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Being from a Tuition-Free State, Would the Montgomery GI Bill Still Pay Me $1,564 monthly?

Q: Good afternoon Mr. Kness, I’ve read various articles and it was slightly overwhelming to take in all at once. I was hoping you could help me clarify a few questions I had. My overall goal is to decide whether to stay with the MGIB or switch to Post 9/11 GI Bill. I’m trying to maximize my benefits, but I’m also unaware of many variables 1. Being from a Tuition-Free State, would staying with the MGiB still pay me $1,473/monthly? Does the Post 9/11 compare in the monetary value received through Housing/Book Stipend? 2. If I take courses online to bridge the gap until the next semester when I can take on-campus classes, would I only receive half the BAH that the same courses would pay in a physical setting? Thank you for your time sir!

A: All great questions! Being you are in a tuition-free state, you may well indeed be better off staying with the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB), however, it really depends on the BAH rate for the zip code of your school and the number of credits you are taking. For example, under the MGIB, you would get $1,564 per month (the rate went up on Oct 1st). Out of that amount, you would have to pay for books – let’s say $300. So for the 4-month semester, you would net $5,956.

Now check the BAH rate table for your school zip code. Select E-5 from the drop-down Pay Table menu. If the “with dependents” rate is less than $1,564 per month, then you would be better off staying with the MGIB. Plus in addition under the Post 9/11 GI Bill, you would get $41.67 per credit per semester in book stipend (up to the $1,000 per year cap). If you are a full-time student, that is about another $500.
I think my answer to your first question pretty well answered your second question.

For question three, you are spot-on. Crazy huh! If you are taking all online courses, then the most you can get in Post 9/11 GI Bill housing allowance would be $684 per month. If you take those same courses on campus you would get the full housing allowance.

So the lesson to be learned here would be to keep your MGIB through your online-only courses (because it pays more) and then switch and make your Post 9/11 GI Bill effective date to start when you begin attending on-campus.

There is one last thing you should know. If you switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill with benefits left under the MGIB, you would not get the additional 12 months of benefits. If the additional time is important to you, then you may want to stay with the MGIB until you have exhausted it and then switch.

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