Post 9/11 GI Bill Overview

The Post 9/11 GI Bill, also known as the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008 made changes to the previous version of the GI Bill, which provided educational benefits to active duty military members and veterans. Through the original GI Bill, military members could receive up to 36 months of college tuition and one year of unemployment for up to ten years after being discharged from the military. While some changes and additions had been made to the original GI Bill since its adoption in 1944, the Post 9/11 GI Bill introduced significant changes and new programs to the GI Bill.

Eligibility

Veterans who served at least three consecutive years in the military after September 11, 2011 are the main focus of the Post 9/11 GI Bill. While the former GI Bill offered different benefits for active duty members than members of the National Guard or Reserves, the Post 9/11 GI Bill makes it possible for all members of the military to receive the same benefits.

College Expenses

Under the Post 9/11 GI Bill, military members and veterans can receive 100% of tuition for a four-year degree. Those enrolled as full-time students are also eligible to receive a housing allowance between $1,000 and $2,000 a month to help cover additional expenses while in school. An annual book stipend of up to $1,000 is also given to military members.

Other Programs

For military members who choose not to seek a four-year degree, the Post 9/11 GI Bill also covers the cost of training or apprenticeship programs and reimbursement for licensing or certification exams. Other programs covered under the bill include flight training, correspondence training and tutorial assistance.

Limits

Military members must take advantage of the Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits within 15 years of being discharged from the military. The exact number of months and amount of tuition covered by the GI Bill varies based on individual amounts of service, but cannot exceed $17,500 annually. So if a military member chooses a more expensive school, he must apply for another program to fund the difference or look for alternate ways to pay for the difference in tuition himself. In addition to the caps on tuition reimbursement, the housing allowance is only paid while a military member is enrolled in college full-time. If classes are not taken during the summer, then the housing allowance is not received.

Transferring Benefits

Military members who choose not to use their Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits or only use a portion of the benefits have the option of transferring them to a spouse or other dependent.  Members with at least six years of military service before electing to transfer the benefits are eligible for this program. Once the benefits have been transferred, the military member must agree to an additional four years of service. Benefits may be given to one family member or split between multiple family members. All benefits may be used immediately or up to 15 years after the military member is discharged.


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