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If I Last Used My GI Bill in 2008, Do I Still Qualify For Benefits?

Q: I was in the Marine Corps from Feb 99 – Aug 03 (some stop loss there) and I used the GI Bill to finish my associate’s degree from 07 to 08. Now, I would like to finish my bachelor’s degree and possibly my master’s at a local state university (Montclair State University in New Jersey) Do I still qualify for benefits and how much longer would I have if I still do? Also, I work full time so I would be looking to do this at night. How many credits would I need to take at once figuring a 3-credit course is around $1,000? Thanks in advance. Jeff White

A: The amount of time you have left to use your GI Bill depends on which GI Bill you have. Delimiting dates start on the day of discharge, so if you are using the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) with its 10-year delimiting date, it will end in 2013. If you are using the Post 9/11 GI Bill with its 15-year delimiting date, then you have until 2018.

With either GI Bill, you have 36 months of benefits. You used approximately 18 months to get your associate’s degree, so you should be able to get your bachelor’s degree with what is left.

If you are using the MGIB, it looks like you would also qualify for around the 70% level for the Post 9/11 GI Bill (more than 18 months, but less than 24 after September 10, 2001). If so, once you exhaust your MGIB, switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill and get an additional 12 months that you could apply towards your master’s degree.

This part of your question –“How many credits would I need to take at once figuring a 3-credit course is around $1,000?” – I can’t figure out what you are asking. The MGIB pays you a fixed amount, depending on your rate of pursuit (full-time, half-time, etc.) while the Post 9/11 GI Bill pays per credit, up to your school’s in-state maximum, which for New Jersey is $450.67 per credit.

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