Northwest Navigator: News and Information from Navy Region Northwest in Washington State's Puget Sound, including Bremerton, Kitsap County, Oak Harbor, and Everett

Post 9/11 GI Bill: Consider your options carefully

The Department of Veterans Affairs is now accepting and processing applications for the Post 9/11 GI Bill, but you may want to consider your options carefully, if you already qualify for education benefits under a different GI Bill.  You don’t have to convert, if you don’t want to.

Those of you considering converting to the Post 9/11 GI Bill should conduct thorough research before making any final decision.

Once you convert over from your current GI Bill entitlement, you can’t change your mind later, your decision becomes irrevocable. 

The Post 9/11 GI Bill is not one size fits all, so you may want to consider the following:

Do you want to transfer entitlement to your spouse or children, and are you eligible to transfer your entitlement?

Under the current policy, to be eligible to transfer entitlement to a spouse or children the member must be on active duty, or in the selective reserves, completed six years of service and have obligated for four more.

But, did you know that if you are currently obligated to the military for some other reason, that time may not be counted as part of the six years necessary for eligibility to transfer your Post 9/11 GI Bill entitlement to your spouse or children? Your military service branch determines if you are eligible to transfer entitlement.

Will the Post 9-11 GI Bill pay for the type of education or training desired? If so what type of education or training will you pursue (i.e. associates degree, bachelor’s degree, vocational training, etc.)

How much, of your training will be online/distance learning? Did you know that if you intend to only pursue on-line courses you are not eligible for the monthly stipend based on the BAH allowance at the E-5 with dependent rate?

Did you know that if you plan to use the Post 9/11 while on active duty, you are not eligible for the monthly stipend either, because you’re already drawing BAH?

What State will you be residing in while attending school? In some locations, the costs of college and housing which you would receive payment under the Post-9/11 GI Bill, are less than the payment you would receive under the Montgomery GI Bill. 

This is important to consider when determining residency requirements and tuition costs.

How much of your VA Education benefits are left for you to use?

In some states, veterans do not have to pay tuition at selected state colleges. The Post-9/11 GI Bill may then pay only the housing benefit and the book stipend. (Since you have no tuition costs, the Post-9/11 GI Bill will not pay the college any tuition.)

Your payments under other GI Bill programs such as the Montgomery GI Bill might be the better option in these cases.

The decision is ultimately yours regarding which entitlement is the best choice for you.

But don’t change your VA education entitlement, because you think its better. Know for a fact that it’s better by conducting your own thorough research.

Use the official Veterans Administration Web site at http://www.gibill.va.gov/ and read all of the frequently asked questions posted there. 

Also read all of the NAVADMINS that are promulgated on the subject. You earned this benefit by serving your country; and, it is a well-deserved benefit.

Take the time to research so that you can take advantage of every dollar you’re entitled to. Use every dollar for your education.

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