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If I Enlist from Texas, Can I Go to School for Free and Still Collect On My GI Bill?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I heard a rumor, that if you enlist in the state of Texas. you can go to any school in Texas for free, and still collect your GI Bill. Is that true?

A: Your comment “You can go to any school in Texas for free …” is not exactly correct. You can go to any Texas school that is on the Texas Veterans Commission’s Approved list of Public Institutions. The list includes most of the state-supported schools in Texas, but does not include private schools.

As far as still collecting your GI Bill, it depends on which GI Bill you are using. If you are using the Montgomery GI Bill, the statement is true. Under the Hazelwood Act, you could get up to 150 hours of tuition-free schooling while still collecting up to $1,648 per month from your Montgomery GI Bill for up to 36 months.

If you are using the Post 9/11 GI Bill, then the statement is not true. You can’t use the Post 9/11 GI Bill and get those same classes paid for by your Hazelwood Act.

And there is more to qualifying for the Hazelwood Act than just enlisting in the State of Texas. You also have to meet these other qualifying requirements:
• Designate Texas as Home of Record; or be a Texas resident;
• Receive at least a general discharge under honorable conditions (but you couldn’t use your GI Bill with a discharge of anything less than Honorable);
• Serve at least 181 days of active duty service after IADT;
• Not have Chapter 33 benefits that exceed the value of Hazlewood Act benefits;
• Not in default on a student loan made or guaranteed by the State of Texas;
• Enroll in a Texas Veterans Commission state approved school;
• Must reside in Texas while going to school.

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