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Can I Draw On My Post 9/11 GI Bill and My Husband’s New GI Bill at the Same Time?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I am a veteran and earned my own Post 9/11 GI Bill. My spouse is still active duty and has transferred his benefits to me and our children. I am applying to a doctorate level program where my GI Bill will only cover half of the tuition. Is it possible for me to also draw my husband’s GI Bill at the same time to cover the tuition? (The program is 3 years in length).

A: No it isn’t possible to draw on both your and your husband’s GI Bill at the same time. Have you explored the Yellow Ribbon Program yet? That program could maybe help pay the tuition not covered by your Post 9/11 GI Bill. With your own Post 9/11 GI Bill, you would be eligible for the program, provided your school has a Yellow Ribbon Agreement with the VA and your doctorate program is included in their agreement.

If so, then your school could waiver up to 50% of the difference between what your GI Bill pays and what your school charges; the VA would pay an equal amount. This in theory would leave you nothing left to pay out-of-pocket.

Notice I said “in theory”? That is because your school could have agreed to pay less than 50%, which in that case you would have some tuition left to pay.

Just so you know, as long as your husband is still serving, you would not be able to use the Yellow Ribbon Program when you start using the benefits he transferred to you.

Also, if your school is not a Yellow Ribbon school, or their agreement does not include your degree plan, then I would look for a school where their Yellow Ribbon Agreement could help pay your tuition. Three years of doctoral tuition is a lot of money, if there are other options available.

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