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Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I am a Navy Veteran and I will be moving to England at the end of the month where I will apply for online schooling through using my Post 9/11 GI Bill. Will I still only be entitled to the amount here for the United States for housing allowance or will I get more?

A: As an online-only student, you would get the same amount as what you would get if you were living here in the U.S. – $673.50 per month as a full-time student with 100% Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits. If you have less than 100%, or you attend less than full-time, that amount would be even lower.

However if you are at the 100% tier, there is a way you can get the overseas Post 9/11 GI Bill monthly housing amount which is $1,346.88 now and going to $1,368 in the Fall for the 2012 academic school year. All you have to do is attend one course on campus each semester that is creditable to your degree plan at a GI Bill-approved school close to you.

The key is coordinating with your online school as to which classes you want to take on campus. Your online school will then contact your local campus and tell them which classes you are approved to take. Once you are finished with those classes, the on-campus credits will be applied to your degree plan by your online school.

Another key point for making this work is the classes you take on campus have to be part of your degree plan. If not, the VA will not pay for them and you will end up paying for them out of your pocket.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: My ex-husband transferred his GI Bill to our daughter who is college bound for the fall. He told me that he plans to use the monthly stipend for his step son. Does that money go in his name or to my daughter’s name? I don’t believe if it was transferred that her father should have control over it.

A: I agree with you, the money should go to her. However, where the money from her Post 9/11 GI Bill transferred benefits goes, depends on the information that is on her VA Form 22-1990e. If Direct Deposit routing and account information was entered in block 7, then the money will go by Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) into that account. If no Direct Deposit information was entered, then a hard copy check will go to the address listed in Block 5.

So the question is who filled out her form? It should have been your daughter, as that is also the form that gets her the Certificate of Eligibility that she will need when she registers for school.

Keep in mind that her tuition will be paid directly to her school, so your ex can’t get his hands on that money, but the housing money and book stipend will go as we discussed above. So if it is his DD account or address information that is on her form, that is where the money will go until that information is changed.

The VA does have a Direct Deposit hotline that she could use to change or add deposit information if none was ever entered. I suggest that she does that as soon as possible. Just keep in mind that by doing this your daughter is walking a fine line as her father could revoke all of her Post 9/11 GI Bill transferred benefits at any time.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I’m currently an active duty Marine out of Hawaii. I recently just returned from my first deployment to Afghanistan and I’m in the process of my next work up for the next deployment. So lately me and my roommate having been thinking about our futures and decided we wanted to attend the University of Georgia, and we were curious of what our GI Bill can do for us there? Can we somehow get in-state tuition? I’m from Illinois and he is from Washington. Any help you could offer would be very appreciated, thank you.

A: I just went onto the University of Georgia’s website and they show an out-of-state tuition rate of $28,052 and a resident rate of $9,842. If you use the Post 9/11 GI Bill, the VA would pay up to the resident rate and you would have to pay the remaining $18,212.

I also checked and the University of Georgia is not a Yellow Ribbon school. Why that is important? If they were, a portion of your unpaid tuition would be paid by your school and the VA would pay an equal amount which would lower what you have left to pay if anything.

I just looked at the Yellow Ribbon school listing for Georgia and there are many schools listed in the Atlanta, Decatur, and Savannah area that do have generous Yellow Ribbon programs. So unless the U of Georgia teaches something really special that you can’t get somewhere else, I think I would find a Yellow Ribbon school in the state.

By using your Post 9/11 GI Bill and getting your tuition paid for, you would also get a housing allowance and book stipend. The housing allowance for that area runs about $1008 per month. Plus you would get a book stipend of $41.67 per credit each semester until you hit your cap of $1,000 per academic year.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Greetings. I was wondering, I have split up my GI Bill between my wife, daughter and myself. Am I still limited to only a total of $17,000 total in a calendar year total, or is that each since I split up the bill? Thanks!

A: Actually the amount is $17,500 per year to attend a private school. If you are at the 100% level and attend a public school in the state of your residence, your tuition and eligible fees would be paid in full.

As far as what you would get using the Post 9/11 GI Bill, each of you get the same benefits, i.e. each of you could get up to $17,500 per year if all of you attended a private school. To the VA, it makes no difference if they pay just you a set amount spread over 36 months or split your benefits and pay each of you up to that amount over a period of time of less than 36 months. In the end the amount the VA pays is the same.

Also don’t forget that if you are no longer serving in the military that most likely all of you would be eligible for the monthly housing allowance and book stipend. If you are still serving, your spouse would not be eligible for the housing allowance but would get the book stipend, however your daughter would get both, even if she is still living at home. Go figure!

If you using Tuition Assistance and you are over what TA pays, then the Tuition Top-Up amount would come out of your Post 9/11 GI Bill remaining benefits. Once you are out and use your benefits, then you would get your tuition paid, and the book stipend and housing allowance.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Here’s my question — and I have been trying to get an answer, reading and talking with “experts” on the GI Bill. My ex-husband was in both Vietnam and the war in Iraq. My son would like to use his GI Bill to go to college. He and I live in Indiana, my ex lives in NY and my son wants to go to college in the state of South Dakota. Would my son be eligible to use the Bill being that the school is in South Dakota — where his father does not live? If so, how or who do we need to contact to get this started for the Fall Semester. Again, I have been frustrated to say the least on trying to get a straight answer. Thank you for your assistance.

A: The whole answer to your question hinges on if your ex-husband has already transferred Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits to your son or not and if not is he eligible to do so. Under the rules of the Post 9/11 GI Bill, the servicmember making a transfer request has to meet three service requirements:
• Having served for at least six years after September 10, 2001.
• Currently serving at the time of the transfer request.
• Have at least four years left on his/her enlistment at the time of the transfer request, unless retirement eligible.

If your ex served in Vietnam and did not have a break in service, he is retirement eligible by having served for at least 20 years, so no additional time would be required.

So, if your ex meets these three requirements and he wants to give some or all of his remaining unused Post 9/11 GI Bill entitlement to his son, then all he has to do is go to the milConnect website and make his transfer request. Once approved, your son has to go to the eBenefits website and request his Certificate of Eligibility by submitting VA Form 22-1990e.

If your husband does not want to transfer benefits or he is not still serving, then it is a moot point. The benefits belong to him and he can choose what he wants to do with them.

As far as the geographical part of your question, it is now immaterial as of July 1st. Because Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits are Federal Benefits, they can be used in any of the States, Territories and even overseas at GI Bill-approved schools. Even, if your son is a resident of Indiana, and wants to go to school in South Dakota, he can now attend any public college or university in SD and he will only be charged the resident rate. That was a change in July that applies to veterans and those using Post 9/11 GI Bill transferred benefits.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I live in the Philippines. Can I take classes online for 1/4 time or less and get paid? I have the MGIB. If so how do I sign up for classes?

A: You can, but you are not going to get much for it. Depending on whether you have less than three years of service or more than three will determine how much you will get. With three years or more, the most you can get for ¼ time is $368.25 per month. If you have less than three years, then it drops to $299.

Keep in mind because you are using the Montgomery GI Bill, out of those amounts you have to pay your own tuition/fees, books, etc.

As far as “signing up for classes”, I’m not sure if you actually meant that or if you meant signing up to use your MGIB. To sign up for classes, you just have to go to your school’s website and sign up according to their procedures, but you should do that after your get your Certificate of Eligibility. To get your Certificate, go to the eBenefits website and submit VA Form 22-1990. In 8 to 10 weeks (if you are lucky), you will get it.

Then go online to your school and register for classes. You need your certificate to enroll as a GI Bill student. Also, don’t forget that because you are using the MGIB, you also have to verify your enrollment monthly using the WAVE system or you won’t get paid.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Dear Sir or Ma’am, I am currently enrolled with the active MGIB. I am looking at separating from the Navy in a couple of years. I have asked the question and I have gotten a lot of responses which ended up saying “search for yourself.” I enlisted into the Navy January 18, 2005. I know I qualify for the Post 9-11 GI Bill, but how do I actually convert to that? My mentor has told me I need to do this while I am still on active duty. Any help is greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time.

A: Your mentor is confusing the Post 9/11 GI Bill transfer of benefits with applying for benefits. You can apply for benefits even after you are out. Just keep in mind your benefits expire 15 years from the date of your discharge.

To start using your benefits, go to the eBenefits website and submit VA Form 22-1990. In return, you will get your Certificate of Eligibility (COE) that you will need when enrolling in school as a GI Bill student.

The part you have to do while still on active duty is the transfer of benefits. That you can’t do after getting out. If you decide to go this route, you will have to extend your enlistment as one of the requirements is having at least four years left on your enlistment at the time you make a transfer request. The other two requirements are currently serving and having served for at least six years after September 10, 2001. While you meet two of the three requirements, you don’t meet the third one with only having two years left to serve.

It may or may not be something you want to consider. I just wanted you to be aware of the requirements. Now you know the difference between the using your benefit and transferring. With the rules being different between the two, it is easy to get them mixed up. So in the end, while it certainly would not hurt to get your COE while on active duty, it isn’t a necessity.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I was an officer in the Air Force and served for seven years. I served in OIF and am a veteran. I never paid into the GI Bill and used a POCI scholarship while attending the ROTC in college. I served from 1998-2005 active duty and 3 years in the reserves. Am I eligible for the 911 GI Bill? Thank you!

A: As you most likely know, officers commissioning though ROTC and having accepted $3,500 or more in any one year of ROTC scholarship money, normally are ineligible for any GI Bill let alone the Post 9/11 GI Bill. However, because your scholarship money was not through the ROTC program, but instead coming from the Professional Officers Course Incentive Program, it shouldn’t affect your eligibility for the Post 9/11 GI Bill.

Whether or not you were in OIF is immaterial as far as your Post 9/11 GI Bill eligibility. You were on active duty for at least three years after September 10, 2001, so you would qualify at the 100% tier.

So to start using your Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits, just go to the eBenefits website and submit VA Form 22-1990. In return, you will get your Certificate of Eligibility showing how many months of entitlement you have left to use under the Post 9/11 GI Bill. You have 15 years from your last date of discharge to use up your remaining months of Post 9/11 GI Bill entitlement or lose them.

The one thing you will not be able to do is transfer any of your Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits to your spouse or dependent children. While you meet the requirement of having served for at least six years, you are not now currently serving nor have four years left on your enlistment as the rules by Congress dictate.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: My first question is what’s the minimum credits I need to qualify for a stipend and can my son use the Post 911 GI Bill? If so, how many credits will he has to maintain to receive allowance? I retired with 20 years of service Jan 31, 2003 and now live in GA. Please help. Thanks!

A: I can’t give you an exact number as it depends on the number of credits your school considers to be full-time. I can give you a percentage – 51% of that full-time credit number. For example, many schools use 12 credits as the minimum number a student has to take and still be considered full-time. So to qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill housing allowance, you would have to take 51% of that number or 7 credits.

Keep in mind that if you attend less than full-time you will get a proportional amount of the housing allowance based on the number of credits you take and the zip code of your school. If in our example, you are taking 7 credits, then you would get 7/12th of the full housing allowance. Before GI Bill 2.0 you would have gotten the whole amount regardless of the number of credits you would have taken as long as you were over the 51% figure, but not now.

The other stipend you can get is the book stipend. That pays you $41.67 per credit per semester up to $1,000 per school year.

To answer your second question, no you would not be able to transfer your Post 9/11 GI Bill to him. Under the Post 9/11 GI Bill rules, you have to be serving at the time of transfer.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: My husband is getting out of the military and I am still currently in the military and we are being told that my husband will not be able to receive the BAH w/ Dependents with the Post 9/11 GI Bill because I am still in the military. Is that true? Also, we are told that if we are both using are Post 9/11 only one of us will get the BAH pay. How do we get a straight and honest answer about this? Thank you.

A: No it is not true in your situation, but it could be true in another. I’ll explain. What you heard is true if your husband was using transferred Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits he received from you. In that scenario, when one spouse is still serving and another is going to school using transferred benefits, the spouse is already drawing BAH for the other spouse and so the student spouse would not get the housing allowance. But since he served and has his own Post 9/11 GI Bill, he would get the housing allowance just like any other Post 9/11 GI Bill student having a non-military spouse.

The housing allowance is dependent on the number of credits taken and the zip code of the school. As you eluded to, it is paid at the pay grade of an E-5 with dependents, whether the student has dependents or not.

The other thing you were told is also not true. Because each of you have your own Post 9/11 GI Bill, each of you would get the housing allowance if you are both going to school at the same time. It always amazes me how much false information there is going around concerning the GI Bills. However, what I told you is the truth and honest answers to your questions. So the next time you hear someone spreading untruths on this topic, you can correct them!