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What Are the Main Differences Between the Post 9/11 and Montgomery GI Bills?

Q: I joined the Army Reserves on November 11th 2009 and got sent to Afghanistan shortly after finishing my training, I am planning on taking online courses for a master’s degree in criminal justice. I live in Iowa zip code 50058, how much could I expect to get for assistance under the original GI Bill compared to the Post 9/11 GI bill?

A: This is a great question! Being you are in the Reserves, you have the Montgomery GI Bill – Selected Reserve. That particular GI Bill doesn’t pay much – $356 per month and you have to pay your own tuition, fees, books and any other education-related expenses.

By comparison, with a one-year Title 10 tour in support of a contingency operation, such as Afghanistan, you would be at the 60% Post 9/11 GI Bill tier, meaning the VA would pay 60% of your tuition and eligible fees at the resident undergraduate rate, and you would get 60% of the online monthly housing allowance (MHA) ($404.40 if you attend full-time) and book stipend ($25.02 per credit).

However, if you would take one class that applies to your degree plan per semester, you could get up to $554.40 per month in MHA as a full-time student.

Another option you would have once you get back is REAP. Under that program and as long as you stay in the Reserves and finish out your enlistment, you could get up to $938.40 per month and you have to pay all your own education-related expenses.

So by comparison, a typical four-month semester would look like this:

  • MGIB-SR – $1,424 (You have to pay tuition, fees and books.)
  • REAP – $3,753.60 (You have to pay tuition, fees and books.)
  • Post 9/11 GI Bill – online classes -$1,617.60 MHA + $300.24 (12 credit Book Stipend) = $1,917.84 (You have to pay for books and 40% of your tuition/fees, but 60% of it is already paid by the VA.)
  • Post 9/11 GI Bill – with one on campus class per semester – $2,217.60 MHA + $300.24 (12 credit Book Stipend) = $2,517.84 (You have to pay for books and 40% of your tuition/fees, but 60% of it is already paid by the VA.)

So once you have your cost for tuition and fees, you can better determine which GI Bill would be better for you to use.

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