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Will Both of Us Be Eligible to Go to School Using the Post 9/11 GI Bill?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: My husband is an active duty Army soldier, having served for 4 consecutive years. When his 6th year is up, we’ll move to California and go to a public school together. He will pursue his Bachelor’s degree, while I will enroll in law school for a Juris Doctorate degree. So my question is, will both of us be eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill? He will go to school for 4 years full-time, and I will go to school for 3 years full-time. My law school’s yearly tuition is around $45,000. Would my husband’s GI bill cover all the expenses of THAT MUCH tuition? Thank you so much. I would really appreciate it if you can email me with the reply. Thank you.

A: First, if your husband is going to transfer Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits to you (and it sounds like that is the expectation being your asked if his GI Bill would cover your yearly tuition), he has to serve six years AND agree to serve an additional four years before he could get a transfer request approved. It sounds like you have expected to get benefits from him after he completes his sixth year and gets out; that is not the case.

Second, your husband will have 36 months of GI Bill eligibility. That is enough for a four-year degree by attending nine-month academic years. It will not be enough for both of you to go to school for a total of seven years.

Thirdly, under the new Post /11 GI Bill rules, the VA will only pay up to $17,500 per year if you attend a private school, or the full resident rate for a public school (which you indicated is what you will be attending) in the state of your residency including up to the doctorate level.

If you have to pay out-state tuition, then you might also want to look into a school having the Yellow Ribbon Program and ask if your program is included is their agreement with the VA.

If it is, I think the best use of your husband’s GI Bill benefits would be to transfer his 36 months to you (once he is eligible) and have his GI Bill pay your tuition being it is more costly than what his will be, but it would mean him serving an additional four years of service.

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