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Can I Use Both the Student Loan Repayment Program and the Post 9/11 GI Bill to Go to School?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: When I enlisted, my contract said I have both SLRP and Reserve Select GI Bill. While on AD orders I had a line of duty injury that required surgery. Now I’m able to get the Post 9/11 GI. My question is am I now going to be able to use both my SLRP and Post 9/11 GI Bill to go to school?

A: First let’s define how a Reservist or National Guardsman gains eligibility for the Post 9/11 GI Bill – you have to have served for at least 90 continuous days on a Title 10 order in support of a contingency operation, unless you have a service-connected injury resulting in a discharge – then you have to have served for at least 30 continuous days to get the Post 9/11 GI Bill. So if your LOD resulted in a service-connected discharge, you most likely are eligible for 36 months of the New GI Bill at the 100% tier.

In the Selected Reserves, you can sign up for the Student Loan Repayment Program (SLRP) before you have any student loans and it kicks in once you have eligible loans established (as long as you are still in the Selected Reserve). That differs from active duty where you already have to have eligible loans at the time you enlist and signup for SLRP.

So with all the background information out of the way, onto answering your question – if you are no longer in the Selected Reserves, you won’t be able to use SLRP as it ended when you were discharged, but you will be able to still use the Post 9/11 GI Bill. If you are still serving in the Selected Reserves, then yes, you most likely still have SLRP and you could use both programs.

However if you are out, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing because you most likely won’t acquire much in student loans anyway. If you attend a public school in the state where you are a resident, your Post 9/11 GI Bill would pay all your tuition and fees. If you end up having to pay out-state tuition or go to a private school, then look for a school that has a Yellow Ribbon agreement with the VA and you can reduce the amount of out-of-pocket tuition you would end up having to pay.

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