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As a National Guardsman with an Honorable Discharge, Do I Have Any GI Bill Benefits?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I was released from the Arkansas National Guard under honorable conditions and was wondering if I am still eligible for my education benefits and if so who might I contact to find out how to get things started. Thanks for the help.

A: As a National Guardsman, you had the Montgomery GI Bill – Selected Reserves (MGIB-SR). One of the anomalies of that GI Bill is that its benefits expire upon discharge from the National Guard. The other anomaly under that GI Bill is your education benefits expire upon reaching ten years of service. So if you served in the Guard for ten years or more, your MGIB-SR benefits had already expired when you got out. If you served less than 10 years, then they expired when you got out.

However, you may have 36 months of GI Bill benefits under the Post 9/11 GI Bill, if you deployed after September 10, 2001 while you were in the Guard. All it takes to acquire minimum eligibility at the 40% level is serving for at least 90 days on a Title 10 order in support of a contingency operation, such as Iraq or Afghanistan. A typical one-year tour would put you at the 60% tier.

Under the Post 9/11 GI Bill, the VA pays your tuition at your percentage if you attend a public school. If you attend a private school, then the VA would pay up to your percentage of $17,500 per year in tuition.

Whether you attend a private or public school, you would get a monthly housing allowance based on the zip code of your school and the number of credits you take paid at your percentage. You would also get your percentage of $41.67 per credit once each semester (up to your percentage of $1,000) in a book stipend.

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