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Am I Eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill Even If I Declined the Montgomery GI Bill?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Mr. Kness, I enlisted in May of 1997, still serve on active duty, and elected for some odd reason not to sign up for the Montgomery GI Bill when I enlisted. I read that even if I didn’t sign up for the MGIB, I may be eligible for the new Post 9/11 GI Bill, due to it not requiring any election when enlisting, or any contribution. Is this true Sir? If so I hope to not make the same mistake I made while younger if I can take advantage of this benefit. Thank You, Micah.

A: The good news is yes you are eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill, even though you did not sign up for this one. It is free to you just from your service to your country of at least 90 days or more after September 10, 2001. Because you have more than the required three years after the September date, you are at the 100% tier meaning your tuition, housing allowance and book stipend would all max out as far as what they will pay for up to 36 months while in school.

Under this GI Bill, the VA pays your tuition directly to your school. If attending a public school, in your home state, your tuition would be paid in full; attend a private school and it could pay up to $20,235.02 per year.

Additionally, you will get a monthly housing allowance which is based on the zip code of your school and the number of credits you take. The average across the U.S. is $1,300 per month. However, note that if you take all online classes, your housing allowance would max out at $715.40 per month. Of course the way around it is to take at least one class on campus.

Also once per semester, you’ll get a book stipend that calculates out at $41.67 per credit. However there is a $1,000 per year limit on it, but at least it is enough for a couple of 12-credit semesters per academic year.

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