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How Much Active Army Time Do I Need to Qualify for the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I joined the National Guard in June 2005, and used the GI Bill for my last two years of college; it was only $300 monthly approximately. Now, I’ve been serving in the Active Army since 2008 and I want to go back to college again for my Masters. Do I qualify for the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill?

A: Yes you do, but not at the 100% tier. With the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill, you need 90 days of active duty to meet the minimum eligibility requirements. This puts you at the 40% tier, meaning the VA pays only 40% of everything. To get to the 100% tier, you need three years or more of active duty. Assuming you have two full years of active duty (720 days), you are currently at the 70% level.

Keep in mind, if you go to school while you are still on active duty, you will not get the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill housing allowance or book stipend; you will get both of these benefits, if you go to school after you are discharged. Also, your tuition for your Master’s degree may exceed what the VA pays, so you might have out-of-pocket costs.

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