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Can I Use My Boyfriend’s Post 9/11 GI Bill to Start School Before We Marry?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: My boyfriend and I are planning on getting married but I want to start school before we do. He wants to give me his GI Bill, but if I start school first will I still be able to use it? He is a member of the Louisiana National Guard and we reside in Texas now. Will I be able to use his Louisiana GI Bill at a Texas university?

A: Because we may be talking about two different GI Bills, let’s address your last question first. Generally speaking, when a state offers its National Guard and Reservists its own GI Bill, it normally has to be used at a public school located within that state. So if your boyfriend/husband could transfer his State GI Bill to you (and he can’t), you most likely would not be able to use it in Texas anyway.

However if he has deployed in support of a contingency operation ( like Iraq or Afghanistan) as a National Guardsman, he most likely has some eligibility under the Federal Post 9/11 GI Bill.

Once you are married, he has served for at least 6 years, is currently serving at the time he makes a transfer request and has at least four years left on his enlistment at the time he makes his request (whew, what a mouthful!), he could transfer part or all of that GI Bill benefit to you. Because it is a federal benefit, you could use it in Texas. But beware as it only pays up to the resident tuition rate and because Texas is not your state of residency, you may end up paying out-state tuition. Also, depending on how long your boyfriend deployed if he deployed at all, you might be at a lesser tier than full-time. A typical one-year tour would put him at the 60% tier level; three years total would put him at 100%.

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