The Post 9/11 GI Bill went into effect on August 1, 2009. However, as with any new legislation, it could take some time for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to begin paying benefits. No payments can be made under this program for training or education pursued before the effective date.
Eligibility for the GI Bill
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 90 consecutive 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 (medical condition Existing Prior to Service,) HDSP (Hardship), CIWD (Condition Interfered with Duty) or
- Continue to be on active duty.
To be eligible for the full benefit, you must have three years of active duty service after 9/11 or have been discharged due to a service-connected disability.
If you are an officer who graduated from a service academy or received ROTC scholarships, you also qualify for the new GI Bill benefits. However, your ROTC/Service Academy associated obligated active-duty service time does not count toward the three years necessary to qualify for the full benefits.
Note: You don’t have to pay into the Post 9/11 GI Bill to be eligible.
The Post 9/11 GI Bill will provide up to 100 percent of your tuition. In addition, the program provides a monthly housing stipend (BAH for E-5 with dependents), 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 enrolled. The amount of tuition and stipends paid will vary depending on your state of residence, number of units taken, and amount of post September 11, 2001 active duty service. Individuals must serve a continuous period of active duty after September 10, 2001 of:
|Active Duty Member Serves||Percentage of Maximum Benefit Payable|
|At least 36 months||100 percent|
|At least 30 continuous days on active duty and discharged due to service-connected disability||100 percent|
|At least 30 months, but less than 36 months||90 percent|
|At least 24 months, but less than 30 months||80 percent|
|At least 18 months, but less than 24 months||70 percent|
|At least 12 months, but less than 18 months||60 percent|
|At least 6 months, but less than 12 months||50 percent|
|At least 90 days, but less than 6 months||40 percent|
|Reserves/National Guard Member Serves||Percentage of Maximum Benefit Payable|
|36 cumulative months||100 percent|
|At least 30 continuous days on active-duty and discharged due to service-connected disability||100 percent|
|30 cumulative months||90 percent|
|24 cumulative months||80 percent|
|18 cumulative months||70 percent|
|12 cumulative months||60 percent|
|6 cumulative months||50 percent|
|90 continuous days||40 percent|
Note: Reservist/National Guardsmen. Generally, only federal activations count toward total active duty service, training and state call ups do not qualify. Active duty service will be counted cumulatively and not based on the single longest deployment. Also Reserve and National Guard members with 3 years of active duty service after September 10, 2001 qualify for full GI Bill benefits.
You will be provided tuition up to the highest established charges for full-time undergraduate students charged by the public institution of higher education in the State in which you are enrolled. One of the added features of this tuition payment plan is that the tuition will be paid directly to the school.
Monthly Housing Stipend
If you are enrolled in a traditional college program as a half-time to a full-time student, you will be paid a monthly housing stipend equal to the monthly Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) for an E-5 with dependents. However, if you attend distance learning programs such as correspondence courses and online you will not qualify for this stipend.
Note: Housing allowance is not payable for those on active-duty or those pursuing training at less than half-time or those taking distance learning.
Book and Supply Stipend
You will receive a lump-sum payment the first month of each quarter, semester, or term. The payment will help cover the cost of books, supplies, equipment, and other educational fees for that academic term. The payment amount will be equal to either a quarter or half of the annual $1,000 cap for that academic year, depending on how the academic year is divided – quarter or semester terms.
Note: Book/Supply stipend is not payable to individuals on active duty.
The new GI Bill will allow you to use this benefit for up to 15 years after your last discharge or separation from active duty.
Licensing and Certification Payments
This Post 9/11 GI Bill will provide up to $2,000 to cover the cost of one licensing or certification test. This benefit is not charged against your 36 month entitlement.
The new GI Bill will provide up to a maximum of $1,200 for tutorial assistance. The program will pay up to $100 per month, for a maximum of 12 months. This benefit is not charged against your 36-month entitlement.
According to the Stars and Stripes, service members who have served at least 10 years on active duty will be able to transfer their benefit to a spouse or dependent child. A spouse of a service member who have served at least six years and agrees to another four-year contract can receive the money even sooner.
The transferred benefit will cover the cost of tuition only.
Benefits may be divided as long as they don’t exceed 36 months of college classes. For example, a retired soldier can use half of the benefits to pay for a two-year degree program, and then transfer the remaining half to a spouse or child.
College-age children of long-serving service members could get a free college education starting fall 2009, provided they attend a state-backed school.
Note: Transferability is limited to those currently serving in the military and will likely be used as a retention tool.
Comparing the Old and New GI Bill’s
The following table highlights the differences between the Montgomery GI Bill and the New GI Bill.
|Montgomery GI Bill – Chapter 30||Post 9/11 GI Bill – Chapter 33|
|Payment rate for full-time student||Annually set – nationwide – monthly payment rate. Set to increase to $1,321 for 2008 – 2009. Paid to student each month.||A payment indexed to full in-state tuition for public schools. A lump sum paid directly to the school each term. The national average for in-state tuition in 2008 is $6,185.|
|Duration of program||36-month entitlement.||36-month entitlement.|
|Additional expense payments||No additional payments for expenses.||Living expenses – stipend based on local BAH for E-5 with dependents – paid monthly. Books and fees – up to $1,000 a year.|
|Eligibility requirements||Those who entered service after June 30, 1985.||Active-duty service since September 11, 2001.|
|VEAP-era eligibility||No – except those who elected to convert in the past.||Yes – those who meet the eligibility criteria above.|
|Benefit expiration||10 years after separation or discharge.||15 years from your last period of active duty of at least 90 consecutive days.|
|Transfer benefits to families||Limited – Currently limited to Army for critical MOS only.||Yes – but this is limited to those in the military. The details are still being worked out.|
|Enrollment fee||Yes – $1,200||None|
Effects on Existing GI Bill Benefits
If you are already enrolled in the Montgomery GI Bill and also meet the criteria for the Post 9/11 GI Bill, you have the option to transfer your remaining MGIB benefits to the new program.
For many veterans, this will be a good option. However, due to the tuition limits set by this new GI Bill, many veterans who are pursuing a post-graduate degree may find the MGIB better suits their needs. This is also true for those students pursuing an online degree, as this new benefit will not pay the housing stipend to students enrolled in distance learning programs.