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As a Former National Guardsman With 12 Months in Afghanistan, Can I Use Either REAP or the Post 9/11 GI Bill?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I am an Afghanistan veteran and served 12 months overseas. I am no longer in the IL Army National Guard and have ETS’d. Can I still get the 1607 or the New Post 9-11 GI Bill?

A: You could get the Post 9/11 GI Bill, but not Chapter 1607 (REAP). To use REAP, you would have to still be serving in the National Guard.

If the 12 months you had in Afghanistan is the only qualifying Post 9/11 GI Bill time, then you would be setting at the 60% tier. That means the VA would pay up to 60% of your tuition and fees at a public school or up to 60% of $17,500 per year at a private school for up to 36 months. You would also get 60% of the housing allowance and book stipend.

Generally speaking, Chapter 1607 (REAP) was the forerunner to the Post 9/11 GI Bill. While it is still available (if you are still serving), most choose the Post 9/11 GI Bill because of the higher pay structure.

To figure out about what you would get at the 60% tier, you can go to the BAH calculator and enter the zip code of your school. From the Pay Grade drop-down menu select “E-5 with dependents” and click Submit. You would get 60% of this amount if you are considered a full-time student. If you are carrying less credits than full-time, then multiply the full amount by the number of credits you are taking and divide by the number of credits your school considers to be full-time.

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