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Should I Finish Using My MGIB Eligibility First Before Switching to the Post 9/11 GI Bill?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I’m sure you are tired of answering these questions, but I am going to ask it anyhow to make sure I understand. I have used all but 6 months of my MG GI Bill (the National Guard variety). I am about to enroll in post graduate school and I am now eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill. From what I have read from earlier posts, I should use the remainder of my MG GI Bill the first year and switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill for the additional 12 months allocated to me? Am I understanding that correctly? I know many of the prior posters were all active duty so maybe that makes a difference, as my MG GI bill adds up to about $500 a month with kicker included.

A: As far as the rules, the process to switch from either MGIB to the Post 9/11 GI Bill are generally the same, so there would not be much of a difference between you having the Montgomery GI Bill – Selected Reserves (MGIB-SR) and your active duty brethren having the Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty (MGIB-AD).

Your thinking about using up all of your MGIB-SR entitlement first before switching to the Post 9/11 GI Bill is spot on. If you switch over to the Post 9/11 GI Bill with MGIB-SR entitlement left, then all you would get under the Post 9/11 GI Bill is the same number of months as you had before switching. However, if you first exhaust your MGIB-SR entitlement and then switch, you would get the additional 12 months of entitlement.

If you are currently getting about $500 per month from using your MGIB-SR and kicker, then the kicker portion is about $144. That is about right as normally the kicker is about an additional $150 per month.

Under the Post 9/11 GI Bill, the VA would pay your tuition up to your authorized tier percentage at the resident undergraduate rate if you attend a public school. If you attend a private school, they would pay up to your tier percentage of $19,198.31 per year.

With either type school, you would get the monthly housing allowance and book stipend. Your housing allowance is dependent on the zip code of your school and the number of credits you take multiplied by your tier percentage. Your book stipend calculates out at $41.67 per credit per semester times your tier percentage (up to the tier percentage driven annual cap).

The tier percentage comes into play with Reserve and National Guard members as many times they have less than 100% eligibility. Active duty personnel usually come out with 100% coverage.

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