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Is It the Right Move for My Husband to Transfer His Post 9/11 GI Bill Entitlement to Me?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: My husband has served 8 years in the Army and is still on active duty. He’s been able to go to school the last year and is now half way done with his Bachelor’s (using tuition assistance). I already have a bachelor’s degree and am thinking about going to law school in Texas (which would total out to $30,000 a year for three years). Our question is, my husband wants to transfer his GI Bill to me so that we don’t have to go into further debt for my law degree. He wants to reenlist for another three years (to qualify for the transfer) and keep using his tuition assistance for his BA. He does not plan on getting any further degrees.
Is this the right move? Will the transferred GI Bill pay for all of my law school expenses? If he doesn’t transfer it and doesn’t end up using it, what happens to the money?

A: To answer your last question first, the government keeps his $1,200 Montgomery GI Bill contribution. When he paid in his $100 per month for 12 months, it was for the privilege to get paid to go to school for up to 36 months during the 10-year period following his discharge from the service. If he does not use it within that time, the military has still upheld their end of the bargain and they keep the money. Remember, it was termed a “contribution” and contributions are rarely given back.

As far as if it is a good move for him to switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill in order to have the option of transferring its entitlement for you to get your law degree? It is a great deal. I don’t know of a better way to pay for a good chunk of your Juris degree by him serving an additional four years of service. Being you said he would have to reenlist for three years, I’m assuming he has one year left on his current enlistment.

Under the Post 9/11 GI Bill, it would pay for your tuition up to the resident undergraduate degree rate. I would see if you can find a good school that includes their law program in their Yellow Ribbon Program. That way, your school would pay a percentage of the difference between what they charge and what the GI Bill pays. The VA pays an equal amount, thus lowering the amount left for you to pay.

Just a warning that if he is also using the Tuition Top-Up Program along with Tuition Assistance, he may want to keep back the same number of months of eligibility that he may have already used, so he has that eligibility left to use to finish up his bachelor’s degree.

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