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When Did My Ten-Year Montgomery GI Bill Window Start?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I was active duty in the Marine Corps from 1994-1998 and enlisted in the Guard immediately after getting out. Did my ten year window to use my Montgomery GI Bill start after getting off of active duty or will it start after I retire from the guard?

A: No, your clock started on the day you were discharged from the Marine Corps for your Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty (MGIB-AD), so that GI Bill expired sometime in 2008. However, you have another GI Bill – the Montgomery GI Bill – Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR) – that you have while in the Guard, however, that one will end 10 years from your date of eligibility, if you stay in the Guard, or upon your discharge from the Guard. The MGIB-SR currently pays $337 per month to go to school, but also check with your unit to see what education benefits your state may provide. Most states offer some type of financial assistance for their National Guard members’ education.

If you deployed on Title 10 orders after September 10, 2001 for at least 91 days in support of a contingency operation (such as Iraq or Afghanistan), then you also qualify for at least partial benefits from the Post 9/11 GI Bill. A typical one-year deployment would get you to the 60% level, meaning the VA would pay your tuition up to 60% of the in-state maximum and you would get 60% of both the housing allowance and book stipend.  If you have been deployed, it is something to ask about.

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