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Which Is More Beneficial, the Full Transfer to the Post 9/11 GI Bill Now Or After 36 Months?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Which is more beneficial, the full transfer or the transfer after 36 months? I will only be using MGIB for my Master’s, which is a two-year program. I know it will not cover the full costs of a master’s program, but I want to get everything I can out of it. Which way gives you more money for school and fees? Thank you.

A: First of all, I’m confused by your question. You say that you are going to be using your Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) for your two-year master’s degree, but then you want to know which will be more beneficial a full transfer or after 36 month’s. If you are only going to use 24 months of your MGIB, you would never use up your initial 36 MGIB months to even get to your additional 12 months of Post 9/11 GI Bill.

And if you switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill right away, you give up the right to use your MGIB, so you would not be able to use it for your master’s degree, but in fact, you would have to use your Post 9/11 GI Bill. That is not a bad thing – just different than what you had expressed in your question.

Without knowing where your school is, I can’t accurately answer your question. Because the monthly housing allowance is based on the zip code of your school (in addition to the number of credits you are taking each semester), I would have to have that vital piece of information to make an accurate projection of what you should get.

But for explanation purposes, let’s assume you would get the average Post 9/11 GI Bill Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA), which currently is about $1,300 per month. Also, the VA would pay your tuition directly to your school – all of it, if you attend a resident public school, but only up to $19,198.31 per year if you go to a private school. And with either type school, you would also get the book stipend of $41.67 per credit (up to the $1,000 per year maximum).

Under the MGIB, you would get up to $1,674 per month and have to pay your own tuition, fees, book, etc. Actually, it is a no-brainer. Under the Post 9/11 GI Bill, you would get almost as much in just MHA and book stipend money (and your tuition is already paid) as you would under the MGIB (and you have to pay your own tuition). Switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill and most of your master’s degree (if not all) would be paid for.

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