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How Many Credit Hours Do I Need to Take Per Semester to Be Eligible for MGIB?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I intend to go to school online after I retire. Being I already have an associate’s degree, how many credit hours do I need to take per semester to be eligible for MGIB? Should I switch to the Post 9/11? If I switch to the 9/11 GI Bill, will they only allow me to get my BA, or can I keep going?

A: Already having an associate’s degree has no bearing on the number of credits you need to take per semester to qualify for the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB). The MGIB pays out in various amounts based on the number of years you served and your rate of pursuit. For example if you are a ¾ time student having served at least three years of service, you would get $1,104.75 per month.

If you served less than three years, then you would only get $897 per month. Your rate of pursuit is determined by the number of credits you take, and relative to the number of credits your school considers to be full-time.

As far as if you should switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill or not, it depends on a couple of factors. First, if your 36 months of GI Bill benefits is enough to get you the degree you want, then it would probably be a smart move. If you need more months of benefits, then you might be better off to use up your MGIB and then switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill to get the additional 12 months of benefits.

If you switch with MGIB months left, you get that same number of months and not the additional ones. So it comes down to either getting the higher payout and no extra months or the extra months and lower payout. Under either GI Bill, you can go all the way up through a PhD.

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