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Can I Get the Housing Allowance with the MGIB-SR?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I’m curious about BAH and the GI Bill. What will I receive if enrolled in college full time? The college VA Office told me I would get $333/month from GI Bill (I am in the old one i believe? 1607?) I am in the Guard, 1 year of service, no deployment. I have heard mixed statements about also receiving BAH in the amount of E5 w/dependents based on the zip code of my school? If that is correct, what paperwork, and to whom do i submit it to? Any help would be great! I want to get a degree prior to my 2013 deployment date, but sure can’t live on only $300/month.

A: I understand your concern about living on $300 per month, but that is the amount you would get to go to school under the Montgomery GI Bill – Selected Reserves (MGIB-SR). Just so we are all using the same terminology, the MGIB-SR is Chapter 1606; Chapter 1607 is the Reserve Education Assistance Program (REAP), which is for Guard and Reserve personnel who have deployed for at least two years.

What you heard about receiving BAH applies only to the Post 9/11 GI Bill, which is for active duty personnel serving at least 90-days for the minimum benefit and 36 months or more for the full benefit. The MGIB-SR does not have a BAH or housing allowance feature.

Also, don’t overlook the Guard’s Tuition Assistance program. You can get up to $250 per credit with a $4,500 annual cap, which is enough for about 18 credits per year and don’t forget to add in your monthly Guard pay.

While all this still might not add up to be enough to live on each month, it may allow you to work only part-time instead of full-time. That way you could take more classes per term and get your degree before you deploy in 2013. Hang in there – it took me seven years to get my four-year degree by going to school nights and weekends.

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