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What Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits Am I Entitled To?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Hello, Here is my question. I’m currently on active duty and I owe 2 more years of service as an Officer in the Army. I signed up and was given the MGIB. I paid the $1,200 fee. I want to go to law school back in Ohio when I get done. Can I switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill? Should I switch? I think the University of Cincinnati Law School is a Yellow Ribbon School, is that correct? How do I know what benefits I am entitled to? Thank you in advance. Josh

A: Let’s answer your first question Josh – yes you could switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill and in your case it is probably the right thing to do. Under the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB), you would get $1,648 per month to go to school. Out of that amount, you would have to pay your tuition, books fees, and any other education-related expenses.

However, under the Post 9/11 GI Bill, the VA pays your tuition directly to your school. Attend a public school and it pays 100% of the resident rate; attend a private school and it would pay up to $19,198.31 per year. And you are smart in checking to see if your school is a Yellow Ribbon School or not.

Under that program your school could pay up to 50% of the difference between what they charge and what your GI Bill pays; the VA pays an equal amount. This can greatly limit the amount left for you to pay out-of-pocket.

To answer your second question, yes your school is a Yellow Ribbon School. The University of Cincinnati limits the number of students in their College of Law program to 5 per year with a maximum contribution to each student of $9,192. Because the school is listed as a public school, the VA would pay up to about $5,392 in tuition.

In looking at the school’s College of Law website, they charge $24,010 for Ohio Residents so after the VA paid their share, you would still have $18,618 left to pay. But under the Yellow Ribbon Program, the school could pay up to $9,192 with the VA paying an equal amount. As you can see, this would wipe out the $18,618 that was your responsibility to pay. Sweet!

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