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With the Elimination of Break Pay, Don’t We Really Have Almost Five Years of GI Bill Benefits?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Now that they have done away with break pay, most schools are only in session 210-225 days if you take the summer off. If we have 1,080 days (or is it 1095 days) of benefits, is seems we would have almost 5 academic years of benefits. Is this true? If you have days remaining after 4 years can continue to use those benefits?

A: If a school is on 16-week semesters, students are in school around 224 days. If you divide that into the 1,080 days of benefits, it comes out to 4.82 years, so yes you are right. It is almost 5 years of entitlement.

Once you have a degree, yes you can continue to use your remaining unused benefits for up to 15 years from your date of discharge. To get the most value out of your remaining GI Bill benefits, it would behoove you to work on the next level degree in your chosen field or related field.

For example, if you get a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, you might want to work toward a master’s degree in Business Administration, using your remaining unused entitlement. That would be an example of a natural progression in degrees in your career field.

Generally speaking, the VA won’t let you work on another degree at the same or lower level. For instance, you most likely would not be able to get an associate’s degree, if you already used your GI Bill entitlement to get a bachelor’s degree.

But because the VA has the final say, always run your education goals past them to see if they would approve them or not.

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