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Which G.I. Bill Will Benefit Me More?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I served from Sept. 1998 to Sept. 2002 and I believe that I am eligible for both GI Bills. I am thinking about attending the University of Phoenix either online or on campus. I was wondering which bill would benefit me more. Also, do either type of GI bill cover certifications such as personal training or project manager certificates? I would have to be a part-time student.

A: Did you make the $1,200 contribution to the Montgomery G.I. Bill? If so, then you probably do qualify for it providing your discharge was characterized as honorable.

As far as the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill, you would qualify, but with 12 months after September 10, 2001, you would be at the 60% tier at best. If you had less than 12 months of service after September 10th, you would be at the 50% level.

As far as which bill would benefit you more, I’m guessing the Montgomery G.I. Bill and here is why:

  • The Montgomery pays for certification training and tests where the New G.I. Bill does not pay for the training and only one test;
  • If you are going to school at less than half-time (less than 6 credits per term), then you won’t get the Post 9/11 housing allowance;
  • If you are taking only online classes, you won’t get a housing allowance either.

With the Montgomery G.I. Bill, you can get up to $1,368 per month to go to school and you have to pay your own tuition and expenses. Under the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill, The VA would pay 50 or 60% of your tuition and fees; you would have to pay the rest. According to most comparisons, online students generally earn more with the Montgomery G.I. Bill, but do your homework to be sure. Know that once you switch to the New G.I. Bill, you can’t switch back.

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