This website is not affiliated with the U.S. government or military.
Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I heard the Post 9/11 GI Bill Fix Legislation passed. Is it true?

A: Yes it is true. The bill recently passed both the House and Senate and it is awaiting the President’s signature. In a nutshell, the basic changes are:

  • Post-9/11 GI Bill eligibility will now include National Guard activations including Title 32 service, national emergencies, and AGR service;
  • includes coverage for non-degree programs including:
    • license/certification courses;
    • vocational-technical training;
    • apprenticeship/ on-the-job training;
  • eliminated the in-state undergraduate cap for tuition and fees thereby simplifying payments;
  • set all private institution’s covered tuition and fees at $17,500 a year;
  • monthly housing allowance will be calculated and prorated based on the number of credits taken;
  • online-only students will get 50% of the housing allowance;
  • break or interval pay eliminated for breaks between terms;
  • active duty members and spouses will be eligible for the book stipend;
  • eliminates the one test for licensure or certification reimbursement limit;
  • eligible care givers can get an extension on their 10-year GI Bill delimitation deadline;
  • eligible NOAA and USPHS members can now transfer GI Bill benefits to dependents.

Like all bills, this one is not perfect. While it helps many veterans and servicemember, it will hurt others, but at least it is a start. Most changes will go into effect in August 2011.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I started my military service after 9/11 and was medically retired in June of 2008. From what I understand I am eligible for the new Post 9/11 GI Bill. I would like to transfer my benefits to my wife, but because this change did not take effect until 2009, I did not have the opportunity to transfer the benefits to her while I was enlisted. Is she still eligible for the transfer?

A: It sounds like you are eligible for 100% of the benefits of the Post 9/11 GI Bill EXCEPT the transfer option. To access that option, you needed to serve at least six years on active duty after September 10, 2001 (which you did) and sign up for an additional four years on or after August 1, 2009 (which you didn’t). By that date, you were already out for over one year.

Unfortunately, you along with thousands of former servicemembers were caught in the web of Congress. When they wrote the rules, the servicemember had to still be on active duty on or after the August 1st date to make a transfer leaving thousands without the opportunity to transfer benefits. While there is bill before Congress that would correct this oversight, it only applies to 20-year-plus veterans retiring before August 1, 2009 and back to December 9, 2001, which isn’t going to help you.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I’m actually not out of the military yet, but I was wondering if I could use my GI Bill for a foreign school (University of Edinburgh-specifically) I read on here I could, but I remember my recruiter telling me that I could only use it for a semester abroad program-or something of the like- and not for a full four year university. Can I use it to get an undergraduate degree there?

A: Yes you can use your GI Bill to attend a foreign school and get an undergraduate degree as long as the school is VA-approved. If you have the Post 9/11 GI Bill, the pay structure is different than if you were attending a school here in the U.S. If you are using the Montgomery GI Bill, then the pay structure is the same as it is for full-time student attending school here in the U.S. – $1,421 per month.

For foreign students, the housing allowance is fixed at $1,311 regardless of which foreign school you attend. The per-credit tuition amount is also fixed at $439.69 per credit. The fees maximum, up to $13,713.88 per term, is also the same at all foreign schools. Keep in mind that if your school charges less, in tuition or fees, you do not get the difference as the VA pays only actual charges. Those are just the maximum amounts they will pay.

You should check with the VA though before registering as I do not see the University of Edinburgh listed as a VA-approved school, which I found odd as most of the other Universities were listed.

As far as what your Recruiter told you, he either didn’t know or he was talking about another education program.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I served nine years in the Marine Corps from 1999 to 2008. I used my Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits for roughly a year. I am inquiring as to whether my remaining benefits could be transferred to my spouse and if so would she receive BAH while attending college. Thank you in advance for any light you can shed on this subject.

A: If you used your GI Bill benefits for a year, then you should have about 24 months left, however you will not be able to transfer them to your spouse. The way Congress wrote the rules for the Post 9/11 GI Bill, the servicemember had to be on active duty “on or after August 1, 2009”. By that time, you had already been out for a year.

If you would have been able to transfer benefits to your spouse, she would have received the full housing allowance if she would have taken at least one class per term in a traditional classroom setting and carried enough credits to be a greater-than-half-time student. The rest of her classes per term could have been taken online and she still would have gotten the housing allowance.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Hello, I have a couple of questions actually. First, I was medically discharge from the military back in 2008, I’ve heard “rumors” that because I was disabled of 60%, I get full bah? Second, does the Post 9/11 cover community colleges? And finally where can I enroll for the Post 9/11?

A: To answer your first question, what you heard is just that – a rumor. The Post 9/11 GI Bill housing allowance is based on your rate of pursuit as a student. As long as at least one class is taken on campus, and you are carrying enough credits per term to classify you as a greater-than-half-time student, you will get the full housing allowance. How many credits that ends up being depends on the number of credits your school considers to be full-time. You need to carry at least 51% of that number. Your other classes per term could be online if you want.

For your second question, yes the Post 9/11 GI Bill does cover community colleges. Typically, these are two-year schools that issue associate’s degrees which is one of the degrees covered by the  New GI Bill.

To start using your Post 9/11 GI Bill, go to the VONAPP website and submit VA Form 22-1990. Once your form is approved, you will get back a Certificate of Eligibility. Take the certificate with you when you go to enroll in school as a GI Bill student. That’s it!

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I need to finish repaying on my G.I. Bill after I had to drop classes. Whom would I contact or speak with to find my remaining balance and how to repay, so that I may attend school this coming semester. Thank you for your time.

A: First, are you sure you will have to pay anything back? If you are in an overpayment situation, you would have heard from the VA Debt Management with the amount you owe.

The VA gives GI Bill users a one-time drop of up to six credits for free regardless of the reason, so that is why I asked if you are sure if you will have to pay anything. If you dropped six credits or less, and you have never dropped a class before, then I’m thinking you don’t owe anything.

However, if you know you owe and you are trying to be proactive, then contact the VA by phone at 1-800-827-0648 between the hours of 7:30am to 6:00pm CST. Or you can email them at: dmc.ops@va.gov. If you need to mail them, their address is:

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Debt Management Center
P.O. Box 11930
St. Paul, MN 55111

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: When I enlisted I took the CLRP college loan re-payment plan, they said I was not eligible for the GI Bill unless I re-enlisted. Is that still true with the New GI Bill?

A: Yes it is. The way the rules read, you cannot have CLRP and the GI Bill at the same time for the same period of time. Being you incurred a three-year obligation when you opted for CLRP, it will take three years of service to repay back the obligation. At the end of the three years, (if you initially only enlisted for three years) and you reenlist, then you will start adding eligibility towards your Post 9/11 GI Bill. If you initially enlisted for six years, then you would not have reenlist to start establishing GI Bill eligibility; you would start working toward you eligibility at the end of your first three years.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: When my active duty enlistment is over I am considering transferring to the reserves. Will I be able to use my active duty benefits while serving in the reserves?

A: Yes you will and you could establish eligibility for the Montgomery GI Bill – Selected Reserves (MGIB-SR), however it doesn’t pay much – only $337 per month. I don’t know which GI Bill you have from active duty, but If you plan on getting a degree, you may want to look at transferring to the Post 9/11 GI Bill unless you already have it. In most cases, it pays better than the Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty (MGIB-AD), however, if you plan on pursuing some type of non-degree program, then you will want to stay with the MGIB-AD. If you have the MGIB-AD and you haven’t used any of it, you will get your $1,200 contribution back once you switch and use up your 36 months of New GI Bill benefits.

If you do stick with the MGIB-AD and use up your 36 months of benefits, you can switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill and get an additional 12 months of entitlements. If you switch with MGIB benefits left, then you get just those same number of months and not the additional time.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: My son is receiving DEA benefits. Due to a hardship with his family, he has to drop out and move back to Maine. If the VA says he was overpaid, who is responsible for repaying the VA, me or my son? He’s eligible through me, as I am the veteran.

A: Chapter 35, the Survivors’ and Dependent’s Education Assistance Program application is in his name, so he will be the responsible party. Whether he ends up in an overpayment situation or not will depend on a couple of things. First, the VA authorizes a one-time drop of up to six credits without getting into an overpayment situation regardless of the reason. Second, if the VA rules the reason he had to drop out of school as mitigating circumstances (circumstances beyond his control), then they may not try to get repaid back from him anyway. However, if they decide the reasons were non-mitigating, then he most likely would have to pay back for the number of credits he was taking minus the six for the one-time drop.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: This is my first time that I will use my MGIB, what is the processing time of VA 22-1990? And also, do I have to use VA 22-1995?

A: During the fall semester, it has been taking around 8 to 10 weeks to process a GI Bill application. I would think it should start taking less time as the semester progresses and the VA gets caught up processing applications and claims.

Once your payment gets established, then you can expect to see your Montgomery GI Bill payment about the same time each month. Of course, you know that you will always be a month behind in getting paid as you have to monthly certify your attendance in WAVE at end of each month. This is an important step as your payment will stop until you certify your attendance.

You do not need to submit VA Form 22-1995 unless you plan on changing your educational goal or degree plan, or transfer to a different school.