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Can I Use My Post 9/11 GI Bill to Work on Two Masters’ Degrees?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Hi Ron, I’m active duty and plan on retiring next summer/fall with 22 years of service. I’ve got 27 months left under the MGIB. I’m currently enrolled in two online master’s programs, having not used the GI Bill on either, yet. I’ve done some calculations, and with the changes in the Post 9/11 GI Bill, it seems that’s the way to go. This is especially true with the book stipend while on AD, and housing allowance after AD. I’m inclined to switch and use all the Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits to finish one of the degrees. However, is it possible to apply the benefits to two degrees?

A: I’ll start by answering your last question first. It is possible to use your Post 9/11 GI Bill to get two degrees, however, you can’t use it to work on both degrees at the same time. The VA will only fund one education plan at a time.

And the VA might not fund two master’s degrees. It depends if they are related or not. Typically the GI Bill is used progressively meaning you get one degree, such as a bachelor’s degree, and then use your GI Bill again to get a higher rated degree, such as a master’s degree. But if you can show a relationship between your two masters’ degrees and how it will benefit you to get both, they might agree to fund both of them.

As you know, with the Post 9/11 GI Bill and still serving, the VA would pay your tuition directly to your school up to the resident rate at a public school or up to $19,198.31 per year at a private school. And you could get up to $1,000 per year in book stipend money. While on active duty, you would not be eligible for the housing allowance, but you would once off active duty. However, just so you know, being you are taking all online courses, your housing allowance as a full-time student would be limited to a maximum of $714.50.

But, take one class that pertains to your degree plan on campus at a local school and you could get the full housing allowance authorized for the zip code of your school – it could be twice of your online amount or more. Just something to consider.

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