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How Long Do I Have to Serve to Get Full Montgomery GI Bill Benefits?

Q: I have a four-year contract and am thinking about getting out early. How long do I have to serve to receive full benefits with the MGIB? — Abby

A: When you signed the four-year contract Abby, you agreed to serve four years in exchange for the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB). The important life lesson here to learn is a contract is binding and both parties are expected to fulfill their part of the agreement.

Generally, you have to fulfill your contract, but depending on why you are getting out, you may be able to get your full MGIB by serving 75% of your contract or 36 months. Just so you know, you will need a good reason to get out, not just because you are tired of it and want to terminate your service.

With at least three years of qualifying service, you could also qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill. Depending on your education goals, that may be a better option for you. It is easy to convert – just send in VA Form 22-1990. If you do convert, once you exhaust your Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits, you can get your $1,200 MGIB contribution or a portion of it back, depending on how many unused MGIB months you had left at the time you switched. If you choose to stay with the MGIB, once you exhaust all of the MGIB benefits, you could convert and get an additional 12 months of education entitlement, but not your MGIB contribution back. So you have a couple of options to think about.

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