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Because I Used My Eligibility Under the Vietnam Era GI Bill, Do I Have Any Under the Post 9/11 GI Bill?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I qualified for the Vietnam Era GI Bill and used it all to obtain a degree and come back in the Navy as an officer in 1991. I am planning to retire in 2014 and would like to obtain an MBA or MPH (I am also considering training to become a professional golfer). I am just wanting to confirm my eligibility for the Post 9/11 GI Bill.

A: While you would have full eligibility to the Post 9/11 GI Bill from a tier level perspective, the amount of entitlement you can use would be limited. To establish minimum Post 9/11 GI Bill eligibility, you have to serve for at least 90-days after September 10, 2001 on a Title 10 order. Three years of service after that date gets you to the 100% tier level.

So just what does that mean? The tier level refers to the percentage of the full amount of money you would get in the housing allowance and the book stipend. At 100%, you would get the full housing allowance based on the zip code of your school and the number of credits you are taking paid at the E-5 with dependents pay grade. For the book stipend, you would get the full $41.67 per credit (up to the $1,000 per year cap).

It also tells the VA what percentage of your tuition they are obligated to pay. At a public school it would be all of your tuition at the resident rate; at a private school it would be up to $19,198.31 per year.

The bad news is under the Rule of 48, you can only get a maximum of 48 months of combined entitlement if you are eligible for two or more GI Bills. So as far as how many months of entitlement you would get under the Post 9/11 GI Bill, it would be only 12 months, assuming you used up 36 months under your Vietnam Era GI Bill, bringing your total up to 48. However, 12 more months of entitlement would at least pay for half of your MBA which is better than nothing.

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