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Can I Use Tuition Assistance and My GI Bill At the Same Time?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I have been in the National Guard for 3 years and I am in my first semester of college. I was wondering if I can use my tuition assistance and my G.I. Bill at the same time?

A: Yes you can. I’m assuming you have the Montgomery GI Bill – Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR). Under that GI Bill, you have 36 months of benefits paid at the rate of $337 per month to go to school (yeah I know, that’s not much). If you use Tuition Assistance, it will pay up to $250 per credit with a $4,500 yearly cap, which is enough to help pay for 18 semester hours per year. Add in your monthly Guard pay too as every little bit helps.

If you have deployed for at least 90 days anytime during your three years in the Guard on a Title 10 order in support of a contingency operation (such as Iraq or Afghanistan), you would also be eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill. Under that GI Bill, the VA pays your tuition and eligible fees up to your tier percentage of the in-state maximum and you would get your tier percentage of a monthly housing allowance and up to your tier percentage of $1,000 per year in a book stipend. Your tier percentage is tied to how long you were on Title 10 orders. A typical one-year deployment would put you at the 60% level. It would take three years of deployments to get to the 100% level. Under the Post 9/11 GI Bill you could use the Tuition Top-up program. Whatever tuition is not paid by Tuition Assistance would come out of your New GI Bill. However Top-Up can’t be used with the MGIB-SR.

2 responses on “Can I Use Tuition Assistance and My GI Bill At the Same Time?

The breakeven point is 70%. If you are under that percentage, then you would be better off with the Montgomery GI Bill. Over and the Post 9/11 would most likely be the better choice, but run the numbers for sure so you can see what you would get in housing allowance.

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