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With 1 Year and 3 Months of Deployed Time, Will I Still Get 100% of the Post 9/11 GI Bill?

Q: I entered the National Guard in 2000. I was deployed to Iraq in 2005. I did 1 year and 3 months active duty time during my deployment. I have applied to Fordham University for spring enrollment full-time. Because I was in the National Guard and I only have 1 year and 3 months active duty, what are the chances that they will grant me Post 9/11 Bill benefits at 100%? This school is very expensive but I stand to gain a great education from attending it. Thank you so much for your time.

A: You won’t get 100% of the Post 9/11 GI Bill with 1 year and 3 months of deployed time. A minimum of 90 days on a Title 10 order in support of a contingency operation is needed for Selected Reservists (which include the National Guard) to be eligible for the minimum Post 9/11 GI Bill benefit of 40%. Then with each additional 6 months of eligible service, the percentage of eligibility goes up 10% until you reach full eligibility (100%) with 3 years of eligible service.

With 15 months of Post 9/11 GI Bill eligible service, you would be at the 60% tier level. Right now, the VA can pay up to $19,198.31 per year in private school tuition if you are at the 100% tier. With you being at the 60% level, they could pay up to $11,518.99.

In addition, you would get up to 60% of the monthly housing allowance authorized based on the zip code of your school and the number of credits you are taking. Being you would be going to school full-time, you would end up getting $1,954.80 per month.

Also, you would get 60% of the book stipend per credit amount of $41.67 or $25.00 per credit.

You might be able to get some scholarships or grants to help cover the unpaid 40%, however, be careful with scholarships. If you get the kind that is dedicated to pay tuition, it will only reduce the amount of tuition the VA pays. One little known fact is the Post 9/11 GI Bill is the last payer of tuition.

If you have any form of financial aid that is used to pay for tuition, it only reduces the amount the VA pays, so you really don’t gain anything. Instead, apply for scholarships that are not “fenced” to pay for tuition.

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