After My Enlistment Under SLRP, Will I Start to Qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill?
Q: I am serving a 3-year, 33-week enlistment under the Student Loan Repayment Program. After my three-year mark, will I begin qualifying for Post 9-11 benefits prior to ETS? Thank you for your help in understanding my eligibility!
A: Once you signed up for the Student Loan Repayment Program, you incurred a 3-year obligation, as you noted. The issue is you can’t serve your three-year obligation and acquire GI Bill benefits for the same 3-year enlistment period. So in effect, you will only have 33 weeks of Post 9/11 GI Bill eligibility at the end of your first term enlistment.
So what does 33 weeks translate to in benefits? Thirty-six months of benefits at 50%. It would take an additional 27.5 months to get you to the 100% mark, and depending on your educational goal, it could be worth it.
Because you had some student loan debt when you enlisted, you have at least some college out of the way. If you already have your BA and don’t plan on getting your advanced degree, then it probably isn’t worth extending your enlistment.
But, if you plan on going further with your education, or plan to transfer benefits to your spouse or dependent children, then it is worth considering, especially with escalating tuition rates.
On the other hand, another way to look at it is at least half of your future education is paid and that is much better than what many non-GI Bill students have. So if you are prepared to pay your half of future education expenses or you don’t plan on transferring benefits, then it probably isn’t worth extending.