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If I Enlist in the Marines, Would Military Educational Benefits Pay for Me to Get Another Degree?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I am contemplating enlisting in the Marines. I have a bachelor’s degree, but may want to get a different degree down the road. Would military educational benefits cover me getting another degree?

A: Yes it would. Once you enlist in the Marines, and get though boot camp and your specialized training, you will start gathering months of eligibility toward the Post 9/11 GI Bill. Unlike the Montgomery GI Bill, the New GI Bill is free and does not require any monetary contributions.

Approximately ninety days after you get to your first duty station, you will be at the 40% tier. As you gain months of eligibility, you will increase in tier percentage; after you hit the three-year mark, you will be fully vested in the Post 9/11 GI Bill, meaning you will have 36 months of benefits you can use at the 100% tier.

Because you did not use your GI Bill to get your bachelor’s degree in the first place, you could get another bachelor’s degree or continue on and get your master’s degree or even a doctorate. If you would have used your GI Bill to get your first bachelor’s degree, then you would have to get your master’s in a related field, but since you did not, you can get it in anything you want.

Also, because you will be on active duty, also look into using the Marine’s Tuition Assistance Program (TA). It can help pay for your degree and save your GI Bill benefits to use after you max out your TA benefits or once you are out. It is free money you are leaving on the table if you don’t use it.

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