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How Do I Get Started Using My Post 9/11 GI Bill?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Ron, I was active duty in South Korea during and post 9/11, so I know I qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill. In an economy such as we face today, it’s a solid time to go back to school. I have my DD214 and need to know who to call or where to start getting enrolled and squaring away my classes, books and cost of living. I live in Boynton Beach, FL and want to finally take advantage of what I have earned. Any guidance would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time.

A: The first step, is to request your Certificate of Eligibility as you will need this when enrolling in school as a GI Bill student. There are two ways to accomplish this.

If you have a lot of time before you plan to start school, then you can request your Certificate of Eligibility by submitting VA Form 22-1990 from the eBenefits website. If you are pressed for time, then see your school VA Certifying Officer and s/he may be able to certify you on the spot and your certificate will catch up later. The bottom line is certification is needed one way or the other to enroll in school as a student using Post 9/11 GI Bill entitlements.

Under the Post 9/11 GI Bill, your tuition and eligible fees will be paid by the VA directly to your school. If your rate of pursuit is at least greater-than-half-time, then you would get a monthly housing allowance and at the beginning of each term, a book stipend paid at the rate of $41.67 per credit unless you are taking a non-degree course. In that case, you get $83 per month in book stipend.

You didn’t say how long you served after September 10, 2001, but if you had at least three years after that date, then you qualify at the 100% tier. Less than three years will place you somewhere less than 100%, but either way you will still have 36 months of benefits  that you can use.

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