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Many veterans who served after Sept.11, 2001, are eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill.
In this podcast, we walk you through Post-9/11 qualification and explain what it covers, including how to determine the maximum tuition rates and your basic allowance for housing (BAH).
We also discuss how to use the Post-9/11 GI Bill. All you need to do is qualify for the benefit and be accepted to your school. Your school will do virtually everything else!
Our guest for this podcast is Anthony Tran, a U.S. Air Force veteran who successfully used the Post-9/11 GI Bill to complete three master’s degree programs. Anthony used the Post-9/11 GI Bill to make himself more marketable in the workforce by switching from the automotive industry to the aerospace industry. Today, he is a successful entrepreneur who runs the website and podcast Marketing Access Pass, where he provides internet marketing training and services to help other entrepreneurs successfully launch their own businesses.
How the Post-9/11 GI Bill Was Created
The Post-9/11 GI Bill is an improvement over previous versions of the GI Bill, which hadn’t kept pace with the rate of college tuition increases. Its creation helped veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq transition into the civilian sector without taking on student debt.
Why the Post-9/11 GI Bill Is Better than the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB)
The Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty provides tuition assistance to veterans and service members who buy into the program. Full-time students receive a flat rate of $2,150 per month, effective Oct. 1, 2021 (see current MGIB rates), which they must use to pay their tuition.
Benefits with the Montgomery GI Bill – Selected Reserve are lower. A full-time student receives $407 per month (effective Oct. 1, 2021).
The Post-9/11 GI Bill, on the other hand, is free to veterans who qualify. It covers up to the most expensive in-state tuition rate in the state where your school is located. The Department of Veterans Affairs pays the tuition directly to the school. Veterans also receive an annual book stipend and a monthly housing allowance equivalent to the “E-5 with dependents” basic allowance for housing rate.
The VA website lists maximum tuition and fee benefits for the Post-9/11 GI Bill.
To find BAH rates, use the “E-5 with Dependents” rate for the ZIP code of the school location. Here is a BAH calculator.
Most veterans will receive higher benefits through the Post-9/11 GI Bill is better than the MGIB. Our GI Bill Guide explains the details.
Using the Post-9/11 GI Bill
Using the Post-9/11 GI Bill is very easy. You need to qualify for the program, obtain a letter of verification from the VA and get accepted to your school. After that, the educational institution will take care of all the paperwork.
Qualifying for the Post-9/11 GI Bill:
Veterans must serve at least 90 days after Sept. 10, 2001, to qualify for the Post-9/11 GI Bill, according to the VA. They must serve 36 months to qualify for the full benefit unless they received a Purple Heart or are discharged due to service-connected disabilities.
Here is the tiered eligibility percentage, according to the VA:
|Length of Service||Percentage of Maximum Payable Benefits|
|At least 36 months||100%|
|At least 30 continuous days on active duty and|
honorably discharged due to a service-connected disability
|Received a Purple Heart after Sept. 10, 2001||100%|
|At least 30 months, but fewer than 36 months||90%|
|At least 24 months, but fewer than 30 months||80%|
|At least 18 months, but fewer than 24 months||70%|
|At least 6 months, but fewer than 18 months||60%|
|At least 90 days, but fewer than 6 months||50%|
Members of the National Guard and reserves qualify for the Post-9/11 GI Bill if they served “at least 90 aggregated days of active service after September 10, 2001,” according to the VA. Active service includes Title 10 (active duty) or Title 32 (National Guard duty), as well as time when a reservist is ordered to active duty for medical care or evaluation.
Eligibility Verification Process
The VA needs to verify your service dates and your discharge rating to determine if you are eligible to receive Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits. Apply online through the VA site, or call the VA at 888-442-4551 to request a paper application to submit by mail or in person. Approval takes an average of 30 days, according to the VA. Once the VA approves your application, you’ll receive a Certificate of Eligibility in the mail.
Give this to the VA certifying official at your school, and the school will take care of all the admin work. You don’t have to worry about the tuition.
You should start receiving MHA the next month. You will need to verify your enrollment with the VA at the end of each month, which you can do by text or email.
How to Use the Post-9/11 GI Bill to Improve Your Career Opportunities
In the podcast, Tran discussed how he used the Post-9/11 GI Bill to move from the automotive industry into the aerospace industry. While there were some similarities between the two industries, he needed to make his resume more attractive when changing industries. Obtaining another master’s degree helped pave the way to a successful career change.
You can do the same thing. Education by itself isn’t a magic bullet that will get you hired immediately, but it does help make your total package more attractive.
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I have a problem. When I came into active duty, I got student loan repayment on my contract, so I am only eligible for 60% of the post 9/11 GI Bill. The problem is, I didn’t have any student loans at the time, so I never even needed the loan repayment. My recruiter told me I could use the loan repayment program for some small personal loan I had taken out at that time, which it turns out was false. The loan went into default a while ago, since I didn’t use the loan repayment option, but I am still getting only 60% of my post 9/11 GI Bill even though I served over 36 months of active duty. I have called the VA to try to resolve this but I keep getting the run around. It wouldn’t be a big deal if I was getting a not so difficult major that would allow me to work at least part time, but I am planning on getting an engineering degree and we are discouraged from working while pursing it due to the heavy course load. I have a family to support and I’d really hate to give up my dream of becoming an engineer. Is there any way this can be fixed so I can get the full 100% I earned?
Ryan Guina says
Tiffany, Thank you for contacting me. Unfortunately, I don’t know if this is possible. The contract is just that – a contract. I’m not sure if there is a way to change anything at this point. The VA is your best contact for this situation. I hope you are able to get this changed, but I don’t have any ideas beyond what you are already doing.
Hi there! This is probably the most recent [dated] article I’ve found on post 9/11 so I wanted to ask you the question to make sure I’m getting this right. Say I served between 18 and 24 months so my eligibility is 70%. Is that 70% of the maximum in-state tuition?
Ie; maximum in-state tuition is $10,000 but the school I’d like to attend is only $7000. Does the GI bill cover all of it, or does it only cover the 70% of the actual cost of the school?
I know BAH is more simple- BAH rate is say, $1000 so I’d get $700.
The same for the book stipend- given the right amount of credits taken and the full rate is achieved of $1000/year I’d be entitled to $700 of that. Correct?
Thanks so much in advance for clearing this up. I’ve seen conflicting information on different sites.
Ryan Guina says
Karen, Thank you for contacting me. My understanding is that you would receive 70% of the tuition, up to the $10,000 max. So if the tuition is $10,000, you could receive a max of $7,000. If the tuition was $20,000, you would still only receive $7,000. On the same note, if your tuition is only $7,000, then you would receive 70% of that, or $4,900. I hope this helps. Best of luck, and thanks for your service!
Can I transfer from ARMY active to reserve after 20months of active duty and use my post 911 GI bill (70%) with a DD368?
Ryan Guina says
Sebastian, you should receive a DD Form 214 when you leave active duty, even if you are transferring to the Guard or Reserves. You should then be able to use the DD Form 214 to use your GI Bill benefits. But to be safe, you should verify the necessary forms with the VA. Just call their general help line and you can get directed to the GI Bill department. Best of luck, and thanks for your service!