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As An AGR Soldier, Would It Even Make Sense for Me to Convert to the Post 9/11 GI Bill?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I used all my Chapter 1606 GI Bill for my Bachelor’s Degree. I was later hired into the AGR program and paid $1,200 for one year of the Chapter 30 GI Bill. I am now deployed to Afghanistan. When I return home, will I be able to convert that one year of Chapter 30 to Post 9/11 GI Bill? Would it even be feasible if I am still AGR? If the biggest benefit of Post 9/11 GI Bill is the housing allowance, if I am AGR, I already receive BAH, so I’m wondering if it would even make sense for me to convert. I am enrolled in law school at the University of Akron in Akron, OH and am already using the Federal Tuition Assistance (or at least I was before I deployed), so I am just trying to figure out the best way to maximize my benefits. Thank you!

A:Yes you would be able to convert your Chapter 30 (Montgomery GI Bill) to Chapter 33 (Post 9/11 GI Bill). As part of the GI Bill 2.0 changes, AGR are now considered the same as active duty personnel as far as the Post 9/11 GI Bill eligibility is concerned.

To answer your question if it makes sense to convert or not, only you would be able to answer that, however, I can give you some information that may help you make your decision.

If you are getting BAH in the AGR program, you would not get the MHA (Monthly Housing Allowance), however, the VA would pay your tuition up to the resident rate at a public school and you would get the approximate $500 per semester in book stipend money (up to the $1,000 per year limit).

By transferring to the Post 9/11 GI Bill, you would get back your $1,200 MGIB contribution fee, once you finish using up your one year of Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits.

According to the U of A’s website, law school tuition and fees for the Fall is projected at $12,066.02 if you are a resident going to school full-time (15 credits) or $7,370.26 if going to school part-time (9 credits). If the U of A is a state supported school, the Post 9/11 GI Bill would pay that entire amount. If it is a private school, the VA would pay up to $19,138.31 per year.

Plus at either type school, you would still get the book stipend which should cover the projected cost of $1,000 for two semesters of books and supplies.

By comparison, the MGIB would only pay you $1,564 per month and you have to pay your own tuition and fees (and books). If you decide to transfer to the Post 9/11 GI Bill, just go to the eBenefits website and submit VA Form 22-1990.

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