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Will the GI Bill Pay for a Second Bachelor’s Degree?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I am about to complete a bachelor’s in criminal justice, which has been paid for entirely by tuition assistance. I would like to pursue a second bachelor’s in computer science while on active duty, since I will more than likely be staying in until retirement. I have been told that neither the MGIB nor Post 9/11 will pay for a second degree in a field unrelated to the first. Is this true? What are my options?

A: If your first degree in criminal justice was paid for entirely by Tuition Assistance (TA), then the VA will most likely let you use your GI Bill benefits to get a bachelor’s degree in computer science. TA is funded by your service branch and not by the VA, so in essence the VA is not paying for a second degree; only your first degree of using the GI Bill.

If your first bachelor’s degree was paid for by the VA, then yes, they generally frown upon paying for a second degree at the same degree level in an unrelated career field.

The intent of the GI Bill is to train servicemembers and veterans in a career, so they would rather pay for a bachelor’s and master’s degree in the same field rather than two bachelor’s degrees in unrelated fields. Make sense?

So the reality is go ahead and use either the MBIG or Post 9/11 GI Bill to pursue your degree in criminal science.

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