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If You Start Off Using One GI Bill Program, Can You Switch to Another One?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: If you start off using one GI Bill program, can you later switch to another, for example, if I cannot use the Post 9/11 GI Bill because I am not presently located where there is a VA-approved school that I can take in classroom courses with presently, can I switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill once I return to the US where there are VA accredited schools?

A: Yes you can switch provided you are eligible for both GI Bill programs. So I’m assuming you have the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) right now. Just be aware that you will only be able to switch once and after switching to the Post 9/11 GI Bill, you will not be able to switch back to the MGIB; switching is a one-way road.

You do have an option though. One, you can take online courses and use your GI Bill regardless of your location. After October 1st, you can get up to $673.50 in a monthly housing allowance – something online-only students currently do not qualify for.

You also have a couple of options to think about before switching. One, if you switch with MGIB entitlement left, you will get those same number of months under the Post 9/11 GI Bill. Once you use up those months of entitlement, you will get a prorated amount of your MGIB contribution back.

However, if you use up all of your MGIB entitlement and then switch to the Post 9/1 GI Bill, you can get an additional 12 months of education benefit. So it will come down to whether you want the money or the extra months of entitlement.

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