In 1944, the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944 (commonly referred to as the G.I. Bill), was designed and passed through Congress in the United States. Despite the original Bill expiring in 1956, new programs to assist U.S. military veterans have been created and referred to by the same name. This blog is not to dive into all of the benefits of the G.I. Bill, but rather to explain how the G.I. Bill can be used to offset the costs of higher education.
There are two primary iterations of the G.I. Bill that are in effect today: One is the Montgomery G.I. Bill (MGIB) and the other is the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill. By initial comparison, the two seem very similar in the realm of higher education. Both may be used for higher education expenses and both are the result of military service. However, there are three major differences that someone with each benefit needs to be aware of:
- Pay Structure
- Duration of Benefits
- Transferring Benefits
A major difference in the two bills is in the way that each one pays out for higher education.
MGIB: Assuming one has fully qualified for the benefit, the MGIB pays a monthly amount of money directly to the student in an amount determined by the type of education (for example, a full-time student would receive $2,050 per month effective 10/1/2019). With the MGIB, the full-time student is then required to pay tuition, fees, books, and other education-related expenses out of the amount that the MGIB pays.
Post 9/11: The Post-9/11 on the other hand (again assuming full eligibility) pays funds directly to the institution. The amount is, again, determined by the type of institution. If it is an in-state public school, then the Post-9/11 will pay all tuition and fees. If it is a private institution, then it will pay up to $24,476.79 per academic year to the institution. If eligible, the Post-9/11 will also provide a monthly stipend for housing and a semester stipend for books and supplies directly to the student.
Duration of Benefits/Pay Period
One way that the two bills are similar is the paying-benefit time period. Both bills provide for 36 months (months determined by factors such as credit hours enrolled) of higher education, however, the timing of which a veteran must use these benefits is different.
MGIB: In the case of the MGIB, the benefits generally must be used in full within 10 years of the date of discharge.
Post 9/11: By contrast, the Post-9/11’s duration of benefits is dependent upon the date of release from active duty. If that date was prior to 1/1/2013, then there is a 15-year time limit for use of all benefits. Those with a last discharge date after 1/1/2013 have no time limitation on the use of their benefits.
Transfer of Benefits
Finally, and potentially one of the most important differences between the two bills is their transferability.
MGIB: Unfortunately, for those veterans that have the MGIB, they CANNOT transfer their benefits to family members.
Post 9/11: The Post-9/11 however, can be transferred in part, or full, to family members. An important note: In order to transfer benefits, both the servicemember and the transferee must meet certain criteria. A few examples of such criteria are the transferrer must have at least six years of service and agree to serve four additional years. The transferee must also be enrolled in the Defense Eligibility Enrollment Reporting System (DEERS).
If used correctly and efficiently, both the MGIB and the Post-9/11 Bills can be huge benefits to any former service member seeking higher education. The implementation can get a bit confusing, so it’s best to consult and strategize with a professional prior to jumping in. If you would like to discuss these rules and possible strategies, The College Funding Coach is willing and ready to help!
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