During World War II, Veterans benefited from home loan guarantee, education and training, and other benefits due to the enactment of the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act. After revamping the act multiple times to help veterans, the Post 9/11 GI Bill, as we now know it, was signed by President George W. Bush in 2008. The Bill became effective the following year.
Parts of the GI Bill were updated under the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act in 2017. It is essential to know that the Post 9/11 GI Bill is comprehensive and when you fully understand the GI Bill benefits, it will save your educational expenses thousands of dollars.
We’ve broken the GI Bill into manageable steps to help you get most out of the benefits.
Here’s what you need to know.
Post 9/11 GI Bill is a generous education benefit explicitly created for military members and veterans who served on or after September 11, 2001. The benefits include a monthly housing allowance, payment of tuition and fees, allotted payment for textbooks and supplies for 36 months.
To qualify for the GI Bill eligibility, you must have served for 90 days, at least from September 10, 2001. It does not matter whether you have received an honorable discharge or are still serving in the military. You are still eligible for the GI Bill.
Another qualifier to be eligible is that you must have been discharged on service-related disability after 30 days of service after September 11, 2001.
The Veterans Affair (VA) are using this scale to determine if you are eligible:
You should not worry about this scale because it will change when parts of the Forever GI Bill takes effect in August 2020. When that happens, the 40 percent (90 days, below six months) will equal 50 percent of all benefits. Military members with six months and less than 18 months will be qualified for 60 percent of all benefits.
Spouses and children of military personnel who died while serving on or after 9/11 can be eligible to use the Post 9/11 GI Bill through the Marine Gunnery John David Fry Scholarship Program. Children between the age of 18 and 33 can enjoy the full benefits of the program, including spouses who have not married for 15 years after the military member’s death.
The GI Bill programs provide educational program support such as:
You cannot ensure that the Post 9/11 GI Bill will cover the benefit programs you decided to enroll in. But you can contact a VA representative to confirm if your tuition and fees will be reimbursed.
There are two ways to apply:
You can also call the VA to mail you the application through this number: 1-888-GI-BILL-1 directly.
The application process is straightforward, mainly if you apply online. On the form, you will fill out your military background, the school you attended, and education history. You’ll also need bank account numbers and social security, so make sure you provide those details.
If you’re not sure how to go about the process, talk to the certifying official at your school. They work in the school’s financial aid department or the registrar’s office. They will also help you fill out the application form.
After you apply for the benefit, the VA will send you a certificate of eligibility that states what exactly you are eligible to receive. When you enroll in a school, you should send the certificate as proof that your payments are coming. Here’s why:
If your tuition payments get delayed, the certificate will serve as proof that your payments are on its way. When that happens, they can’t charge you for late fees and enforce other outstanding balance restrictions, which is not your fault.
Remember that it usually takes a while before the VA issues your certificate of eligibility. While you wait, you can log into your eBenefits to keep an eye on things.
If you’re attending a university or public college, the GI Bill covers all your tuition and other fees. But it’s at the in-state rate. Which means it may not reach for-profit schools or private schools. The national maximum fees for the 2019-2020 school year is $24,476.79, and it rises a little bit each year.
You can find out if your school takes part in the Yellow Ribbon program if the GI Bill doesn’t cover your full educational cost. The program is an agreement between the school and the VA to split your studying expenses if the GI Bill does not cover. It reduces or sometimes, eliminates the cost you have to pay for yourself. Right now, only those who depend on service members are eligible for the program and veterans. However, in August 2022, the program will extend to active-duty military officers.
One of the best and creative ways to use the GI Bill is to use it to take online classes. Yes. The GI Bill is flexible enough to let you choose online courses. It’s not limited to traditional full-time schools. You can also use the benefit to start your own business or get a tutor to help you with your course studies. There are so many things you can use the GI Bill for:
If you are a veteran majoring in STEM field, you can apply for Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits. Because of the Forever GI Bill, the Edith Nourse Rogers STEM Scholarship fund is available to sponsor up to $30,000 for STEM students. People of deceased service members are also qualified for this scholarship. If you want more information about other education benefits you might be eligible for, check out posts on other benefit programs.