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What Time Counts Toward GI Bill Eligibility?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I am a reservist, so I would like to know if military school days (technical school, annual training, etc.) count towards your active duty days for the new GI Bill. Also, would it be more beneficial for a reservist like me to stick with the old GI Bill due to the fact that I would only receive approximately 50% of the new one? Thank you for your time and service!

A: As far as your first question, training and AT days don’t count toward your eligibility for the GI Bill. A good way to think about it is generally only Title 10 type of duty counts. The type of duty is on every order.

Your second question is a tough one to answer due the number of variables, so here goes.

First, keep in mind that it may not be necessarily about the money, in-as-much as the type of training you plan to take. The Post 9/11 GI Bill will not pay for technical, trade, license, certification, or other non-degree producing programs. If this is the type of training you plan to take, then stick with the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB).

However, if you do plan on taking a degree-producing course, then money can enter into it as far as which GI Bill pays more. Right now, if you use the MGIB, the VA will pay you up to $1,368 per month to go to school and you have to pay all your education-related expenses.

If you take that same training under the Post 9/11 GI Bill, the VA pays your school 50% of the tuition and fees, and you get 50% of both the housing allowance and book stipend. Because each state has a different rate, I can’t tell you what the VA will pay, but you can go to the VA’s tuition page and look up the rate for the state where your school is located.

The same applies to the housing allowance, as it is driven by the zip code of your school. Using the BAH calculator, enter the zip code of your school in the Duty Zip Code field and choose E-5 from the Drop-down Menu under Pay Grade. You would get 50% of the E-5 with dependents amount.  For the book stipend, you would max out at $500 per year (50% of the $1,000 cap).

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