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At What Percentage Does the Post 9/11 GI Bill Pay Better Than Chapter 1607?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: At what percentage does the Post 9/11 GI Bill pay better than Chapter 1607?

A: It is impossible for me to even speculate as there are so many variables to consider. But let’s use a one-year deployment as an example. Under Chapter 1607 (Reserve Education Assistance Program (REAP)), you would get up to $988.80 per month. Out that, you have to pay all of your own tuition, books, fees and other education-related expenses.

Under the Post 9/11 GI Bill, your tuition is paid for up to the resident level. Of course how much the VA pays varies from school to school as tuition rates vary widely. And the monthly housing allowance also varies as it depends on the zip code of your school and the number of credits you are taking. The other payment you get when using the Post 9/11 GI Bill is the book stipend. The amount you get calculates at $41.67 per credit times your tier percentage (with a yearly cap of $1,000).

Let’s use a hypothetical example a year at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln for comparison purposes. With a one-year eligibility, you would make $988.80 per month under REAP and have to pay all education expenses. Nine months of payments would earn you $8.899.20.

Under the New GI Bill for zip code 68588 (University of Nebraska at Lincoln) you would get 60% of $1,131 or $678.60 per month. Assuming you are taking a full-time load, you would also get 60% of the $41.67 per credit figure or $300.02 per semester for a total gross of $6,707.44.

According to the U of N -Lincoln website, tuition and fees for an undergraduate living off campus are $8,060 for two semesters with another $1,060 for books. So an academic year at U of N would cost $9,120, meaning you would have to make up the difference of $220.80 under REAP.

But for the Post 9/11 GI Bill, 60% of your $8,060 tuition would be paid by the VA leaving you left with $3,194 to pay. You would get $6,104.70 in housing allowance with another $600.04 in book stipend leaving you with a deficit of $459.96. So subtract out $3,194 and $459.96 from $6,707.44 and you are left with a net of $3,053.48. So while under REAP it would have cost you $220.80 out of pocket, under the Post 9/11 GI Bill, you would have made just over $3,000.

On the surface you do gross more under REAP with a one-year qualifying deployment, but you end up netting more under the Post 9/11 GI Bill. As your school and eligibility time changes, so will your results.

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