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What Happens to the $600 I Paid If I Switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I would like to know all the differences between the two programs and also what will happen to the $600 I’ve paid into the MGIB if I transfer to Post 9/11GI Bill.

A: Your question about the $600 you paid for the Buy-Up program to get $5,400 more of educational benefits is easy to answer – if you switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill, you lose it – your Buy-Up benefits can’t be used with the New GI Bill. However, if you decide to stay with the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB), you would get about an extra $150 per month.

After GI Bill 2.0 was implemented, the biggest difference now between the MGIB and Post 9/11 GI Bill is the pay structure. With the MGIB, you get a fixed $1,473 per month. Out of that amount, you have to pay all your own tuition, fees, books, etc.

Under the Post 9/11 GI Bill, your tuition at a public school is paid directly by the VA. Monthly you get a housing stipend calculated on the zip code of your school, the number of credits you are taking and paid at the E-5 with dependents rate.

Once each semester, you get a book stipend paid at $41.67 per credit with an annual limit of $1,000 per year. Also keep in mind that if you decide to stay with the MGIB, once you have exhausted your entitlement, you could switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill if eligible. Once you do that, you would get an additional 12 months of benefits, however, you wouldn’t have to worry about losing your Buy-Up benefit at that point – it would have been consumed by the time your MGIB benefits were exhausted.

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