How Does the GI Bill Work?
The GI Bill is a registered trademark of the Department of Veteran Affairs of the United States Government. There are two GI Bills at this time: (1) The Post-9/11 GI Bill and (2) the Montgomery GI Bill. In addition to the GI Bill, there are other US government programs to help veterans pay for college, such as the (1) Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP) and (2) the Post Vietnam Era Veterans’ Educational Assistance Program (VEAP).
Eligibility for the above listed benefits is not mutually exclusive, so it is a good idea to investigate all four in advance in order to decide which benefits package best suits your needs.
Once you’ve chosen the benefits package that is best for you, stick with it and apply for the veteran benefits that will best help you pay for college or training.
What is the Difference between the Post-9/11 and the Montgomery GI Bill?
Both the Post-9/11 and Montgomery GI Bills can be used to help you pay for college, university, training, apprenticeships, non-college degree programs, and graduate school. Applicants may also be eligible for a housing allowance and book allowance. Examples of approved training programs include the following:
1- Community Colleges, Four-Year Colleges and Universities, including Associate, Bachelor, and Graduate degrees
Payment is based on the number of hours of class you attend. 12 hours or more of class time per week of undergraduate study is considered full-time. As for graduate students, the Graduate Program itself should provide documentation to explain what is considered full-time status.
2- Non-College Degrees, and Vocational Training including the following:
- Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Certification
- Truck Driving (Commercial Driver’s License: CDL Training)
- Emergency Medication Training (EMT) Certification
- Barber/Beauty School
3- Flight Schools
- Post-9/11 GI Bill: not to exceed $10,970.46 per academic year.
- Montgomery GI Bill: pays 60 percent of the approved charges.
4- Correspondence Schools
- Post -9/11 GI Bill: not to exceed $9,324.89 per academic year.
- Montgomery GI Bill: pays 55 percent of the approved charges.
5- On-the-Job Training and Apprenticeships
Eligible programs for training include: firefighters, union plumbers, and hotel managers, for example.
- Post-9/11: covers 100 percent of the cost of eligible programs for the first six months. Then it drops off by 20 percent per six-month period.
- Montgomery: monthly rates decrease in six-month increments for the first 18 months and offer $559.30 per month after 18 months until the remainder of the program.
The Post-9/11 GI Bill
The Post-9/11 GI Bill is good for up to 36 months of benefits, payable for up to 15 years after release from active duty. Pays for full tuition and fees for public in-state students. Private schools and foreign schools have a cap. Those studying in Arizona, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, or Texas may receive a higher reimbursement rate to help them pay for out-of-state tuition or for private college.
The Montgomery GI Bill
Active Duty: good for up to 36 months of benefits, payable for up to 10 years following release from active duty. It may also be used for remedial and refresher courses under some circumstances. The amount of the payout varies and can be confirmed at the GI Bill website. Reserve Duty: must have a six-year obligation in the Selected Reserve. Officers require an additional six years in addition to the original commitment. Participants should complete their training or college degree while still committed to serving the Armed Forces or Coast Guard as reservists.
For more details about the GI Bill or to apply for the GI Bill, consult the GI Bill website. It is important to make sure you check whether the institution where you choose to take training is on the GI Bill eligibility list.