20 Top FAQs for the New GI Bill

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The Top 20 Post-9/11 GI Bill Frequently Asked Questions

  1. When does the Post 9/11 GI Bill go into effect and how do I apply?
  2. Is this new benefit retroactive to Sept. 11, 2001?
  3. Am I eligible?
  4. Does the length of time served after 9/11 effect my level of benefits?
  5. What are the major benefits of the this new program?
  6. Are there additional benefits?
  7. Is there a limit to the benefits if I go to school half-time?
  8. I am on active duty, is there a limit to my benefits?
  9. I was promised the College Fund when I joined, will I still get the extra benefit?
  10. Will I get the additional benefit I was promised under the $600 Buy-Up program ?
  11. Will my $1,200 enrollment fee be refunded ?
  12. Does the Post 9/11 GI Bill have an expiration date?
  13. Are there stipulations to my eligibility?
  14. The Montgomery GI Bill was limited to 36 Months of benefits, is there similar limit for the Post 9/11 GI Bill?
  15. What types of education programs are approved for the new Post 9/11 GI Bill?
  16. Will I be able to switch back and forth between the MGIB and Post 9/11 GI Bill?
  17. Can I transfer my benefit to family members?
  18. I am a member of the Selected Reserve, has the expiration on my MGIB-SR benefit been extended?
  19. What if the new Post 9/11 GI Bill isn't enough to cover my post-graduate studies?
  20. How do I apply for benefits under the new Post-9/11 GI Bill?



1. Question: When does this new benefit go into effect and how do I apply?

Answer: The Post-9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33) went into effect on August 1, 2009. You can download the VA Form 22-1990 and following the directions on the form.

Be sure to contact the VA at 1-888-GIBILL-1. There are several things to consider before submitting the form.

2. Question: Is this benefit retroactive?

Answer: No. The Post 9/11 GI Bill will only cover classes and programs completed after July 31, 2009.

3. Question: Am I eligible for this new benefit?

Answer: You are eligible if you served a minimum of 90 days on active duty after September 10, 2001. This covers active duty served as a member of the Armed Forces or as a result of a call or order to active duty from a reserve component (National Guard and Reserve) under certain sections of title 10.

The Department of Veterans Affairs is the only resource that can answer your personal and specific GI Bill entitlement questions. Call 1-888-GIBILL-1.

However, some periods of active duty service are excluded. Periods of service under the following do not count toward qualification for the Post 9/11 GI Bill:

  • Active Guard Reserve (AGR);
  • ROTC under 10 U.S.C. 2107(b);
  • Service academy contract period;
  • Service terminated due to defective enlistment agreement;
  • Service used for loan repayment; and
  • Selected reserve service used to establish eligibility under the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB chapter 30), MGIB for Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR Chapter 1606), or the Reserve Education Assistance Program (REAP chapter 1607).

Further Details From the VA:

At a minimum, you must have served at least 30 days of continuous active duty service after September 10, 2001 and be discharged due to a service-connected disability, or served an aggregate of 90 days of active duty service after September 10, 2001, and:

  • Be honorably discharged from Armed Forces; or
  • Be released from Armed Forces with service characterized as honorable and placed on the retired list, temporary disability retired list, or transferred to the Fleet Reserve or the Fleet Marine Corps Reserve; or
  • Be released from the Armed Forces with service characterized as honorable for further service in a reserve component; or
  • Be discharged or released from Armed Forces for:
    - EPTS (Existed Prior to Service)
    - HDSP (Hardship) or
    - Continue to be on active duty.

4. Question: Does the length of time served after 9/11 effect my level of benefits?

Answer: Yes, the amount of tuition and stipends paid under the Post 9/11 GI Bill will vary depending on your state of residence, number of units taken, and amount of post Sept. 11, 2001 active-duty service. Here is a quick reference showing the percentage of total combined benefit eligibility based on the following periods of post 9/11 service:

  • 100% - 36 or more total months
  • 100% - 30 or more consecutive days with Disability related Discharge.
  • 90% - 30 total months
  • 80% - 24 total months
  • 70% - 18 total months
  • 60% - 12 total months
  • 50% - six total months
  • 40% - 90 or more days

5. Question: What are the benefits of the this new educational assistance program?

Answer: The Post-9/11 GI Bill offers several education assistance benefits. The three major benefits include up to 100% paid tuition, a monthly housing stipend, and a stipend of up to $1,000 a year for books and supplies. If you attend less than full-time you will receive a portion of the payment based on the number of units of study. These payment rates are paid according to the length of your period of service as listed in the previous question.

Additional benefits are listed below.

Tuition and fee payments will be made to the school (of your choice) for all established charges. This payment is capped at the tuition and fees rate for the most expensive in-State undergraduate (Associates or Bachelors level courses) public college for the state of enrollment - this does not mean that you must attend a public school. The amount of established charges payable for the entire quarter, semester, or term will be sent directly to the school as a lump sum payment. Individuals will receive the applicable percentage of the lesser of:

  • Established charges; or
  • Highest amount of established charges regularly charged undergraduate in-State students for full-time pursuit at a college or university.

The monthly housing stipend will be paid based on the monthly basic allowance for housing (BAH) payable for a military member with dependents in pay grade E-5 residing in the same ZIP code for the school where the individual is enrolled.

Active duty members, individuals training at 1/2 time or less, and individuals taking 100% distance learning classes are not eligible for a housing stipend.

You may receive a stipend of up to $1000 a year for books, supplies, etc. The individual will receive a lump sum payment in the first month of each quarter, semester, or term. The amount of the stipend payable is an amount equal to the fraction of the whole academic year that the quarter, semester, or term represents.

NOTE: The amount of the monthly housing and book stipends will be paid based on the percentage of maximum benefit payable as noted in a previous question.

See examples of how this works below

EXAMPLE 1: Individuals attending Public Money University (PMU) in Florida are charged $2,500 for full-time training each quarter. The highest in-State undergraduate tuition in Florida is $5,000 per quarter and the monthly housing allowance for the zip code that PMU resides in is $1500.

Individuals who served at least 36 months on active duty (eligible for 100% of benefit) and who attend PMU full-time would receive:

  • $2,500 for tuition and fees (paid directly to PMU);
  • A monthly housing allowance of $1,500 per month (while pursuing training); and
  • $250 book stipend for each quarter that the individual is enrolled.

Individuals who served at least 24 months on active duty (eligible for 80% of benefit) and who attend PMU full-time would receive:

  • $2,000 for tuition and fees (paid directly to PMU);
  • A monthly housing allowance of $1,200 per month (while pursuing training); and
  • $200 book stipend for each quarter that the individual is enrolled.

EXAMPLE 2: Individuals attending Private Benefits University (PBU) in Texas are charged $5,000 for full-time training each quarter. The highest in-State undergraduate tuition in Texas is $4,000 per quarter and the monthly housing allowance for the zip code that PBU resides in is $1000.

Individuals who served at least 36 months on active duty (eligible for 100% of benefit) and who attend PBU full-time would receive:

  • $4,000 for tuition and fees (paid directly to PBU);
  • A monthly housing allowance of $1,000 per month (while pursuing training); and
  • $250 book stipend for each quarter that the individual is enrolled.

Individuals who served at least 24 months on active duty (eligible for 80% of benefit) and who attend PBU full-time would receive:

  • $3,200 for tuition and fees (paid directly to PBU);
  • A monthly housing allowance of $800 per month (while pursuing training); and
  • $200 book stipend for each quarter that the individual is enrolled.

6. Question: Are there additional benefits?

Answer: Yes, the additional benefits include the following, which are not charged against your 36 month entitlement:

  • Tutorial assistance may be paid up to $100 per month, not to exceed a total of $1200;
  • One licensing and certification test may be reimbursed, not to exceed the cost of the test up to a maximum of $2000; and
  • Work-study is authorized for individuals training at 3/4 time or higher.
  • A one-time payment of $500 for veterans using the Post 9/11 GI Bill to pursue a program of education if the claimant
    - Resides in a county with 6 persons or less per square mile (as determined by most recent decennial Census); and either
    - Physically relocates at least 500 miles; or
    - Travels by air to physically attend an IHL if no other land-based transportation exists.

7. Question: Is the a limit to the benefits if I go to school half-time?

Answer: Yes, there is a limitation on Educational Assistance for Training Pursued at Half-time or Less and for Active Duty Members. If you attend training at 1/2 time or less you are not eligible for the monthly housing stipend. You are eligible for an appropriately reduced stipend for books. The amount of educational assistance payable is the applicable percentage mentioned in an earlier question at a rate the lesser of:

  • Established charges; or
  • Highest amount of established charges regularly charged in-State undergraduate students for full-time pursuit at an in-State public college or university.

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8. Question: I am on active duty, is there a limit to my benefits?

Answer: Yes, active duty members are not eligible for the monthly housing stipend or for the book stipend. The amount of educational assistance payable is the lesser of the:

  • Established charges; or
  • The Top-up amount not covered by military tuition assistance.

9. Question: I was promised the College Fund when I joined, will I still get that extra benefit?

Answer: Yes, individuals eligible for a kicker (College Fund, Reserve Kicker) will remain eligible for such kicker under the Post 9/11 GI Bill. If eligible, you will be paid the kicker each month as an increase to your housing stipend, even on active duty. Although as an active duty service member, or a veterans training at 1/2 time or less, or you are pursuing distance learning, you will receive your monthly kicker payment.

10. Question: I elected to make additional contributions under the "Buy-Up" program, will I get the additional benefit?

Answer: No, you will not receive an increased amount for additional contributions ($600 buy-up) paid under chapters 30 or 1607 and you will not be refunded this amount under the Post 9/11 GI Bill.

11. Question: Will my $1,200 enrollment fee be refunded?

Answer: Yes, MGIB (chapter 30) contributions (excluding $600 buy-up) will be refunded at a proportional amount [based on the number of months remaining under MGIB at time of Post 9/11 GI Bill (chapter 33) election] of the basic $1200 contribution. This refund will be included in the last monthly stipend payment when chapter 33 entitlement exhausts. Individuals who do not exhaust entitlement under chapter 33 will not receive a refund of contributions paid under MGIB.

12. Question: Does the Post 9/11 GI Bill have an expiration date?

Answer: Yes, your eligibility to use the Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits expires 15 years from the date of the last discharge or release from active duty of at least 90 consecutive days.

13. Question: Are there stipulations to my eligibility?

Answer: Yes, in order to retain eligibility, after meeting the previously listed service requirements, you must:

  • Be honorably discharged from Armed Forces; or
  • Be released from Armed Forces with service characterized as honorable and placed on the retired list, temporary disability retired list, or transferred to the Fleet Reserve or the Fleet Marine Corps Reserve; or
  • Be released from Armed Forces with service characterized as honorable for further service in a reserve component; or
  • Be discharged or released from Armed Forces for:
    - A medical condition which existed prior to service (EPTS),
    - Hardship (HDSP), or
    - A condition which interfered with duty (CIWD); or
  • Continue on active duty.

14. Question: The Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) was limited to 36 Months of benefits, is there similar limit for the Post 9/11 GI Bill?

Answer: Yes, like the MGIB you are generally entitled to 36 months of educational assistance. You may not receive benefits under more than one VA education program at the same time. If you are entitled to more than one GI Bill program you may be eligible for a maximum of 48 months of entitlement when using benefits under two or more GI Bill programs.

Note: Individuals eligible under MGIB (Chapter 30) who elect to receive benefits under the Post 9/11 GI Bill are only entitled to the number of months they had remaining under MGIB (Chapter 30) (including any revoked months of transferred entitlement) up to a maximum of 36 months.

15. Question: What types of education programs are approved for the new Post 9/11 GI Bill?

Answer: The Post 9/11 GI Bill differs in some ways from the MGIB when it comes to the types of programs that can be used. Under the Post 9/11 GI Bill you may receive educational and training assistance for any program of education that is approved under MGIB (chapter 30) and offered by a college or university. This includes vocational training programs that are offered by accredited colleges and universities only.

However, if you were previously eligible for the MGIB, MGIB-SR (1606), or REAP (1607) you may continue to receive educational assistance for MGIB approved programs not offered by colleges and universities (i.e. flight, correspondence, APP/OJT, preparatory courses, and national tests). Even if you choose the new Post-9/11 GI Bill.

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16. Question: Will I be able to switch back and forth between the MGIB and Post 9/11 GI Bill?

Answer: No, in simple terms, you will no longer be eligible under the MGIB or other programs, after you elect to switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill (chapter 33). Any contributions being made under MGIB (Chapter 30) will cease the month following the election.

NOTE: If you are eligible under the MGIB, MGIB-SR, or REAP and you elect to participate in the Post 9/11 GI Bill, you may use benefits under the MGIB, MGIB-SR, or REAP, if the type of educational assistance [flight, correspondence, APP/OJT, preparatory courses, and national tests] you wish to pursue is not available under chapter 33.

17. Question: Can I transfer my GI Bill benefit to family members?

Answer: Yes, but the details for doing so have not been completely clarified yet.

Transferring Post-9/11 GI Bill Benefits: The Department of Defense (DoD) is authorized to allow individuals who, on or after August 1, 2009, have served at least 6 years in the Armed Forces and who agree to serve at least another 4 years in the Armed Forces to transfer unused entitlement to their dependents (spouse, children). The Department of Defense may, by regulation, impose additional eligibility requirements and limit the number of months transferable to not less than 18 months.

Transfer of Unused Education Benefits Under MGIB (Chapter 30), 1606, or 1607 to Family Members. The Department of Defense is authorized to allow individuals who have served at least 6 years in the Armed Forces and who agree to serve at least another 4 years in the Armed Forces to transfer unused entitlement to their dependents (spouse, children) under chapters 30, 1606, and 1607.

The Department of Defense may, by regulation, impose additional eligibility requirements and limit the number of months transferable to not less than 18 months.

NOTE: DoD must develop regulations and provide VA with eligibility information before the VA can make payments under this provision. The ability to transfer benefits is limited to those currently serving in the military with some limited provisions for those retiring over the next few years.

18. Question: I am a member of the Selected Reserve, has the expiration on my MGIB-SR benefit been extended?

Answer: Yes, effective as of June 30, 2008, the 14-year period of eligibility for members of the Selected Reserve has been rescinded. If you are a member of the Selected Reserve with remaining entitlement under MGIB-SR (chapter 1606), you will remain eligible until the date you separate from the Selected Reserve.

If you had remaining MGIB-SR entitlement and reached a delimiting date, you may receive benefits for training pursued on or after June 30, 2008. However you may not receive benefits for training pursued between their original delimiting date and June 30, 2008 - in other words no retroactive payments will be made.

NOTE: According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, the procedures regarding the implementation of this provision will be provided at a later date.

19. Question: What if the new Post 9/11 GI Bill isn't enough to cover my online post-graduate studies?

Answer: Under the new Post 9/11 GI Bill, you will have two options. First is to decline the Post 9/11 benefits and continue to use the MGIB. This is one reason why the new law included a 20 percent increase in the current MGIB (chapter 30) benefits.

The other option is called the " Yellow Ribbon Program." Under the Yellow Ribbon Program, colleges and universities may voluntarily enter into an agreement with the Department of Veterans Affairs to fund up to 50 percent of the established charges not already covered under chapter 33. VA will match each additional dollar funded by the school. Only individuals entitled to the 100 percent benefit rate (based on service requirements) may receive this funding.

Many veterans may face a difficult choice next year. You will need to carefully weigh your options. You may find that declining the Post 9/11 GI Bill and sticking to the MGIB will best serve your needs. Ultimately the choice is up to you, take your time and be sure to consider all the facts before making your decision. Remember, you have a year, and a lot can change between now and August 1, 2009.

20. Question: How do I apply for benefits under the new Post-9/11 GI Bill?

Answer: Visit the VA GI Bill website and apply by clicking on the "Apply for GI Bill Benefits" button located near the top of the page.

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