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What Will I Receive If I Enroll in College Full-time?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I’m curious about BAH and GI Bill. What will I receive if enrolled in college full time? The college VA Office told me I would get $333/month from GI Bill (I am in the old one I believe? Chapter 1607?) I am in the Guard, 1 year of service, no deployment. I have heard mixed statements about also receiving BAH in the amount of E5 w/dependents based on the zip code of my school? If that is correct, what paperwork, and to whom do I submit it to? Any help would be great! I want to get a degree prior to my 2013 deployment date, but sure can’t live on only $300/month.

A: Actually the amount for the Montgomery GI Bill – Selected Reserve (Chapter 1606) is now $337 per month, but still less than what most people can live on. With the MGIB-SR, that is all you get and you have to pay your own tuition, fees and other education-related expenses.

Actually, you would be far better off if you waited to go to school after your deployment. With a one-year deployment, you would qualify for 36 months of Post 9/11 GI Bill education entitlement at the 60% level.

Under the Post 9/11 GI Bill, the VA would pay your tuition and eligible fees directly to your school (up to 60% of the in-state maximum). Monthly, you would get 60% of the housing allowance and up to $600 per year in a book stipend (60% of the $1,000 per year maximum.

This GI Bill has the housing allowance paid at the pay grade of an E-5 with dependents based on the zip code of your school. Chapter 1606 doesn’t have anything other than the $337 per month. The housing allowance alone averages $1,000 per month across the United States with both the East and West Coasts being double that amount and the Midwest being slightly less. So you would be around 60% of that amount or $600 per month – almost twice of what the MGIB-SR would pay and your tuition and fees are 60% paid already by the VA.

To me it is a no-brainer to wait until you qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill. But if you choose to use your MGIB-SR, then go to the VONAPP website and submit VA Form 22-1990. This is also the same website and form you will need for the Post 9/11 GI Bill.

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