Q: Is the GI Bill considered Financial Aid?
A: Not in the traditional sense. In most cases, the school's financial aid department does not consider the GI Bill financial aid.
This means that you are eligible for student loans, scholarships, and Pell Grants along with the GI Bill. But it is important to note that your GI Bill income can reduce the amount of student financial aid you are eligible to receive, also if you receive a scholarship your Post-9/11 GI Bill will not pay as much to the school, however your housing allowance will not be affected.
For help in locating scholarships, see the Scholarship Finder.
Q: How long do I have to use my benefits?
A: Once you have separated from the service you have 15 years to use your Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits and 10 years to use your Montgomery GI Bill benefits. Although separating from service "starts the clock" on your time limit, you should know that if you rejoin active-duty service for more than 90 days your eligibility clock is reset. In other words, you get 15 or 10 years from your last discharge.
Example: Seaman Smith left the active duty and joined the Navy Reserve. Three years later she returned to active duty with twelve years remaining on the Post-9/11 GI Bill clock. When she leaves the service again the 15 year period of eligibility begins again. She now has a fresh 15 years left to use ALL of her benefits or she will lose her remaining balance, which then returns to Uncle Sam.
Q: Can I stop and start using the GI Bill at will?
A: YES! Unfortunately, many people believe that once you apply for benefits you have to remain enrolled in school to get the full benefit. Thankfully that's not true, you can use the GI Bill for any period of time, take time off and re-apply to use it again at a later date.
Q: What does a "month" of benefits mean?
A: Example For Veterans:
Every time you attend one full month of classes as a full-time student you are charged one month of benefits. For example if you are attending classes as a half-time student you will have to attend two full months to be charged one month of benefits. Likewise, if you are attending classes from the 1st through the 15th of the month you will only be charged 1/2 month of entitlement.
It is important to remember that your monetary benefit will be proportionally affected by your attendance as well. If you are attending classes as a half-time student under the Post-9/11 GI Bill you will only receive 1/2 the normal Monthly Housing Allowance, if you are recieving the Montgomery GI Bill you will receive 1/2 of the maximum monthly benefit.
However for active duty: If you are on active duty and you go to school full-time for four months, but your tuition is only $1,000, you will still be charged for four months of your GI Bill 36 month entitlement.
Note: It only "pays" to use your GI Bill on active duty if your tuition costs are high or you use it as Top-up.
Q: How is Top-up charged against my GI Bill Benefit?
A: If you are receiving the Post-9/11 GI Bill your entitlement is charged based on the training time you are enrolled in. If you are going to classes at 1/2 time attendance you will be charged 1/2 month of GI Bill entitlement no matter how much money you recieve in GI Bill benefits.
If you are receiving the Montgomery GI Bill-Active Duty your entitlement is charged based on the amount of money you receive. For example, if the Montgomery GI Bill-Active Duty full time rate is $1,928 a month, you will be charged one month of entitlement for each $1,928 you recieve, if you are paid $964.00 you will be charged 1/2 month of entitlement, and so on.
Q: How often will I receive payments?
A: In most cases you will receive your benefits on a monthly basis. The Post-9/11 GI Bill will issue your Monthly Housing Allowance automatically, the Montgomery GI Bill will not be paid until you verify to the VA that you are actually attending school. This can be done online or by telephone. Within five days you will receive a direct deposit of your monthly benefits.
Your payments will be issued after the month is completed, for instance you will recieve your March payment in April.
Q: Will I have to pay taxes on my GI Bill benefits?
A: NO! Your GI Bill benefits are NOT taxable!
Q: What are the current "payment rates?"
A: The MGIB Payment rates increase every year. See the current GI Bill payment rate tables to view the details and this year's payment rate.
Q: Can I be eligible for more than one benefit?
A: You may be eligible for more than one VA education benefit. If you are, you must elect which benefit to receive. You can't receive payment for more than one benefit at a time.
The VA Education Benefits include:
- Post-9/11 GI Bill
- The Montgomery GI Bill-Active Duty(MGIB-AD)
- The Montgomery GI Bill- Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR)
- Vocational Rehabilitation and Education (VR&E)
- Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance (DEA)
- The Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship (Fry Scholarship)
- Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP)
- Veterans' Educational Assistance Program (VEAP)
Q: How do I get started?
A: You can apply for the GI Bill online at the VA's vets.gov website.