How Much of My AGR Time Goes Toward Post 9/11 GI Bill Eligibility?
Q: I served in Afghanistan in 2003 for 8 months. From Jan 2006 to Sept 2009 I served in the National Guard as an AGR (Active Guard Reserve) soldier. Under the new 9/11 GI Bill 2.0, I believe they will only retroact my AGR time back to Sept 10, 2011. If this is correct, I only qualify for the 8 months of benefits under the 9/11 2.0 Bill. Is this correct?
A: No it is not quite correct. Under GI Bill 2.0 if you were in the AGR program after August 1, 2009, your AGR service time can go back as far as September 10, 2001. However, because you were an AGR soldier after the August 1st date, your time back to January 2006 should count, but so does your 8 months of deployed time in 2003. So with over three years of eligible time, you should be fully vested in the Post 9/11 GI Bill program.
So what does that mean? It means that if you enroll in a public school undergraduate program in your home state, your tuition and eligible fees would be paid in full directly to your school by the VA. If you choose to go to a private school, then the VA would pay up to a maximum of $18,077.50 per year in tuition and fees.
Monthly, you would get a housing allowance that is based on the zip code of your school and the number of credits you are taking. That was another change under GI Bill 2.0. Before the change, you would have gotten the full housing allowance as long as you were taking at least 51% of the number of credits your school considers to be full-time.
You would also get a book stipend at the beginning of each semester that runs about $500 per semester, however, there is a yearly $1,000 cap, so you would only get it for two semesters per academic year.