Kirk R Gray
American Military University
A few weeks ago, we told you that the Montgomery GI Bill annual rate adjustment would take place on October 1st, but there are two actual GI Bills – the Montgomery GI Bill and the Post 9/11 GI Bill. The Montgomery GI Bill is the easier of the two to understand, but we’ll help you to understand the Post 9/11 GI Bill.
First, let’s start with some background on the Post 9/11 GI Bill. The Post 9/11 GI Bill was signed into law in 2008, and became active in 2009. The benefit is designed for servicemembers who have been or were on active duty for 90 or more days since September 10, 2001. Unlike the Montgomery GI Bill benefits, the tiered benefits provided by the Post 9/11 GI Bill are more comprehensive, but also more complicated.
To qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill you must be a veteran who have served at least 90 days of active duty service after September 10, 2001, and received an honorable discharge. In order to receive the full benefit, you have to have served at least three (3) years since September 10, 2001, for all others the benefit is tiered as follows:
|Member Service||Percentage of Maximum Benefit Qualification|
|At least 36 months||100%|
|At least 30 days on active duty and discharged due to service-connected disability||100%|
|At least 30 months, but less than 36 months||90%|
|At least 24 months, but less than 30 months||80%|
|At least 18 months, but less than 24 months||70%|
|At least 12 months, but less than 18 months||60%|
|At least 6 months, but less than 12 months||50%|
|At least 90 days, but less than 6 months||40%|
What is My Benefit?
Here’s the overview:
- Tuition & Fee payments are sent directly to your school for all public in-state students, unlike the Montgomery GI Bill.
- The Post 9/11 GI Bill includes a monthly housing allowance, which is sent directly to the student
- Books and supply stipend are sent directly to the student
We’ll start with the Maximum Tuition and Fee Academic Year Payment Schedule: The Maximum Tuition & Fee Reimbursement per academic year for students who are attending a Private Institution of Higher Learning (IHL) in selected states and have been enrolled in the same program since Jan 4, 2011
|Type of School||Maximum Reimbursement|
|Public School||All Tuition and Fee Payments for an in-State Student|
|Private or Foreign School||Up to $18,077.50 per academic year National Maximum (some states are exceptions see below)|
Additionally, if you are attending a public IHL as a non-resident or a private IHL that is more expensive than the $18,077.50 cap, you may be eligible for extra payment under the Yellow Ribbon program.
|State||Max Charge per Credit Hour||Max Total Fees per Term|
What do those charts mean? Well, if you attend a public school as an in-state student, then all of your tuition and fees are paid (provided you meet the eligibility requirements). If you are a student at a private or foreign school, then your tuition and fees are paid up to the academic year cap of $18,077.50, unless you have been at a school since Jan 4, 2011 in one of the “exception states”.
In the best scenario, your education at a public IHL is covered 100%. At a private IHL, your benefit could be $72,310 or more (or less depending on the schools location and in-state vs. out-of-state costs).
But the benefits of the Post 9/11 GI Bill are deeper than tuition and fee coverage. They also include monthly housing allowances and a stipend for books and supplies.
Monthly Housing Allowances
Simply stated, your monthly housing allowance, or MHA, is the same as your military basic allowance for housing for an E-5 with dependents. It is calculated on the zip code of your school. But there are exceptions:
- A foreign school MHA is $1,368.00
- Online School students receive $684.00
But you do not qualify for MHA if your a half-time (or less) student, or an Active Duty Trainee (or spouse).
A student’s yearly books and supply stipend are paid proportionally, based on enrollment, up to $1,000.00.
How else does the Post 9/11 Bill Benefit differ from the Montgomery GI Bill?
The biggest difference is that your benefit is now transferable to your dependents. The portion of the transferable-benefit is determined by the DoD, so you’ll need to apply for the transfer with them directly and must be requested WHILE YOU ARE A MEMBER OF THE ARMED SERVICES.
Here’s who is eligible to apply for the transfer:
- Servicemember has to be eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill.
- Have had at least 6 years of service (active duty or reserves) and you agree to 4 more years of service from the date of election. If you have already had 10 years of service (active duty or reserves), you will have to agree to serve the maximum amount of time allowed by policy or statute.
- If you were eligible for retirement between Aug 1, 2009 and July 31, 2012, you agree to an additional service period.
Who can you transfer your benefit to?
- One or more children
- Combination of spouse and child(ren)
- The dependent must be enrolled in DEERS at the time of transfer
How can your dependents use the benefit?
- May start to use it immediately.
- May be used while the servicemember is in or after separation
- Have a 15 year use window, from date of separation
*The benefactor will not receive the MHA while the servicemember is active duty.
- May start using the benefit after the servicemember finishes 10 years of service
- May use the benefit while the servicemember is in or after separation.
- May not use the benefit until they have (a) received a high school diploma (or equivalency certificate), or (b) reached the age of 18.
- They must use the benefit before they are age 26.
Like the Montgomery GI Bill, you have earned these benefits. The Post 9/11 Bill is much more comprehensive and designed to help you meet your academic mission or those of your dependents. But you do have a use window – 15 years from date of separation – and they do expire. With all of the educational choices out there, and the flexibility of different types of learning and the Post 9/11 GI Bill, now is the time to start using them.
One of the things we glanced over in this week’s post was the Yellow Ribbon Program. We’ll bring you up to speed on that next week.
In the meantime, if you want or need more information on the Post 9/11 GI Bill, here are some resources for you:
Post 9/11 GI Bill and Other Programs: http://gibill.va.gov/benefits/post_911_gibill/index.html
Benefit Comparison Tools: http://gibill.va.gov/resources/benefits_resources/benefit_comparison_chart.html
GI Bill Rate Tables: http://gibill.va.gov/resources/benefits_resources/rate_tables.html
Apply for Benefits: http://gibill.va.gov/apply-for-benefits/
Post 9/11 GI Bill: Transferability: http://gibill.va.gov/documents/factsheets/Transferability_Factsheet.pdf