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With a Three-Year Contract, Can I Change from the Montgomery GI Bill to the Post 9/11 GI Bill?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Good day, I’m active military and planning to ETS 2013. I have a 3-year active contract and I was wondering can change my GI Bill to Post 9/11 GI Bill? And I found out you can use your GI Bill overseas, so can I use it to study in my home country of the Philippines? Will I be able to use my GI Bill or the Post 9/11 GI Bill in my country? Thank you so much. I hope for an answer.

A: If the school you want to attend in the Philippines is VA-approved, then yes, you should be able to use either GI Bill. The biggest difference between the two GI Bills right now is their pay structure.

If you are a full-time student and use the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) you would get $1,473 per month for up to 36 months. Out of that amount, you would have to pay for your tuition, fees, books and other education-related expenses.

Under the Post 9/11 GI Bill, the VA would pay your tuition and eligible fees directly to your school up to the current foreign rate of $18,077.50 per year. Monthly you would get a housing allowance up to $1,368. You would also get a book stipend of $41.67 per credit per semester, up to the $1,000 yearly cap.

If you switch now to the Post 9/11 GI Bill with all 36 months of benefits intact, you would get your full $1,200 MGIB contribution back once you have used up your 36 months of benefits. It would come as part of your last housing allowance payment.

However, if you first use up all of your MGIB benefits and then switch, you can get an additional 12 months of education benefits at the higher pay rate. So it comes down to if you need the additional time (if you intend to work on an advanced degree) or the higher pay rate. If you decide to switch, go to the eBenefits website and submit VA Form 22-1990.

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