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Can I Attend College On My Father’s GI Bill?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Can I attend college on my father’s GI Bill? He has been in the military since I was born in 1994 and still active duty now. I’m not sure what bill he has exactly but I know he has been in the military for quite a while. Now here’s the catch, we don’t talk PERIOD! He has a new family, but doesn’t do much for me and I’m depending on his GI Bill to attend college. What do I do? And what if he doesn’t approve? Please reply ASAP! Thank you!

A: This will be difficult, because you HAVE to talk to him and plead your case as to why you need his help to go to college. If he has never done anything for you, now is a good opportunity for him to make up for it.

First, you have to still be still listed in DEERS as a dependent of his, because he can’t make a transfer of Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits you if you are not. So if he cut you out of DEERS, this is the end of the story. However, if you are still listed in DEERS as one of his dependents, then the decision whether to make a transfer or not is his choice as he is the only one that can make a transfer-of-benefits request to put months of benefits into your account.

If you can talk him (or shame him) into doing it, here is what he has to do. He must go to the Transfer of Benefits (TEB) website and enter into your account the number of months he wishes to transfer to you. He has a total of 36 months to work with if he has not previously used any. Once he submits the request, the Status Block will show “Pending Review”.

After 8 to 10 weeks, he needs to check the TEB website again and look for the status to have changed to “Approved”. Once that happens, he needs to tell you that because then you have to go to the eBenefits website and submit VA Form 22-1990e. In return, you will get a Certificate of Eligibility that you will need when enrolling in school as a GI Bill student using transferred benefits.

All he has to do is make the transfer request and tell you when it is approved, if you ask him for help, but he most likely won’t do it on his own if you do not ask (and he may not even after you ask him). This will be awkward for both of you , but it might also be the catalyst to help mend your relationship with him.

It would be a great gesture on his part to help you with your college education, but if he will not, don’t despair. There are many sources of scholarships and grants available – you just have to search for them and apply.

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