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How Is GI Bill Entitlement Use Calculated?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Is the use of the GI Bill used for the year you go to school, or is it used per semester? If I went in spring, summer, and fall, that would be considered 3/3 or a whole year? I’m asking because I know it’s good for a 4-year college, and you have 15 years to use it. I understand that if I went spring, summer, and fall, that’s TECHNICALLY a full year, therefor my 4 years, would now be down to 3 years left, and so on as I continue to use it till it runs out. So….. if I went spring and fall ONLY that would be 2/3 of the year meaning:2 out of the 3 semesters would mean that I still have 1 semester left per year (because i didn’t go in the summer)Do they reduce the years every 2 semesters, or every three semesters? I know its a VERY weird way of putting it, but I thought I would ask. Who knows maybe someone else is wondering the same thing?

A: You are right – it is a weird way of asking the question, but the answer is simple. GI Bill eligibility use for most schools is calculated by the days in a semester and your rate of pursuit. Some schools use the quarter system or clock hours and their calculation is slightly different.

Your 36 months of GI Bill eligibility is enough to get a four-year degree if you go to school for nine-month academic years taking two semesters per year. However, you can expend your 36 months of benefits in two and two-thirds years if you go three semesters per year. Either way, you have enough eligibility to end up with a four-year degree if you use your benefits wisely.

The above calculations are based on taking enough credits to be considered a full-time student. If you go to school full-time, you use up 30 days of benefits for each month you are in school. If you go part time, you use up less than a full month of benefits each month. For example, if your school considers 12 credits to be full-time and you are only taking 7 credits, then you use up 17.5 days for each month of school.

Regardless of how you use it, you will have enough time to be able to use up the full 36 months or 1,080 days. However, how long it takes you to use up those days will be determined by if you are full-time or not and by the number of semester per year you attend school.

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