With Eligibility for Three GI Bills, Which One Would Be Best for Me?
Q: I am trying to figure out which GI Bill option works best for me and I would like to see dollar figures if possible. I am a National Guard soldier with 14yrs of service. I have been deployed twice under Title 10. First deployment was from Aug 2005 to Dec 2006; second deployment was from Sept 2010 to Nov 2011. I have heard that I’m eligible for 1606, 1607, and post 9/11. I just need the best bang for the buck! I have used a little of the MGIB in the past, but I’m unsure of how much I actually used? I am currently taking courses full time through virtual college.
A: At one time you probably did have all three GI Bills, but your Chapter 1606 that you had from being a National Guard member expired at the end of your 10th year anniversary. So that GI Bill is no longer a viable option, plus it only pays a full-time student $337 per month anyway and you have to pay your own tuition, books and other education-related expenses.
Chapter 1607 (REAP) was the forerunner to the Post 9/11 GI Bill, so you earned it from your deployment in 2005/2006. With your 16 months of service, it would pay $883.30 per month for you to go to school full-time and you have to pay all of your expenses as listed above for Chapter 1606.
And yes you are eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill. With a total of 30 months of qualifying Post 9/11 GI Bill service, you would qualify at the 90% tier. Under that tier, the VA pays 90% of your tuition directly to your public school (or up to 90% of $17,500 per year in tuition if you attend a private school) and you get 90% of the authorized full-time student online housing allowance of $673.50 ($606.15) and 90% of the book stipend ($37.50 per credit) at the beginning of each semester (up to your $900 yearly cap). As you can see by the figures, monetarily the Post 9/11 GI Bill would be your best bet.
As far as how many months of benefits you have left, you would have to submit VA Form 22-1190 from the eBenefit website to get that information. In return, you’ll get a Certificate of Eligibility showing your remaining unused benefits.