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If I Was in Bosnia With the National Guard, Can I Get the GI Bill?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I was in the Indiana National Guard, but  I’ve been out for 5 years now. I served in Bosnia from March 2004 until Nov 2004. Can I still receive the GI Bill or some other educational assistance? If so, can I use it to take a course to get my CDL and how do I go about claiming the benefits?

A:  If your order for Bosnia was Title 10 and it was considered a Contingency Operation, then yes you should qualify for Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits at the 50% level. That means the VA would pay up to 50% of the in-state maximum for your tuition and eligible fees. You would get 50% of the housing allowance which is paid at the pay grade of an E-5 with dependents for the zip code of your school.  You would also get up to $500 per year in a book stipend (50% of the $1,000 per year maximum). That is the good news.

The bad news is your CDL course would most likely not be covered under the Post 9/11 GI Bill. The Post 9/11 GI Bill was designed to pay for degree-producing courses and not for trade, technical, licenses or certifications. The only way your CDL course could possibly be covered is if it was taught at a school that also graduates students with at least an associate’s degree or higher.

If you do find such a school, you can apply for benefits by submitting VA Form 22-1990 either online at the VONPP website or download the form and send it in following the instructions on the form.

There are other forms of financial aid available including:

  • grants
  • scholarships;
  • work-study programs
  • and of course, loans.

Your best course of action right now contacting your school’s financial aid department and see what they can do for you.

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