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How Much Is My GI Bill Worth Right Now?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I would like to know how much my GI Bill is worth right now. Also, I would like to know if I can use it to pay off some of what is left on my student loans? And, I would like to know if I can transfer the rest to my son’s education costs for private school education now?

A: Without more information, such as which GI Bill you have, if you are still serving, and if not when you got out, I can’t give you much specific information. If you have the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB), and never used any of it, then you have up to 36 months of entitlement that you could use provided you are still serving or have been out for less than 10 years. It currently pays up to $1,648 per month and you have to pay your own tuition, fees, books, etc. The MGIB does not have a transfer of benefits option.

If you served after September 10, 2001, then you have some coverage under the Post 9/11 GI Bill. While it does have a transfer option, you can only make a transfer if you are still serving. Once you are out, it is too late. If you are already out, then you have up to 15 years from your date of discharge to use your benefits. And you could have coverage under both GI Bills – 36 months under the MGIB and an additional 12 months under the Post 9/11 GI Bill.

As far as using your GI Bill to pay off student loans – you can’t. The only way to pay off student loans is if you are still serving and opted for the Student Loan Repayment Program.

If you are still serving and can commit to an additional four years of service, you could make a transfer of benefits to your son. Go to the milConnect website and follow the information in the Transfer of Benefits section. To be clear, he could only use those benefits for post-secondary education and not for private elementary or high school.

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