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Does My Number of Months of Benefits Start Over if I Switch Schools?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I started taking classes with an online school. I want to transfer in the spring and have everything worked out; I know the forms I have to submit and the paperwork that needs to be done, but I’m wondering if the time I’ve spent at the online school will count against my classes on campus at the new school? I was told the GI Bill only covers 36 months of education benefits. So does that mean that if my degree were to take 36 months at the new school, I would have to pay for the last few months? Or does it reset with the new school?

A: No it means you get 36 months of GI Bill entitlements total. If you are on the same degree plan at your brick-and-mortar school as you were at your online school, at least some of your credits should transfer and apply to your degree plan. If you switched degree plans when you switched schools, some may not come across. Those that do not transfer were wasted GI Bill benefits.

The 36 months of GI Bill benefits is enough to get a four-year degree by going to school for four 9-month academic years. If you used up 9 months with online courses, didn’t change degree plans, and all your online credits transfer, then you should be able to finish up your four-year degree with the 27 months you have left. If some of your credits don’t transfer, then yes, you might have some out-of-pocket costs to finish getting your degree.

It is important to plan out your education, so you can get the most bang for your buck out of your GI Bill.

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