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How Do I Start My MGIB and How Much Will I Get?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I separated from active duty in 02′. I am a U.S. Marine that never received a TAPS class. I am currently enrolled with Ashworth College online and wanted to know how to start my MGIB? How much tuition will be covered?

A: Actually it is the same process whether you have the Post 9/11 GI Bill or the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB). Go to the eBenefits website and submit VA Form 22-1990. In return, and it can take up to 8 to 10 weeks, you will get back a Certificate of Eligibility which you will need when enrolling in school as a GI Bill student.

Under the MGIB, you would get paid $1,426 per month for up to 36 months, which by the way is enough benefit to get your four-year degree if you go four 9-month academic years.

Out of that $1,426 per month, you have to pay all your own tuition, fees, books and any other education-related expenses. If your semesters are sixteen weeks as many of them are, then you would get $5,704 per semester in MGIB benefits. If you are paying everything out of pocket now anyway, your MGIB money should help defray some of your education costs.

If you got out after September 10, 2002, you might want to look at switching to the Post 9/11 GI Bill. With at least one year of service after September 10, 2001, you would qualify for 50% of the New GI Bill. The VA would pay 50% of your tuition and eligible fees, you would get up to $500 per year in a book stipend and if you are classified as a full-time student, you would get 50% of the $673.50 in housing allowance that online students can start getting with the fall term.

You would have to work the numbers, but 50% of the Post 9/11 GI Bill might end up paying you more that 100% of the MGIB. Of course, if you have less than one year of service after the September date, then the MGIB will be the better option.

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