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Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Does the Post 9/11 GI Bill cover trade schools yet?

A: Generally speaking no, unless your trade course is taught by an Institution of Higher Learning (IHL), then it might be covered by Chapter 33 – the Post 9/11 GI Bill. The reference made in the VA Certifier’s Handbook under Education and Training Available Under Chapter 33 says “Under chapter 33 all programs must be offered by a degree-granting institution of higher learning (IHL) and approved for chapter 30. Approved programs include undergraduate degrees, graduate degrees, and non-degree programs approved at the IHL”.

The key is the non-degree programs must be approved for Chapter 30 (Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB)) and taught at a degree-producing school, so that leaves out vocational, technical and other trade-like schools because they do not teach a degree-producing course.

The current  Post 9/11 GI Bill Reform Package in legislation probably won’t change that either as it addresses on-the-job and apprentice training programs, but no mention of trade, technical, license or certification programs. Chapter 30 (Montgomery GI Bill) is a good choice for these types of non-degree programs.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Is there any GI Bill program that will pay for truck driving schools which usually run one to three weeks and cost $1,500 – $6,000? I am eligible for the Montgomery Bill and Post-9/11 Bill and I am in southeast Michigan.

A:  Your best bet would be the Montgomery GI Bill. It is the normally the best choice for trade, technical, license or certification training and it will reimburse you up to $2,000 for your CDL test and endorsements. The Post 9/11 GI Bill would most likely not pay for your training and it would reimburse your for only one test.

Right now the Montgomery GI Bill pays $1,421 per month to go to school and you have to pay all your own education-related expenses. For a course of less than one month, the amount would be prorated down to the number of days paid at around $47.37 per day for the duration of the course. The big thing will be to ensure your choose a school that is VA-approved before enrolling. See your school’s VA Certifying Official and that person can help you with the paperwork. Here is a list of truck driving schools in your area.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Good Morning SGM. My question..my period of active duty was from 1989 to 1999,and then my Reserves was from 1999 to 2005. I used a 1/2 semester of my GI Bill from active duty before expiration and was denied an extension. Do I qualify for the GI Bill under my 6yrs of reserve service?

A: Not unless you were deployed for at least 91 days after September 10, 2001. With the Montgomery GI Bill – Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR), it is good for only as long as you are in the Reserve or National Guard. Once you are out, your MGIB-SR benefits end.

However, if you were deployed after the September date, on an active duty Title 10 order for a contingency operation such as Iraq or Afghanistan, then you qualify for a percentage of the Post 9/11 GI Bill. A typical one-year deployment would put you at the 60% tier. As far as the number of months, you would get 36 minus the number of months you used for your ½ semester, which would have been around 2 ½ to 3 months depending on the length of your semester.

To start using your GI bill, go to the VONAPP website and submit VA form 22-1990. You will get a Certificate of Eligibility back from the VA. Take that certificate with you when you enroll in school.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I retired in October 2005 and want to take advantage of the Post 9/11 GI Bill. However, I will not be able to be a full-time student because I am employed full-time and will have to take night glasses. I want to pursue a degree in Bachelor of Science in Information Technology, or a training certificate towards Computer Information Tech. That said, does the Post 9/11 GI Bill cover night classes and/or Training Certificate? Will I be receiving the full BAH if I take one on-campus class and an online class (going towards degree or training certificate)?

A: The Post 9/11 GI Bill is geared toward those wanting to get a degree, so it generally does not pay for training leading to a certification. It will reimburse you one-time, up to $2,000, to take a certification test however.

As far as when you take your classes, it makes no difference. The determining factor, as to whether you get the housing allowance or not, will be how many credits you take per term.

To get the housing allowance, you need to be a greater-than-half-time student. So assuming your school considers 12 credits per term to be full-time, you would have to take at least 7 credits per term to get the housing allowance of which at least one class has to be on-campus; the rest can be through an online venue.

In your question, you referenced full BAH (housing allowance). Under the Post 9/11 GI Bill, for a full month of class you get the same housing allowance amount whether you take 7 credits or 12, so in essence either you get it or you don’t – it is not on a sliding scale dependent on the number of credits you take.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I was in the U.S Coast Guard (retired) 1984-2004. When I enlisted, I was under the old VEAP system. I believe I cashed out of that program, but I am not sure if I was ever offered any another opportunity to enroll into any other GI Bill. Are there any education benefits that I may qualify for?

A:  There certainly is at least one – the Post 9/11 GI Bill. As long as you have a honorable discharge and served for at least 90 days after September 10, 2001, you qualify for 36 months of education benefit – no financial contribution needed.

Depending on when you got out in 2004 will determine your tier level or the percentage of benefit you will get. A full three years after September 10, 2001 would put you at the 100% tier. If you retired before the September date, then you will be at the 90% level.

To start using your entitlements, go to the VONAPP website and submit VA Form 22-1990. In return, you will get back a Certificate of Eligibility. Take the certificate with you when you enroll in school.

The VA will pay up your school directly for your tuition and fees up to the in-state maximum of your tier percentage. You get a monthly housing allowance and book stipend both paid at your tier percentage level. If you are at the 100% level, you also can use the Yellow Ribbon Program, if your tuition exceeds what the VA will pay, provided your school is a Yellow Ribbon School.

The 2010 EduBlog Awards are here! This year, ArmyStudyGuide.com is nominating the following bloggers and blogs:

Congratulations to all of the nominees! Good luck.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: My fiancé just became a veteran this past summer. He is going to be enrolled in school full-time for the spring semester. If we get married now instead of later, will it affect the amount he will receive monthly from the GI Bill?

A: No, it won’t have any effect. If he is using the Montgomery GI Bill, then he will get a fixed $1,421 per month and he has to pay all his own tuition, fees, books, supplies and other education-related expenses.

If he is using the Post 9/11 GI Bill, his housing allowance is based on the zip code of his school and he will be paid as an E-5 with dependents. The VA will pay his school directly for his tuition and fees (up to the in-state maximum), and he will get the housing allowance and up to $1,000 per year in a book stipend – none of which will change when you marry him.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I am now going to school using my mother’s GI Bill benefits that she has given to me. If I was to fail a class, would I have to pay the VA back for just that class or for all 4 of the classes I am taking? Would failing prevent me from being able to use the GI Bill benefits any further?

A: If you fail a class, whether you have to pay the VA back for that class or not, depends on the reason why you failed.  You would not have to pay them back for the 3 classes you passed.

If it was due to something beyond your control, such as a car accident that left you in the hospital or temporarily disabled and not able to attend class, then no you most likely would not have to pay. If the reason was due to something within your control, then most likely you would have to pay for the class, but the final determination is with the VA based in part on information submitted to them.

If you end up having to pay for a class, you have incurred a debt to the VA. If you fail the class, contact the VA as soon as you know, as not doing so could hold up using your GI Bill benefits in the future.

Once you have either paid back the debt or set up a payment plan, then the VA will continue your GI Bill benefits. If the VA finds that you were not responsible for failing the class, then your benefits will continue on. The key is contacting them immediately and being pro-active about the situation.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I am looking to use my Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits. I have a full-time job working mostly weekends so I want to go school 1/2 to 3/4 time. I am trying to balance work and school and I what to know what I’m losing out on by going ½  to 3/4 time? Will I only get 36 months of half-time and not finish my degree? How will it affect housing allowance?

A:  To get the Post 9/11 GI Bill housing allowance, you need to be classified as a greater-than-half-time student. So if your school considers 12 credits to be full-time, you need to carry at least 7 credits per term to get the housing allowance. It would literally pay you to get above half-time status as the housing allowance averages about $1,000 per month. If your school is on either the East or West Coast, it is twice that amount. If in the Midwest, then it is less than the average.

As far as entitlement use, you have up to 15 years from your discharge date to use up your 36 months of Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits. Entitlement use is calculated on your rate of pursuit, so if you were going to school full-time, you use one month of entitlement for each month of school. If you are carrying 7 credits (and your school considers 12 to be full-time), then you use up 7/12 of a month for each month you are in school or about 17.5 days each month.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: My husband is in the National Guard and he told me that he gave me his GI Bill. I was wondering how I can find out if he actually did? Also, how would I use it if I do have it, is there a form I have to fill out?

A: Being your husband is in the National Guard, the only way he could qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill is if he deployed on an active duty Title 10 order for a contingency operation order (such as Iraq or Afghanistan). A typical one-year deployment would get him to the 60% level, meaning the VA would pay up to 60% of his tuition and fees directly to his school and he would get 60% of both the housing allowance and book stipend. As a recipient of transferred benefits, you would be at the same percentage of payment as if he was using the benefits. A second 12-month deployment would get him to the 80% level.

If he has not deployed, then he has the Montgomery GI Bill – Selected Reserve, which does not have a transfer-to-dependents option.

The way to find out if he really did transfer Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits to you or not is to send in your GI Bill application. Go to the VONAPPS website and submit VA Form 22-1990e. If your husband transferred benefits to you then you will get back a Certificate of Application that you will need when enrolling in school under the Post 9/11 GI Bill transferred benefits. If he did not, then your application will be denied.