will my $1,200 enrollment fee be refunded?

Answer: Yes, Montgomery GI Bill - Active Duty contributions (excluding $600 buy-up) will be refunded at a proportional amount [based on the number of months remaining under MGIB at time of Post 9/11 GI Bill election] of the basic $1200 contribution. This refund will be included in the last monthly stipend payment when Post-9/11 GI Bill entitlement exhausts. If you don't use up all your benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill you will not receive a refund of your original $1,200 Montgomery GI Bill contribution.

10. Question: Does the Post 9/11 GI Bill have an expiration date?

Answer: No. There is no ending date for your GI Bill eligibility UNLESS you left the military before Jan. 1, 2013. Then you have 15 years from the date of discharge to use your benefits.

11. Question: Can I transfer this benefit to my family?

Answer: Yes, see our transfer page for details.

12. Question: The Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) was limited to 36 Months of benefits, is there similar limit for the Post 9/11 GI Bill?

Answer: Yes, like the MGIB you are generally entitled to 36 months of educational assistance.

If you are entitled to more than one GI Bill program you may be eligible for a maximum of 48 months of entitlement when using benefits under two or more GI Bill programs.

Note: Individuals eligible under MGIB - Active Duty who elect to receive benefits under the Post 9/11 GI Bill are only entitled to the number of months they had remaining under MGIB (including any revoked months of transferred entitlement) up to a maximum of 36 months.

13. Question: I am a member of the Selected Reserve, has the expiration on my MGIB-SR benefit been extended?

Answer: Yes, effective as of June 30, 2008, the 14-year period of eligibility for members of the Selected Reserve has been rescinded. If you are a member of the Selected Reserve with remaining entitlement under MGIB-SR, you will remain eligible until the date you separate from the Selected Reserve.

If you had remaining MGIB-SR entitlement and reached a delimiting date, you may receive benefits for training pursued on or after June 30, 2008. However you may not receive benefits for training pursued between their original delimiting date and June 30, 2008 - in other words no retroactive payments will be made.

14. Question: What if the new Post 9/11 GI Bill isn't enough to cover my costs at a private school?

Answer: Institutions of Higher Learning may elect to participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program to make additional funds available for your education program without an additional charge to your GI Bill entitlement. These institutions voluntarily enter into a Yellow Ribbon Agreement with VA and choose the amount of tuition and fees that will be contributed. VA matches that amount and issues payments directly to the institution.

Only veterans entitled to the maximum benefit rate, or their designated transferees may receive this funding. Active duty servicemembers and their spouses are not eligible for this program. Child transferees of active duty servicemembers may be eligible if the servicemember is qualified at the 100 percent rate.

To receive benefits under the Yellow Ribbon Program:

  • You must be eligible for the maximum benefit rate under the Post-9/11 GI Bill
  • You must not be on active duty or a spouse using transferred entitlement
  • Your school must agree to participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program
  • Your school must have not offered Yellow Ribbon to more than the maximum number of individuals, as stated in their participation agreement
  • Your school must certify your enrollment to VA and provide Yellow Ribbon Program information

You may be eligible if you fit the following circumstances:

  • You served an aggregate period of 36 months in active duty after Sept. 10, 2001
  • You were honorably discharged from active duty for a service-connected disability and you served 30 continuous days after Sept. 10, 2001.
  • You are a dependent eligible for Transfer of Entitlement under the Post-9/11 GI Bill based on the service eligibility criteria listed above.

Learn more about the Yellow Ribbon Program.

15. Question: How do I apply?

Answer: You can apply online using the Vets.gov website.

Keep Up With Your Education Benefits

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