What are the Details of the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill?

Chapter 33 of the Serviceman’s Readjustment Act of 1944, more commonly known as the GI Bill, is an invaluable benefit to United States Veterans and active duty military. Although it is best known as “how to go to school after you get out of the military,” there is much more to the GI Bill that you may not know.

The Core Benefits

The most well-known benefit of the GI Bill is payments to universities and colleges on behalf of attending veterans. Technically, the GI Bill pays for any veteran to attend any college or university, up to the maximum in-state rate in the veteran’s state of residence. There are additional programs, such as the Yellow Ribbon Program, which allow veterans to attend schools of higher cost, such as an Ivy League school. In reality, any school a veteran qualifies for can most likely be paid for using the GI Bill programs.

Next, the bill provides the student with a monthly housing stipend equal to government Basic Allowance for Housing at the E-5 rate (with dependents). This amount varies based on where the student lives, but generally falls between $1,100 and $1,800 each month. In addition, the veteran is paid a book stipend not to exceed $1,000 a year, prorated throughout the year based on the number of credits taken. This benefit lasts for thirty-six months of schooling, counted by the days the student was registered for classes. Realistically, this equals four years of school. For a quick reference, see the VA’s GI Bill fact sheet.

There are more benefits than just tuition and housing, however. Tests and certifications can be repaid, without limit. There are several other programs which can be used after the GI Bill expires in order to attend vocational training or seminars. For veterans who meet certain qualifications such as retirement after twenty years of service, benefits can be transferred to a spouse or child. There are many different benefits within the GI Bill, each designed to further a veteran’s chances of being successful after they leave the military.

Benefit Breakdown

Here is an example of what would be paid for a veteran who attends four years of a public university.

  • Tuition: $7,000 per semester, or $56,000 total.
  • Housing Payments: $1,300 per month for 36 months, or $46,800 total.
  • Book Stipend: $1,000 per year for four years, or $4,000 total.
  • Professional Tests and Certifications: $1,000 total.
  • Total: $107,800

As you can see, the Post 9/11 GI Bill is a huge benefit for veterans. In this example, demonstrating a standard in-state school, the veteran is receiving over $100,000 in aid. As an additional benefit, this aid is also completely tax free. It is reported as a scholarship by the school, but it is not taxable by the IRS like other sources of income. This increases the value of the benefit as described above by over $15,000 in tax savings, assuming the student would otherwise have earned this money through scholarships. If the veteran had taken out loans in this amount instead, the amount saved in interest payments is even higher.

What Are You Waiting for?

As a veteran, the Post 9/11 GI Bill is yours. If you’ve served over one year on active duty, you have earned this benefit. There is no reason not to take advantage of the GI Bill; it is nothing short of a full ride to the college of your choice. Enhance your career prospects, and achieve the degreed status that you deserve after serving your country by using the Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits.