After World War II, the United States Government began offering benefits to Veterans leaving the military to give them the opportunity to attend college.
The GI Bill can pay for job training, college, or graduate school for qualifying Veterans for 36 months of classes.
How long do I have to use my GI Bill?
You may qualify for the GI Bill under one of two categories. Either the Montgomery Bill or Post-9/11.
Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits are eligible for 15 years after you leave active-duty service, after September 10, 2001.
Montgomery GI Bill gives you ten years after you complete service.
As long as you fit within the 10 or 15-year mandatory time limit, you can leave school and come back as many times as you would like.
If you re-join the military into active-duty service, more than 90 days before your benefits expire, you are eligible for your GI Bill to essentially “renew.” Just remember it is 15 years after the last time you leave service.
How much do I get from the GI Bill?
Your GI Bill is eligible for you to use for 36 months of schooling. It is not based on the amount of money used; it goes off of how many months you are in school. So if your school is only $2,000 a month, you will still be using the same amount of your Bill as if you went to a university where tuition was $7,000 a month.
Since it can only be used for 36 months, make sure to decide on a major early! This way you are not wasting credits on classes you don’t need.
Take extra classes if you can handle the course load. 12 hours is considered full-time for most colleges, but take more courses if you can!
Your GI Bill will qualify for online classes! You must take one course on campus, but the rest can be online. This could be a good alternative if you have a family or a busy work schedule.
Post 9/11 also gives Veterans $1,000 for books a year. Try to plan ahead for which books you will need each semester for the best use of your stipend. Look into used books stores and websites such as Amazon Textbooks and Chegg. Both will give you options to rent your books and have both new and used options.
The GI Bill is not Financial Aid, so you can still apply for Financial Aid. If you do qualify, this is free money in your pocket. This being said, you will probably receive less financial aid since you do qualify for the GI Bill.
With what is left over, you have the option to put some of it towards graduate school, go to trade school, or give it to a child or spouse.
If you qualify for more than one education benefit, you have to choose which one you want to use. Once you make your choice, you can not go back.
Ready to apply?
Before you apply, make sure you have these things available.
- Social Security number
- Bank account direct deposit information
- Education and military history
- Basic information about the school or training facility you want to attend or are attending now
Ready to apply for your GI Bill? You can fill out the application here.
Are you trying to figure out how much the VA will pay for in schooling? The VA has a comparison tool you can reach here.
Information gathered from VA.gov