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Would It Benefit My Son to Use the Montgomery GI Bill First and Then the Post 9/11 GI Bill?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: My son is in the National Guard and recently completed BCT and AIT. He plans to attend a local college next semester. Although he qualifies for both the Post 9/11 and Montgomery GI Bills because he has had >90 days active duty, he has only been enlisted for 1 year. Would it benefit him more to use the Montgomery GI Bill first since he doesn’t qualify for 100% of the Post 9/11 GI Bill? Since he is actively drilling and enlisted for 6 years, will he be eligible to receive 100% of the Post 9/11 in 2 more years because he will have 36 months enlisted and actively drilling?

A: I hate to burst your bubble, but if the only active duty your son has is his BCT and AIT, he is not eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill. As a National Guardsman, the only time that counts towards Post 9/11 GI Bill eligibility is deployment time on a Title 10 order in support of a contingency operation, such as Afghanistan.

A one-year deployment would put him at the 60% tier, meaning the VA would then pay 60% of his resident tuition, and pay him 60% of his housing allowance and book stipend. Three years of eligible service would put him at the 100% tier.

And the Montgomery GI Bill he has is the Montgomery GI Bill – Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR). That GI Bill is far different from the Montgomery GI Bill those on active duty receive. Under the MGIB-SR, he would get about $362 per month to go to school full-time, verses up to $1,648 per month for the Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty.

The only other way your son could become eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill would be if he was selected for a position in the Army Guard Reserve (AGR). Then his time would count day-for-day and he would get full eligibility in three years. These are full-time positions that are very similar to being on active duty.

Unless he deploys or goes into the AGR program, he will never get more than his MGIB-SR for a GI Bill.

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