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Will My Montgomery GI Bill from 1999 Pay for My $45,000 Course?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I want to get my BA in Software Engineering from University of Phoenix online. I enlisted in 1999 and so I have the MGIB of $50,000. The problem is that the tuition for said program is $530 per credit hour for 15 months. With materials it’s about $45,000. Will my MGIB cover all that cost? Thanks. – Jason

A: Your Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) should pay for your whole program. Right now the MGIB is paying up to $1,648 per month to go to school. If you used up all 36 months of your MGIB to get your BA degree, you would have earned $59,328, but you have to pay all your education costs, including tuition, fees, books, etc.

However, you may have another option. Depending on how long you were in, you may qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill. All you need for full 100% eligibility is at least three years of active duty service after September 10, 2001. If you have less than three years after that date, you still may have some eligibility – it would just be at a lower percentage.

Under the Post 9/11 GI Bill, the VA would pay your tuition directly to your school and you would get a Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA) up to $714.50 per month (because you are an online-only student) and a book stipend worth $41.67 per credit, up to the maximum year cap of $1,000.

If you are 100% eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill, you could switch over all 36 MGIB months to the New GI Bill by submitting VA Form 22-1990 from the eBenefits website. If you are less than 100% eligible, then you may want to crunch the numbers to see which GI Bill would be the best for you.

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