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What Are My GI Bill Options If I Came in Before the Post 9/11 GI Bill Was Enacted?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I joined the Air Force in Feb. of 2009 when the new Post 9/11 GI Bill was not an option, and I didn’t not like what the Montgomery GI Bill had to offer so I did the College Loan Repayment Program. I still paid the $1200 just in case the rumor of the new Post 9/11 GI Bill came out because I did not know what it would require. I enlisted for 4 years and do not plan on reenlisting active duty. I may go AF Guard, but I was wanting to know if I qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill. If there is a reference somewhere that helps explain my option. I do plan on going back to school to finish my degree, and it would be extremely awesome if I got the Post 9/11 GI Bill. Also, if I don’t get the Post 9/11 GI Bill, what are my options? If I join the AF Guard, do I eventually get the Post 9/11 GI Bill? Is there a waiver for me because the new Post 9/11 GI Bill hadn’t came out before I signed the agreement to get the College Loan Repayment Program? Any and every bit of information counts. Thank you in advance for your help.

A: When you signed up for the College Loan Repayment Program (CLRP), you incurred a three year obligation. During that obligation, you did not acquire GI Bill eligibility because you can’t use the same period of service for both. Your CLRP obligation ended in February 2012 and you are now gaining eligibility toward the Post 9/11 GI Bill. However, if you get out in February 2013, you would have 12 months of eligibility the 60% level; two more years of service would get you to the 100% level.

The reference you are looking for is on the VA’s website. Under the Post 9/11 GI Bill, the VA would pay your tuition and fees directly to your school. Monthly, you would get the housing allowance based on the zip code of your school and the number of credits you are taking multiplied by your Post 9/11 GI Bill eligibility percentage.

As far as getting the Post 9/11 GI Bill after enlisting in the Air Guard, you would have to deploy for at least 90 days on a Title 10 order in support of a contingency operation to acquire minimum eligibility of 40%. However you already have 60%, so any additional eligibility time would be added onto your existing time and increase your percent of eligibility. If you want the full eligibility, you can either deploy for up to two years as part of the Air Guard or Air Force Reserve, or serve an additional two years on active duty.

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