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If I Have the $600 Buy-Up Program, Does the GI Bill I Use Affect How Much I Get in Additional Money?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: If I bought into the “$600 Buy-Up,” am I still eligible to receive the extra money originally promised if I elect to utilize the Montgomery over the Post-9/11 GI Bill?

A: Yes you are eligible to receive the additional monthly payment. How it works is your Buy-Up amount of additional benefits is divided by 36 and that amount is added each month to your Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) payment.

If you paid in the full $600, then you have $5,400 of additional money. Divide it out and you’ll see it amounts to about $150 per month extra. That would be added to your MGIB payment of $1,648 for a total of $1,798. Out of that amount, you have to pay your own tuition, fees, books, etc.

Even though you can’t use your Buy-Up with the Post 9/11 GI Bill, it might be a better deal. Under this GI Bill, the VA pays your tuition directly to your school and you get a monthly housing allowance that averages $1,300 plus a book stipend once per semester of $500.00.

Over the course of a 4-month semester, the MGIB would pay you a gross amount of $7,192 (before expenses). Using the average amount under the Post 9/11 GI Bill, you would get $5,700 net over the same period of time and your tuition and fees would already be paid. The breakeven point is $1,492; if you have to pay more than that amount in tuition by using the MGIB, you would most likely be better off with the Post 9/11 GI Bill.

As I said the $1,300 monthly housing allowance is an average; you would have to run the zip code of your school using the BAH Calculator to see what your real number would be. It could be higher or lower, thus impacting on your bottom line.

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