7 - Does BASIC training/boot camp count toward my active duty service?

Boot camp and other initial entry training programs only qualify toward Post 9/11 active duty service once a service member has completed 2 years of active duty service including the boot camp. For example, a National Guard soldier who has been activated for 18 months cannot count their basic training and advance skills training toward Post 9/11 service unless they have also done 6 months of boot camp and advance skills training (totaling 24 months of combined service).

1 - Part-Time Students

All GI Bill benefits are prorated for part-time students. The Post-9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33) prorates the monthly living allowance and annual book stipend for part-time student.  Part-time students will have their living allowance prorated based on how many classes they are taking.

For example a student is taking 7 credits at a school that consider 12 credits full time, that student will receive 60% of the normal living allowance rate. Below is a chart showing how your enrollment would affect your GI Bill benefits.

Credits
% of BAH

12
100%

11
90%

10
80%

9
80%

8
70%

7
60%

6
0%

 
Please note that students who are considered “exactly half-time” do NOT qualify for a living allowance under the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Also please take notice of the difference between enrolling in 7 units and 8 units. Taking one more unit is worth 20% of the BAH, approximately an additional $269/month in benefits.

The Montgomery GI Bill (Chapter 30), REAP (Chapter 1607) and Select Reserve GI Bill (Chapter 1606) also prorate their monthly benefits.

To see how your benefits will be affected by being a part-time student, please check out our GI Bill benefits calculator.

7 - Part time students are eligible for what benefits?

The Post 9/11 GI Bill pays generous benefits for part time students. For example:

Tuition and Fees: Tuition benefits are the same for full-time and part-time students.

Living allowance: Paid to students who are enrolled more than half time. A student enrolled one unit above exactly half time will qualify for a prorated monthly living allowance. For example a student is taking 7 credits at a school that consider 12 credits full time, that student will receive 60% of the normal living allowance rate.

Credits
% of BAH

12
100%

11
90%

10
80%

9
80%

8
70%

7
60%

6
0%

Book Stipend: The payment will be $41.67 for every credit enrolled, but no more than $1,000 per academic year. (e.g., a student enrolled in 12 units will receive $500 for that academic term).
To see how your benefits will be affected by being a part-time student, please check out our GI Bill benefits calculator.

2 - New GI Bill 2.0 Upgrades: Post 9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33)

What is New GI Bill 2.0 and what did it change? When do they take affect?

New GI Bill 2.0 was legislation that helped guarantee benefits for veterans who were not eligible for the original version of the Post-9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33) and increased benefits for over 400,000 veterans and their families across the country. Here are some of the improvements:

  • Disabled Veterans: Raising monthly vocational rehabilitation benefits by nearly $800/month. This will help 21,000 disabled veterans, the size of the annual field of runners at the Boston Marathon, be able to afford to live and go to school. (August 2011)
  • Improved Tuition Benefits: Simplifying the confusing tuition cap system and increasing the benefit rate in 45 states. SPC Weaver’s tuition benefit in California will increase by $8,000/year. Over 58,000 students will now receive higher tuition benefits, equal to the combined student population of Princeton, Harvard, Yale, MIT and William and Mary. (August 2011)
  • Distance Learners: Granting over 25,000 full-time distance learners, a monthly living –allowance, including disabled veterans, single parents who provide at-home childcare, and rural veterans. (October 2011)
  • Vocational Training: Authorizing generous New GI Bill benefits for apprenticeship and on-the-job training. This will help over 6,000 veterans participate in vocational training; the same number of workers that were needed to build the Hoover Dam. (October 2011)
  • Trade Schools: Approving benefits for students studying at trade schools like a fire academy, truck driving school or a barber college. Approximately 6,000 students will now be able to attend a trade school next year, enough to staff the entire Los Angeles Fire Department. (October 2011)
  • Full Time National Guard: Including full-time service in the National Guard as qualifying service toward New GI Bill eligibility. This will help over 85,000 previously excluded National Guardsmen, enough to fill the entire football stadium at the University of Texas. (October 2011)
  • Active Duty: Granting over 19,000 active duty servicemembers using their GI Bill benefits an annual book stipend of $1,000/year, enough to fill an entire military division. (October 2011)
  • New Recruits: Saving new enlistees to the military $1,200 by not requiring them to sign-up for the old and inadequate GI Bill. This will help 180,000 new service members per year, equivalent to the entire fighting force of the U.S. Marine Corps

Although New GI Bill 2.0 will help many student veterans receive better benefits, there are some provisions that close loopholes in the Post-9/11 GI Bill and therefore will reduce benefits for other veterans.

  • Part-Time Students: Prorates the monthly living allowance for the Post-9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33). This closed a loophole that was allowing part-time students to receive double the benefits as full-time students. Click here to learn more about part-time students.
  • Active Duty Servicemembers: Ensures that active duty servicemembers receive the same tuition benefits as veterans (In-State tuition at public schools and $17,500/year for private schools). A loophole in the Post-9/11 GI Bill previously granted unlimited tuition/fees benefits only for active servicemembers.
  • Summer/Winter Break Pay: Essentially abolished interval payments for periods of time between academic terms. This was a very contentious provision that many veteran groups, including IAVA opposed.
  • Private Students in Seven States: Student veterans attending high cost private schools in seven states that had high tuition reimbursement rates (AZ, MI, NH, NY, PA, SC TX) would have seen their tuition benefits drop. However, thanks to strong advocacy from IAVA and new legislation passed in July 2011, those students will be allowed to keep their higher rates till July 2014. Click here to read more about the grandfather clause for students in these seven states.
  • Non-Federal Financial Aid: The VA will now only pay for tuition/fees that are not paid by other sources. So if you are receiving any “tuition specific” financial aid the VA will no longer double pay those tuition costs. Federal financial aid, anything you get from filling out the FAFSA, is excluded from consideration. Click here to read more about Financial Aid and the GI Bill.

2 - I have used part or all of my education benefits. What is my eligibility for Post-9/11 GI Bill?

Veterans transferring into the Post-9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33) will generally receive 36 months of educational assistance, approximately 4 academic years’ worth of an education. A veteran who used benefits from one of the older GI Bill programs will likely have additional education benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill.
If you visit our GI Bill benefits calculator and click on the “Months Remaining” tab it will calculate you how many months of benefits you will be entitled to if you transfer over to the new GI Bill.
Former active duty veterans who are currently using the MGIB (Chapter 30), may qualify for 12 additional months of new GI Bill benefits due to a loophole caused by VA regulations. If a veteran uses all 36 months of their MGIB benefits (every last day) and then transfers over to the new GI Bill they will be given 12 additional months of benefits. However, if a veteran transfers over from the MGIB with any remaining benefits (even one day) they will only receive the same number of months as they had with the old GI Bill.
For example, a veteran with 5 days left on the old MGIB who transfers over to the new GI Bill will only get 5 days of benefits with the new GI Bill. If that veteran had burned the rest of their MGIB benefits they would have received an additional 12 months.

If the veteran never used MGIB (Chapter 30) benefits, but had used other benefits such as REAP (Chapter 1607), Select Reserve GI Bill (Chapter 1606) or VEAP (Chapter 32) he or she can receive up to total 48 months of educational benefits but no more than 36 months in any one particular program. For example, a veteran who used 10 months of REAP (Chapter 1607), will be entitled to 26 more months of REAP (Chapter 1607) benefits or 36 months of Post 9/11 GI bill benefits.

7 - How do I maximize my benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill?

While New GI Bill 2.0 closed many of the loopholes in the Post-9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33), veterans who want to maximize and stretch their GI Bill benefits still have a few options.
Private Student Tuition Loophole: Students attending private school receive up to $17,500/year in tuition reimbursement. However, this new yearly rate is not prorated for part-time students nor is it lowered for students who do not attend school for the entire year.
For example, if a student were to attend school at a slower pace, let’s say only one semester a year, the VA would pay $17,500 in tuition each semester. So if a veteran had the time and the school didn’t mind someone taking 8 years to finish a 4-year school the VA would reimburse tuition costs up to $140,000in tuition benefits (enough to pay for Harvard for sure).
This loophole does not apply to public students only because the VA will pay all of their in-state tuition costs regardless of the student’s academic load.
Part-time students: The difference between taking 6-8 credits is worth thousands of dollars to you. The Post-9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33) prorates the monthly living allowance based on how many classes they are taking. Below is chart breaking down those prorated rates.

Credits
% of BAH

12
100%

11
90%

10
80%

9
80%

8
70%

7
60%

6
0%


For example a student is taking 7 credits at a school that consider 12 credits full time, that student will receive 60% of the normal living allowance rate. However, a student taking 8 credits will receive 80% of the normal living allowance, a jump of over $180-$570/month. A student taking just six units will receive no living allowance.

2 - Montgomery GI Bill: MGIB (Chapter 30)

The old Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) was for active duty servicemembers and was designed as a recruitment tool. With the passage of the new Post-9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33), MGIB (Chapter 30) is still on the books, and the benefit was increased by nearly 20%. The current monthly rate for MGIB is $1421/month for a full time student. In addition, yearly increases to the MGIB are now indexed to the rising cost of education, which means that benefit will keep up with the explosive rise in education costs. All the same qualifications still apply for MGIB, including the $1,200 buy-in.

Although nine times out of ten the Post-9/11 GI Bill provides a higher benefit than previous programs, some veterans may receive a higher benefit from MGIB. For more guidance on which program is right for you, please use our GI Bill benefits calculator.

How do I apply for and receive my GI Bill benefits?