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If I Did Not Sign Up for the Old GI Bill, Am I Covered By the New GI Bill?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I enlisted in 2005 and opted not to sign up for the Montgomery GI Bill because I didn’t think I was going to use it. I have decided I would like to get out and go to school. Am I still covered under the new GI Bill? I was told I may have to re-enlist.

A: Yes, you are covered by the Post 9/11 GI Bill. It sounds like you are on a six-year enlistment which should end this year. When you get out, you will have 15 years from your date of discharge to use up your 36 months of education benefit.

Well in advance of when you want to start school, request your Certificate of Entitlement by submitting VA Form 1990 from the eBenefits website. You will need that certificate when you enroll in school as a Post 9/11 GI Bill student.

The VA will pay your tuition and fees directly to your school and you will get a monthly housing allowance based on the zip code of your school and paid at the pay grade of an E-5 with dependents, but it will also be prorated based on the number of credits your are taking verses what your school considers to be a full-time load. You will also get a book stipend paid at the rate of $41.67 per credit with a yearly cap of $1,000.

If you plan on attending a private school or foreign school, your tuition and fees will be capped at $17,500 per year. If your school is a Yellow Ribbon school and your program is included in their agreement with the VA, you can use the Yellow Ribbon program to help pay for tuition and fees exceeding the cap.

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