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How Do I Switch from the Montgomery to the Post 9/11 GI Bill?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: How do I switch from the MGIB to Post 9/11 GI Bill?

A: Switching to the New GI Bill is easy. Just go to the eBenefits website and submit VA Form 22-1990. But there is a bigger question that begs to be asked: “Is switching GI Bills best for you?”

The Post 9/11 GI Bill is the latest GI Bill on the block. Because it is shiny and new, and thought to be the biggest and best, most people think it is the one they should have. However, before you switch, ensure that it would serve you the best, because once you switch, you can’t switch back if you find out later that you should have stayed with the old GI Bill.

In some situations, staying with the Montgomery GI Bill can be more beneficial financially. For example, if you have scholarships fenced for tuition or attend a college that is tuition-free for veterans, you would make more money per month under the old GI Bill.

What many students new to the Post 9/11 GI Bill don’t realize is the VA is the last payer, meaning other forms of financial aid pay their fair share first and the VA pays what is left up to the limits allowed by law. So if all of your tuition is paid by other means, all you are getting from your Post 9/11 GI Bill is the monthly housing allowance and book stipend.

For example, let’s assume a student from Georgia has his tuition paid for by scholarships. Under the MGIB, as a full-time student with at least three years of service, s/he would make $5,856 per 16-week semester going to a school in Atlanta; under the Post 9/11 GI Bill, that same student would get $5,156 or $700 less for that same semester.

So it is important to do a GI Bill comparison based on your individual situation to see which GI Bill would be the best for you.

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