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What Do I Need to Do to Set Up My GI Bill So That I Can Start School in the Fall?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I just got out of the Army and I’m trying to go to college in the fall. What do I need to do to set up my GI Bill and do I need to change it to the new one?

A: Setting up your GI Bill to use is simple; just send in VA Form 22-1990 from the eBenefits website. In return you would receive a Certificate of Eligibility that you need when enrolling as a GI Bill student.

As far as if you should switch to the New GI Bill or not, it depends largely on your education goal. If you plan to only go as far as a Bachelor’s degree, then using 36 months of the Post 9/11 GI Bill may be a good choice as it normally pays better than the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB).

However, if you plan on going further than a four-year degree, then you may be better off using up your 36 months of MGIB first and then switching to the Post 9/11 GI Bill to get the additional 12 months of benefits.

If you are thinking about switching to the New GI Bill right away, be sure and do your homework first as you can’t switch back if you made a mistake. There are situations where the Post 9/11 GI Bill may not be the best choice; for example if you attend a tuition-free school and your school’s zip code is in a low cost of living area.

If you don’t have to pay tuition, then compare what you would get in New GI Bill housing allowance against the $1,564 you would get under the MGIB. Also factor in that with the New GI Bill that you would also get up to $41.67 per credit per semester in book stipend money (up to the $1,000 cap per year).

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