Post-9/11 GI Bill Frequently Asked Questions

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The Top 15 Post-9/11 GI Bill Frequently Asked Questions

1. Question: When did this new benefit go into effect and how do I apply?

Answer: The Post-9/11 GI Bill went into effect on Aug. 1, 2009. You can apply online using the VA.GOV website.

If you have any questions contact the VA at 888-GIBILL-1. There are several things to consider before submitting the form.

2. Question: Is this benefit retroactive?

Answer: No. You can only receive benefits for classes taken 12 months prior to your application..

3. Question: Who is eligible?

Answer: You are eligible if you served a minimum of 90 days on active duty after September 10, 2001. This covers active duty served as a member of the Armed Forces or as a result of a call or order to active duty from a reserve component (National Guard and Reserve) under certain sections of title 10 (federal orders).

4. Question: Does the length of time served after 9/11 affect my level of benefits?

Answer: Yes, the amount of tuition and stipends paid under the Post 9/11 GI Bill will vary depending on the type of school you attend, how many classes you are enrolled in, and amount of post Sept. 11, 2001 active-duty service. Here is a quick reference showing the percentage of total combined benefit eligibility based on the following periods of post 9/11 service:

  • 100% - 36 or more total months
  • 100% - 30 or more consecutive days with Disability related Discharge.
  • 90% - 30 total months
  • 80% - 24 total months
  • 70% - 18 total months
  • 60% - 12 total months
  • 50% - six total months
  • 40% - 90 or more days

5. Question: What are the benefits of the the Post-9/11 GI Bill?

Answer: The Post-9/11 GI Bill offers several education assistance benefits. The three major benefits include:

  • up to 100% paid tuition,
  • a monthly housing stipend,
  • 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 of study. These payment rates are paid according to the length of your period of service as listed in the previous question. Tuition and fee payments will be made to your school for all authorized charges. The Post-9/11 GI Bill can pay your full resident tuition at a public school. If you are attending a private or foreign school it will pay up to $25,162.14 each year.

The monthly housing stipend will be paid based on the monthly basic allowance for housing (BAH) payable for a military member with dependents in pay grade E-5 residing in the same ZIP code for the school where you are attending the majority of your classes.

The housing allowance is paid at a percentage based on your active duty service, as listed above.

MHA Rate Exceptions

Type of School MHA Rate
Foreign School $1,789.00 
Schools in US Territories E-5 with dependents OHA Rate for school location
Exclusively Online Training (No Classroom Instruction) $894.50
Attending classes at ½ time or less NOT PAYABLE
Active Duty Trainee (or transferee spouse of servicemember) NOT PAYABLE

You may receive a stipend of up to $1,000 a year for books, supplies, etc. You will receive a lump sum payment in the first month of each term. The amount of the stipend payable is an amount equal to the fraction of the whole academic year that the term represents.

NOTE: The amount of the monthly housing and book stipends will be paid based on the percentage of maximum benefit payable as noted in a previous question.

Let's use a couple of examples to help explain:

EXAMPLE 1: Florida residents attending Public Money University (PMU) in Florida are charged $2,500 for full-time training each quarter. The monthly housing allowance for the ZIP code at PMU is $1,500.

Individuals who served at least 36 months on active duty (eligible for 100% of benefit) and who attend PMU full-time would receive:

  • $2,500 for tuition and fees (paid directly to PMU);
  • A monthly housing allowance of $1,500 per month (while pursuing training); and
  • $250 book stipend for each quarter that the individual is enrolled.

Individuals who served at least 24 months on active duty (eligible for 80% of benefit) and who attend PMU full-time would receive:

  • $2,000 for tuition and fees (paid directly to PMU);
  • A monthly housing allowance of $1,200 per month while enrolled; and
  • $200 book stipend for each quarter that the individual is enrolled.

EXAMPLE 2: Individuals attending Private Benefits University (PBU) in Texas (a private school) are charged $27,000 for full-time training each semester. PBU is a private school, the monthly housing allowance for the ZIP code at PBU is $1,000, and the annual maximum amount the Post-9/11 GI Bill can pay for a private school is $25,162.14.

Individuals who served at least 36 months on active duty (eligible for 100% of benefit) and who attend PBU full-time would receive:

  • $25,162.14 for tuition and fees (paid directly to PBU);
  • A monthly housing allowance of $1,000 per month (while pursuing training); and
  • $250 book stipend for each quarter that the individual is enrolled.

Individuals who served at least 24 months on active duty (eligible for 80% of benefit) and who attend PBU full-time would receive:

  • $20,179.21 for tuition and fees (paid directly to PBU);
  • A monthly housing allowance of $800 per month while enrolled; and
  • $200 book stipend for each quarter that the individual is enrolled.

For more details see our Post-9/11 GI Bill Overview page.

6. Question: Are there additional benefits?

Answer: Yes, the additional benefits include the following, which are not charged against your 36 month entitlement:

  • Tutorial assistance may be paid up to $100 per month, not to exceed a total of $1,200;
  • Work-study is authorized for individuals training at 3/4 time or higher.
  • A one-time payment of $500 for veterans using the Post 9/11 GI Bill to pursue a program of education if the claimant - Lives in a county with 6 persons or less per square mile (as determined by most recent decennial Census); and either - Physically relocates at least 500 miles; or - Travels by air to physically attend an IHL if no other land-based transportation exists.

7. Question: Is the a limit to the benefits if I go to school half-time?

Answer: Yes, there is a limitation on benefits if you are enrolled at half-time or less. If you enrolled as a 1/2 time or less student, you are not eligible for the monthly housing stipend. You are eligible for an appropriately reduced stipend for books. The amount of educational assistance payable is the applicable percentage mentioned in an earlier question above.

8. Question: I am on active duty, is there a limit to my benefits?

Answer: Yes, active duty members are not eligible for the monthly housing stipend. The amount of educational assistance payable is the lesser of the:

  • Authorized charges, as computed above; or 
  • The Top-up amount not covered by military tuition assistance.

9. Question: I was promised the College Fund when I joined, will I still get that extra benefit?

Answer: Yes, individuals eligible for a kicker (College Fund, Reserve Kicker) will remain eligible for such kicker under the Post 9/11 GI Bill. If eligible, you will be paid the kicker each month as an increase to your housing stipend, even on active duty. Although as an active duty service member, or a veterans training at 1/2 time or less, or you are pursuing distance learning, you will receive your monthly kicker payment.

10. Question: I elected to make additional contributions under the "Buy-Up" program, will I get the additional benefit?

Answer: No, you will not receive an increased amount for additional contributions ($600 buy-up) paid under the Montgomery GI Bill and you will not be refunded this amount under the Post 9/11 GI Bill.

11. Question: Will my $1,200 enrollment fee be refunded?

Answer: Yes, Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) contributions (excluding $600 buy-up) will be refunded at a proportional amount [based on the number of months remaining under MGIB at time of Post 9/11 GI Bill election] of the basic $1,200 contribution. This refund will be included in the last monthly stipend payment when Post-9/11 GI Bill entitlement runs out. Individuals who do not exhaust entitlement under the Post-9/11 GI Bill will not receive a refund of contributions paid under MGIB.

12. Question: Does the Post 9/11 GI Bill have an expiration date?

Answer: It depends. If you first entered active duty before Jan. 1, 2013, your eligibility to use the Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits expires 15 years from the date of the last discharge or release from active duty of at least 90 consecutive days. If you first entered active duty on or after Jan. 1, 2013 there is no ending date for your eligibility.

13. Question: What types of education programs are approved for the Post 9/11 GI Bill?

Answer: All education programs previously available under the Montgomery GI Bill are approved under the Post-9/11 GI Bill with the exception of accelerated training..

14. Question: Can I transfer my GI Bill benefit to family members?

Answer: Yes.

The Department of Defense (DoD) is authorized to allow individuals who, on or after Aug. 1, 2009, have served at least 6 years in the Armed Forces and who agree to serve at least another 4 years in the Armed Forces to transfer unused entitlement to their dependents. The DoD may impose additional eligibility requirements. 

See our Transferability Fact Sheet for more information.

15. Question: What if the new Post 9/11 GI Bill isn't enough to cover my costs at a private school?

Answer: Institutions of Higher Learning may elect to participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program to make additional funds available for your education program without an additional charge to your GI Bill entitlement. These institutions voluntarily enter into a Yellow Ribbon Agreement with VA and choose the amount of tuition and fees that will be contributed. VA matches that amount and issues payments directly to the institution.

Only veterans entitled to the maximum benefit rate, or their designated transferees are eligible for the Yellow Ribbon Program. Active duty Servicemembers and their spouses are not eligible for this program. 

To receive benefits under the Yellow Ribbon Program:

  • You must be eligible for the maximum benefit rate under the Post-9/11 GI Bill
  • You must not be on active duty or a spouse using transferred entitlement
  • Your school must agree to participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program
  • Your school must have not offered Yellow Ribbon to more than the maximum number of individuals, as stated in their participation agreement
  • Your school must certify your enrollment to VA and provide Yellow Ribbon Program information

You may be eligible if you fit the following circumstances:

  • You served an aggregate period of 36 months in active duty after Sept. 10, 2001
  • You were honorably discharged from active duty for a service-connected disability and you served 30 continuous days after Sept. 10, 2001.
  • You are a dependent eligible for Transfer of Entitlement under the Post-9/11 GI Bill based on the service eligibility criteria listed above.

Learn more about the Yellow Ribbon Program.

Keep Up With Your Education Benefits 

Whether you need a guide on how to use your GI Bill, want to take advantage of tuition assistance and scholarships, or get the lowdown on education benefits available for your family, Military.com can help. Subscribe to Military.com to have education tips and benefits updates delivered directly to your inbox.

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