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Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: What did the new Post 9/11 GI Bill legislation change?

A: It’s official – President Obama signed GI Bill 2.0 (also known as the Post 9/11 GI Bill Fix) into law. As with all legislation it has some good and bad points. Below is a brief synopsis of the highlights (and lowlights) from this latest legislation -


  • Both AGR and Title 32 time to count toward Post-9/11 GI Bill eligibility, where before National Guard members didn’t qualify unless they went on a Title 10 active duty order.
  • Active duty servicemembers and their eligible spouses will be able to draw up to $1,000 annually in the book stipend.
  • Online-only students now qualify for a housing allowance of up to $673.50 a month for full-time enrollment.
  • Veterans seeking attending public schools at all degree levels – undergraduate through doctorate – will have 100 percent of the tuition and fees paid by VA. The in-state limits were eliminated.
  • The Post-9/11 GI Bill will be able to be used by veterans for vocational, technical, certificate, on-the-job-training, and apprenticeship programs.
  • Placement exams to apply for school, such as LSAT, GRE, GMAT, SAT and ACT, will be covered under the Post 9/11 GI Bill for veterans who need to take them to get into college.
  • Eligible NOAA and USPHS personnel will now be able to use the Post-9/11 GI Bill transfer option to transfer benefits to dependents.
  • Voc-Rehab participants will be able to use their New GI Bill housing stipend instead of the VR&E subsistence rate.


  • Break pay (or interval pay) will end. Veterans will have to find other means of financial support during these non-school periods to pay their living expenses. The good thing is entitlement will not be charged for the non-school periods.
  • Veterans enrolled at less than full-time will see their Post 9/11 GI Bill housing stipend prorated to match the number of credit hours taken each term. No longer will the 51% rate of pursuit get the same as 100% rate of pursuit.
  • Private school tuition will be capped at $17,500 a year, so veterans having tuition exceeding that amount will have to find alternative means to pay for the difference. If the school is a Yellow Ribbon school and the veteran is at the 100% tier, that program will still apply.
  • These new rules will again throw the VA into disarray, so expect longer processing times and payment errors. Some forecasters are estimating it will the VA take up to 18 months to adapt the application and enrollment process to match the new rules. Here we go again!

From one of my sources, work on GI Bill 3.0 is already started to try and fix some of the unintended consequences of GI Bill 2.0.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Will online students under Post 9/11 GI Bill be receiving BAH benefits any time soon or will they have to continue using the “Parent Program”?

For awhile, they will have to continue with the parent program. Senate Bill S. 3447 did pass both the House and Senate and the President did recently sign it, however, the implementation date for most of the provisions is August 2011 or later. In its final form, online-only students will get 50% of the full housing allowance.

I never understood the reasoning in the original Post 9/11 GI Bill as to why online students didn’t get the housing allowance. Granted, you don’t have commuting costs, but you still have to buy food to eat, need a roof over your head, and in many cases still need to buy textbooks, just like any other student. Yet somehow, online was perceived as being so different that you didn’t get (or need) a housing allowance.

And while 50% is not what it should be, it is better than what you had. As far as how the 50% provision will be implemented, we’ll have to wait and see. Some speculation says it will be based off of the student’s zip code. As you know right now, it is off of the zip code of the school.  Those details will be released later. Keep watching this website for updated information.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

I served in the SCARNG (with BCT/AIT in Apr. 03- Aug 03) and I got out of the military with an honorable discharge in July 07. I am also receiving 70% disability from the VA. I did use some of my Montgomery GI Bill and FTA in 2005. I would like to go back. Would I still be eligible to use my GI Bill?

When you say GI Bill, we have to define which GI Bill you are talking about as you may be eligible for more than one. While in the ARNG, you had the Montgomery GI Bill – Selected Reserves (MGIB-SR) which is vastly different from the Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty (MGIB-AD).

One of the biggest differences is the eligibility factor once discharged. Under the Guard GI Bill, your eligibility ends 14 years from your date of eligibility, or if you get out of the Guard sooner upon your discharge. So your MGIB-SR eligibility, both by delimiting date and Guard membership, ended about the same time – in 2007.

However, you may also be eligible for another GI Bill. If your 70% disability was the result of a deployment (or two or three) on an active duty Title 10 deployment order in support of a contingency operation (such as Iraq or Afghanistan), then you could have partial benefits under the Post 9/11 GI Bill. A one-year deployment would put you at the 60% level; thirty-six aggregate months would get you to the top – 100%.

Being you used some of your MGIB-SR, you would have left 36 months less the number of months you used in 2005. To find out if you qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill, go to the VONAPP website and submit VA Form 22-1990. If you get a denial letter back, you know you do not qualify, however, if you get a Certificate of Eligibility back, your golden. Take the certificate with you when you go to enroll in school.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

I am a United States Navy Chief Machinist’s Mate retired November 30, 2006 after serving 20 years. My question is on transferring my GI Bill to my daughter, who is currently enrolled at the University of Washington at Bellevue, Washington. I read all the requirements on the VA website and was interested in how I would pursue transferring benefits to my daughter. I was discharged honorably with a 30% service connected disability and served my country faithfully. Thank you for your time.

The problem right now is you can’t transfer your Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits to your daughter. The way Congress wrote the Bill, you had to be “on active duty on or after August 1, 2009”. This left you and thousands of other veterans, who fully qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill including the transfer option, out in the cold. For the life of me, I’ll never understand why they did that.

But there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon that could change it. There is a bill in the House of Representatives right now, H.R. 3577, that if passed would allow 20-plus year veterans, retiring between December 9, 2001 and August 1, 2009, the opportunity to make a transfer request.  My suggestion is that we get a grass-roots movement going and have everyone affected contact their Representatives asking for their support and passage of this bill so that a wrong can be righted. Right now, this is the only hope of getting this accomplished.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

I was awarded the Post 9/11 GI Bill. I was awarded 36 months at 60% tuition and a housing allowance. I served Public Health Service in 2002-2003. I heard and thought I could give this to my son, but learned today this may not be the case. Please enlighten me. I am working on my masters at a Public institution and my son is attending a private university and thought he could benefit more from it.

As the rules stand today under GI Bill 1.0, you are correct in that Public Health and NOAA personnel cannot transfer Post 9/11 GI Bill education benefits to their dependents, but that will soon change. Part of the GI Bill 2.0 legislation that President Obama just signed into law will allow transfer of benefits for employees of the two above mentioned agencies starting on or after August 2011. What I don’t know at this point is if it will be retroactive or not, and if so, how far back will it go.

So it might be worthwhile to save your Post 9/11 GI Bill entitlements, at least until we hear if you will be able to transfer your unused months to him or not.

Another part of that legislation that could affect your son, if he ends up having Post 9/11 GI Bill transferred benefits and being he is going to a private school, is the VA will only pay up to $17,500 per year for tuition at private universities. If your son’s tuition exceeds that amount, the difference will have to come from other financial sources, unless ol’ dad decides to foot the bill.

According to one of my sources, work is already starting on GI Bill 3.0 to correct some of the things that unintentionally happened in 2.0, so we will see what that brings about.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

My hubby has been in since ‘97 and did pay into the GI Bill. He is still on active duty and he wants to transfer credit hours to me. How does this happen and what exactly is covered? My head is spinning with all the information out there!

The GI Bill your hubby paid into – the Montgomery GI Bill – won’t do you any good as it does not have a transfer-to-dependents option. However, your hubby also most likely qualifies for the Post 9/11 GI Bill and that does have the transfer option you need.

To access the transfer option, your hubby has to have served on active duty for at least six years (which he has) and reenlist for an additional four years (which he might have to do). Once that is in place, then he can go to the TEB website and enter into your record how many months he would like to transfer to you. He can transfer as little as one or up to his whole 36 months.

Once the transfer is complete (by watching for the status block to change from “Pending Review” to “Approved” and this sometimes can take up to 8 to 10 weeks), then you need to go to the VONAPP website and submit VA Form 22-1990e. In return, you will get back a Certificate of Eligibility that you will need when you enroll in school as a Post 9/11 GI Bill student using transferred benefits. Keep in mind he has to make the transfer while he is still on active duty; once discharged, it is too late.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

I understand if I choose to use the Post 9/11 GI Bill and I go to school full time online, I will only receive half of my housing allowance associated with the Post 9/11 GI Bill. I also understand if I take just one class at a actual brick-and-mortar school, and take the rest of my classes online, then I would receive all of my housing allowance. My question is does the one brick-and-mortar school class have to be at the same school I’m going to online or could I just take a class at my local community college while taking the rest of my classes online at and still be able to receive all of my housing allowance?

No your one class per term in a traditional classroom setting can be at any school including your local community college. It has to be that way as many online schools do not have brick-and-mortar campuses and the VA needs the zip code of the school to calculate your housing allowance. The real key to making this work for you is your one class per term at your local college has to apply to your online degree plan, so it can’t be just any class.

The best way to do this is have your online school be your “parent” school and your local college your “secondary” school. In conjunction with your parent school, find a class at your secondary school that will fit into your degree plan. Your parent school sends a letter to your secondary school telling them which class you will take. Once you are done with that class, then your secondary school sends a transcript to your parent school and the class is posted to your degree plan.

That way you are keeping all your credits at your parent school and need not worry about transferring them. The other advantage of doing it this way is all your credits you are taking each quarter are showing up at your parent school for Post 9/11 GI Bill housing allowance purposes.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

May I use the MGIB to go to school in Israel, or can it only be used in the USA? Thank you.

The Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) can be used to attend foreign schools provided the classes you take lead to a college degree of some type. What the VA is trying to avoid is you attending school overseas just go to school in a foreign country and then end up wasting your GI Bill benefits on a bunch of classes irrelevant to your degree plan.  The whole purpose of the GI Bill is to train you in some type of vocational or career field that you can use to make a living.

If you are using the MGIB, then you get paid the same each month regardless if you are attending a school here or abroad. You would get up to $1,421 per month if you were attending full-time and you would have to pay all your own tuition, fees and other education-related expenses.

If you are using the Post 9/11 GI Bill or are eligible to convert to it, then you would get $1,311 per month in a housing allowance and up to $1,000 per year in a book stipend. The VA would pay your foreign school up to $439.69 per credit for tuition and up to $13,713.88 per term in fees.

Just so you know, the VA has two lists of VA-approved schools in Israel. One for Tel Aviv and another one for Jerusalem.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

I was commissioned in June, 1981, reported for active duty in November, 1981 and retired in October, 2002 as a Navy Commander (honorable discharge). I did not contribute any $$$$ to any educational programs while on active duty. Am I eligible for ANY education benefits from the government? Thank you so much.

Yes you are Sir! With 12 months of active duty time after September 10, 2001, you would have 36 months of Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits at the 60% level meaning the VA would pay your school directly up to 60% of the in-state maximum for your tuition and fees and you would get 60% of the monthly housing allowance and book stipend. You would be responsible to pay the 40% difference.

The housing allowance is based on the zip code of your school and paid at the pay grade of an E-5 with dependents. Sixty percent of the $1,000 national average would amount to $600 per month with that amount being about double on the East and West Coast and a little less in the Midwest. The book stipend is paid at the rate of $41.67 per credit up to $1,000 per year; you would get 60% of this amount, or $25 per credit, up to $600 per year.

The one option you will not have is the Post 9/11 GI Bill transfer option for two reasons. One is you have to be at the 100% level to make a transfer and two you had to be on active duty on or after August 1, 2009 to request a transfer of benefits. But at least you have some education benefits that you can use for yourself. Keep in mind the Post 9/11 GI Bill has a 15-year shelf life, so your benefits will expire in 2017.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

I am enrolling in ITI technical college in Baton Rouge Louisiana. I separated from the military at just under 2yrs. I enrolled in the Post 9/11 GI Bill and I know I only qualify for the 70% of it. The school said they accept the Post 9/11 GI Bill, but only if I qualify for the regular MGIB. They said that what they do is convert the Post 9/11 GI Bill to the old MGIB and the school gives me the money to pay for school and books like the old GI bill. I don’t understand that they accept the Post 9/11 GI Bill but only if you qualify for the old MGIB.

Now I have to take out government financial aid which I have to pay back upon completion of school. I have all that money going to waste and I’m frustrated because the reason I joined the military was for education. Can you please shed some light on this situation. Is the school allowed to do this? Thank you for your time.

I suggest you go back in and talk with the school. Either they didn’t explain something correctly or they did and you misunderstood what they said. In your question as to how they explained to you they are handling the GI Bill, didn’t make any sense at all. I don’t think a VA-approved school would operate that way and risk losing their VA approval. So to find out, I called them.

I read your question to the school’s GI Bill contact person and she said nobody at the school would tell a student they need the old GI Bill to use the New GI Bill. They accept the Post 9/11 GI Bill regardless if the student had the old GI Bill or not.

It also didn’t make sense to me because if you have the old GI Bill, and you switch to the New GI Bill, you give up your entitlement to the Old Bill when you switch – you can’t use two GI Bills at the same time.

Under the Post 9/11 GI Bill, the VA pays them (the school) directly for your tuition and fees up to the in-state maximum (or in your case up to 70% of the in-state maximum). You would be responsible to pay the remaining 30% unpaid balance, which I’m sure you were fully aware. Also, you would get 70% of the housing allowance and up to 70% of the book stipend.

Under the old GI Bill, the VA pays you direct each month ($1,421 per month for a full-time student) and you have to pay the school for all of your tuition and fees. Regardless of which GI Bill you are using, you would get some money directly from the VA, and not from your school only to pay it back to them.

Go back in and talk with one of the VA Certifying Officials and ask that person to explain it again. I think you will have a better understanding of the issue this time around.