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Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: When I enlisted, I had to waiver the Montgomery GI Bill to receive the CLRP (loan repayment) benefits. Am I still eligible for the new GI bill after 4 years of active duty service after 9/11?

A: Yes you are eligible for the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill, but at a less-than-full-benefit level. When you signed up for CLRP, you incurred a three-year commitment.

You fulfilled that commitment one year ago, so you only have one year of service applicable to your Post 9/11 G.I. Bill eligibility.  That puts you at the you at the 60% level. What does this mean to you? It means you will only get:

  • 60% of your tuition paid by the VA;
  • 60% of your housing allowance paid to you;
  • 60% of your book stipend.

Also, because you are not at the 100% level, nor do you have the required years of service, you will not have the option to transfer any of your Post 9/11 G.I. Bill education benefits to your spouse or dependent children.

If you like the Army way of life, I suggest you stay with it. Once you serve an additional two years, you will be at the highest tier level and you can reap all the benefits, except the transfer option, of this great G.I. Bill. The transfer option comes at six years of service and agreeing to serve an additional four years.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I am currently enrolled in classes and registered for the fall semester using the new GI bill.  Will BAH continue through the summer?

A: No, it won’t, nor do you want it to. The Post 9/11 G.I. Bill housing allowance (or BAH as you referred to it), pays only while you are in class. As you have probably noticed, your first and last month’s payments of a term may be less than the middle months, if your term starts or ends during the middle of a month.

As far as your housing allowance continuing through the summer, if it would, it would draw down your Post 9/11 G.I. Bill months of entitlement.  You would have some money coming in, but you would not be getting the benefit of the VA paying your tuition or you going to class and getting credits toward your degree. Nor would you get a book stipend, although your book stipend may have already maxed out at that point anyway. The 36-months of benefit will cover four academic years of college, if you use it properly. For the summer, your best bet would be to either seek work on your own, or ask your school if they have a work-study program they could employ you for the summer .

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I have a friend that was in West Point during 9/11 and served five years once he graduated in 2002. Does he qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill?

A: Yes, your West Point friend does qualify for the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill, but maybe not at the 100% tier yet. Let me explain.

West Point cadets incur a five-year service commitment after graduation. If your friend graduated in 2002, his/her commitment would have been fulfilled in 2007.

At that point, your friend would have started acquiring time toward the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill. To meet the minimum requirement, a servicemember needs at least 90-days of service (which your friend has now). To get the full benefit of the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill, your friend needs at least three years (which he/she will meet sometime during 2010).

At the three-year mark, your friend will be fully vested in the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill. The only thing he/she will not be able to do yet is transfer any or all Post 9/11 G.I. Bill education benefits to a spouse or dependent children.  To do that, your friend needs at least six years of service and agrees to serve an additional four years.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I join the National Guard, on June 2005, and use the GI Bill for my last two years of college, it was only $300 monthly approx. Now I’m serving in the Active Army since 2008 and I want to go back to college again for my Masters. Do I qualify for the Active 2009 GI Bill?

A: Yes, you do qualify for the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill, but with less than 2 years of Army active duty, you will not get the full benefit. Two years of service puts you at the 80% tier; the full benefit comes with 36 months of service.

I believe a better plan would be to

  • use Tuition Assistance (TA) instead of your G.I. Bill to work on your master’s degree. Then use Tuition Top-up to cover some of what TA doesn’t cover. The Top-up comes out of your G.I. Bill benefits and would reduce the amount you would have to pay out-of-pocket, or;
  • wait for another year until you get the full Post 9/11 G.I. Bill benefit. Once you get the full benefit, then you may be eligible for the Yellow Ribbon program.

Colleges in the Yellow Ribbon program agree to pay up to half of the tuition not covered by the G.I. bill and the VA pays an equal amount. While most Yellow Ribbon schools primarily apply to undergraduate programs students, many schools also pay their agreed-upon portion for graduate study programs also.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I heard that my GI Bill tuition goes straight to the university I’m attending. Is there anyway I can change that to go directly to my account?

A: If you have the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill, then yes, the VA sends your tuition and fees (up to the in-state, public school undergraduate maximum) directly to your school. The answer to your question – no you can’t change to have those funds deposited into your own account.

You will likely get paid, however, a monthly housing allowance and a book stipend. Your housing allowance is paid at the E-5-with-dependents rate for the zip code of your school.  Just make sure your are more than a half-time student and not taking only online classes and not on active duty. Otherwise these three things will exclude you from getting the housing allowance.

The book stipend you will get in a lump sum with your the last housing allowance for the term. Your book stipend is capped at $1,000, so it will only cover 24 credits per academic year.

If you are referring to the Montgomery G.I. Bill, then no, the VA does not pay your school directly and you are responsible to pay those costs from your monthly benefit payment.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I am a drilling reservist. I have been deployed to Iraq in 2003. Am I eligible for any of these GI bills? If so, which ones and for how much?

A: As a Reservist, to qualify for the for the Montgomery G.I. Bill – Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR), you have to:

  • sign up for a six-year enlistment;
  • been awarded your high school diploma before completing IADT;
  • complete IADT;
  • remain in good standing as a drilling member of your unit (no more than four unexcused absences).

Assuming you have done all these things, then you would qualify for 36 months of education benefits. Keep in mind, generally speaking, your MGIB-SR is only good while you remain a member of the Reserves and expires 14 years from your date of eligibility or when you leave the Reserves.

In your case, your 14-year delimiting date is altered due to your mobilization. If your mobilization was for 12 months, then the length of your mobilization plus four months is added to your delimiting date. So while normally your MGIB-SR would end when you got out of the Reserves, you should have 16 months of benefit left if you leave the Reserves sooner than 14 years.

Right now the Montgomery G.I. Bill – Selected Reserves currently pays students $333 per month to go to school.

You should also qualify for 36 months of the Post 9/11 GI Bill at the 60% level, meaning the VA would pay 60% of your tuition and fees directly to your school, up to the maximum, and you would get 60% of the housing allowance and book stipend. Just be aware the Post 9/11 GI Bill doesn’t cover non-degree courses such as trade, technical, licenses and certifications.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I joined the National Guard in June 2005, and used the GI Bill for my last two years of college; it was only $300 monthly approximately. Now, I’ve been serving in the Active Army since 2008 and I want to go back to college again for my Masters. Do I qualify for the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill?

A: Yes you do, but not at the 100% tier. With the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill, you need 90 days of active duty to meet the minimum eligibility requirements. This puts you at the 40% tier, meaning the VA pays only 40% of everything. To get to the 100% tier, you need three years or more of active duty. Assuming you have two full years of active duty (720 days), you are currently at the 70% level.

Keep in mind, if you go to school while you are still on active duty, you will not get the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill housing allowance or book stipend; you will get both of these benefits, if you go to school after you are discharged.  Also, your tuition for your Master’s degree may exceed what the VA pays, so you might have out-of-pocket costs.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Do you have to go to school in order to receive the GI Bill? If so, how long until after I get out do I have to use it? I will be getting medically/honorably discharged at the end of 2010. If I use the GI Bill to pay for school, but my entire schooling is cheaper than the amount of my Bill, do I get any of the remaining balance? Thank you for your help.

A: It really depends on what you mean when you say “receive” the G.I. Bill. Your eligibility for the G.I. Bill comes from you serving in the military. To receive any education benefits in the form of pay, yes you have to go to school.

Being you are getting discharged at the end of this year, I’m assuming you are eligible for the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill. You have 15 years from your discharge date to use your G.I. Bill benefits.

Under that Bill, the VA pays your tuition and fees directly to your school, up to the in-state public school maximum for your state, and you would get a monthly housing allowance and up to $1,000 per year book stipend. Keep in mind, if you are still on active duty, taking online-only classes or going to school less than half-time, you won’t get the housing allowance.

To to answer your last question, I have to give explain how the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill works. Each state has their own maximum tuition and fees amount. The housing allowance is calculated based on the E-5-with-dependents rate for the zip code of your school, so there isn’t a fixed amount everyone gets like there was under the old Montgomery G.I. Bill.  So no, you don’t get any remaining amount, because there isn’t any remaining amount. The VA might pay $12,000 per term for your course and pay $20,000 per term for someone else taking the same course as you, just at a college in a different location. It is all based on area cost-of-living expenses.

Thank you to all who entered the ArmyStudyGuide.com Military Blogger Contest! We have narrowed down the entries to the category finalists—and now it’s time for the run-off.

Please check out the blog entries from our finalists below, and be sure to let us know what you think about them by using the star ratings and posting comments. If you really like a post, share it with others via Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon, or your preferred social network. The run-off round ends May 10th and then the category and $1,000.00 GRAND PRIZE winner will be announced on May 17th.

Finalists: Active Military

Military Blogger Contest Entry: Just Another Expendable Life

Blogger Michael Kern gives us an honest and insightful peak into the “Fog of War” phenomenon so many of today’s soldiers and veterans face…

Finalists: Military Families

Military Blogger Contest Entry: MommySnacks.net

Blogger Andrea Deckard shares how she and her husband used their military benefits to earn associate’s degrees. Her only regret? That she didn’t go for the bachelor’s…

Military Blogger Contest Entry: This Fabulous Army Life

Blogger “My Army Life” shares her family’s experience with an outside-of-the-box military benefit: Operation Purple Camps–”sleep away” camps designed for kids of military families…

Finalists: Veterans

Military Blogger Contest Entry: Extradition Music

Blogger “Extradition Music” explains how the many financial and educational benefits he’s received come second to the single greatest benefit he received: the pride and camaraderie of service…

Military Blogger Contest Entry: Doenne Brown

Blogger Doenne Brown gives us a break down of the often confusing Chapter 35 Dependents Educational Assistance (as well as tips for when you’re kids are off using these benefits)…

Military Blogger Contest Entry: Kyle Provost

Blogger Kyle Provost took a leap into the civilian job force after leaving the Navy—and then a second leap when he returned to school using the new (and as he quickly found, overwhelmingly popular) GI Bill…

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I heard that you can apply for the Post 9/11 GI Bill even after the MGIB runs out.  I qualify for the Post 9/11 Bill, so I was wondering how I would go about applying for it.  My MGIB runs out at the end of this semester.

A: If you qualify for both, yes you can get extra benefits by switching over to the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill – up to an additional 12 months of education benefit.  Under the Rule of 48, if you qualify for two or more G.I. Bills, you can get a maximum of 48 months of benefit – 36 months from one Bill and the additional 12 months from the second.

The trick to getting the additional months is to do just as you are doing – exhaust your Montgomery G.I. Bill (MGIB) benefits first and then switch over to the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill.  If you switch before exhausting the MGIB, you only get the same number of months you on your New G.I. Bill as you had left under your old Bill; you don’t get the additional 12 months.  Yes, I know it is a strange rule, but that is how it works.  You are doing it the smart way to maximize your G.I. Bill benefits.