GI Bill Changes – What’s Next?

August 02, 2011 | Terry Howell

The Post-9/11 GI Bill has evolved quite a bit over the last few years. Some changes have improved the benefit for veterans, while other - less popular – changes were made to pay for the improvements. The latest changes came on the first of August, mainly in the form of tuition and fee limits and unpopular reductions of some benefits.

But they’re not quite done yet, because as of October 1, 2011, we will see another wave of changes. These October changes will have a huge impact on veterans who study 100% through distance learning (online and otherwise) and open new opportunities for vocational pursuits.

The October changes will bring expanded education and training benefits, which will add a vocational element to the Post-9/11, making it more like the Montgomery GI Bill. These changes will allow veterans, servicemembers, and eligible dependents to take vocationally focused courses at non-degree granting schools. It will also include opportunities for On-the-job and apprenticeship training, flight programs, and correspondence training.

In addition, new Book Stipend rules will allow active duty students (and their eligible dependents) to receive up to $1000 a year for books and supplies.

But, the most anticipated change will be the Housing Stipend for eligible students enrolled in 100% online (or other forms of  distance learning) courses.  This new “online” housing allowance will be equal to half the national average BAH for an E-5 with dependents, which will be $673.50 a month for 2011.

But the changes aren’t quite done yet – there are several changes in the works which may or may not get through the legislative process. To date only one, the Restoring GI Bill Fairness Act of 2011 (HR 1383), has been passed by Congress and is currently awaiting the President’s signature. HR 1383 would give certain veterans a reprieve from the new tuition and fees cap which went into effect this month. This bill has a very limited scope and will only impact veterans who reside in Michigan, New Hampshire, Arizona, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Texas.

Here is a quick list of GI Bill changes which are still being considered by Congress:

Learn more about the ever-evolving Post-9/11 GI Bill and how to best use it to achieve your education goals.

About Terry Howell

Before becoming the Managing Editor for Military.com, Terry served 20 years in the U.S. Coast Guard as an Aviation Electrician’s Mate and aircrewman. In his final role in the Coast Guard, Terry served as a Career Development Advisor, where he provided career, finance, education, and benefits counseling to servicemembers and their families. Since retiring from the Coast Guard, Terry has authored the book, The Military Advantage, managed the content for TurboTap, the DoD's online transition program and VAforVets, the VA's transition assistance website. Terry earned both his Bachelor's and MBA at Corban University using Military Tuition Assistance and his GI Bill benefits to help cover the cost.

Comments

  1. Johnny B says:

    What I don't understand is how online or distance learning means that you deserve less Hous­ing Stipend than someone going to a brick and mortar college?
    This doesn't seem fair for those that live too far away from a brick and mortar college.

    • Squishy_ says:

      I would think its becasue you don't have to commute, but I am not sure. At least students enrolled 100% online are getting BAH now, so it is an improvement over the initial system.

      • Squishy it is not called a comuting stipend. If anything online students incur additional fees with electricity, internet access, additional software, etc. We could argue this all day long but fair is fair. If you’re a student and you live in a house/apartment/condo/trailer park you should all get the same housing stipend. I hate it when people try to rationalize bad choices instead of calling it what it is-BAD! I finished all my school and grad school under the old system but does that mean I’m getting a retroactive check to cover my rent for all those years? **** no the government won’t pay 673.50*24. That would be way too noble. How about this I can’t transfer remaining balance to my kid because I got out of the Air Force before they legalized transfering of GI bill.

        • Yup, your electric bill went up dramatically because you went to school online…. yup…

          How about the idea that you were meant to get off your butt and ACTUALLY GO TO SCHOOL. if you dont live near a school.. then MOVE to the school. Software is something that ALL students have to buy. Except im not sitting at some family members house going to school online to collect a check. Im not married with my wifes career to live on…..

          I MOVED 1800 miles to go to one of the ONLY schools that offers a REAL degree that will GUARANTEE me a job. It just happened to be a private school (the options arent general studies, or psychology or any other garbage degree… more like engineering programs) which means that they cut my program out…. (have to change majors, and schools…) to pay some lazy online school people BAH. So to summarize. REAL SCHOOL, difficult degree, (you know, one that turns down 90 percent of applicants and washes out around 70 percent before junior year???? oh and I have a 4.0) and now I have to transfer. Im losing credits. The degree program doesnt exist elsewhere. So someone can go to school online? Thats the dumbest thing I have ever heard. Online is useful, but dont rob from people who are getting a real degree from a real school.

          They need to restrict GI Bill usage to ONLY real degrees at real schools. Then they need to put a minimum of 3.2 GPA to continue receiving benefits. The free ride is a joke.
          Active duty only (as in active duty WITH A DEPLOYMENT).

          The number of people whining about not getting what they want but arent DOING ANYTHING to earn anything is getting ridiculous.

          • seriously says:

            Duhhhh, You sound ridiculous. Serving is serving. Denouncing 1 person’s service for not traveling the same path as youis just plain wrong. And the goal of the GI BIll is not to restrict education, it’s is to provide an avenue for attaining it.

            Many online schools are just as credible as brick & mortor schools. And the best part about the Edcuation benefit is that you choose your school. So you are not forced to enroll into any program that you feel is “below standard”. If someone else chooses a program you don’t agree with, that is their deceision to livewith, not yours.

            The traditional versus non-traditional arguments will never stop. Each side has valid opinions because each path is a good path. But to say one is better than the other is wrong.

            I earned my Associate’s while still active, but I chose a 100% online school to complete my bachelor’s after getting out. Mostly because of the extent of my PTSD after returning from Iraq. I was a little uncomfortable about returning to a class room with 19-25 year olds after having served 8 yrs, and more importantly I had extreme anxiety issues and could barely hold regular conversation without breaking down into tears over the slightest things. I went more than 3 years never mentioning I was in the military to anyone who didn’t already know.

            Now, 5 years and 3 years of counseling later, I look forward to using my 2 remaining years of GI BIll to get my Graduate degree. But I hope to do it taking a combination of the 2 – part online and partially traditional. This is because; 1. I am much better now and look forward to attending classes with like-minded individuals and 2. I really enjoyed much of the autonomy and flexibility of the online experience as well.

          • MaeBeRight says:

            Duhhhh….you are REALLY stupid!!! NO school GUARANTEE a job!! Maybe you DO need to go to a traditional school, because your ignorance is VERY revealing…..(I think that you need the face-2-face help)…LOL

        • I'm not saying its right or its wrong, I was simply stating a possible reason for it. 1/2 BAH for online students is a hell of a lot better than what they were getting before, so it is a step in the right direction, and it is more than a lot of vets ever saw (see VEAP)

      • kim karolchyk says:

        I believe you are correct…but then it should be clearly labeled a transportation allowance. As a distance-learning student myself, I can attest to how much harder online classes are than f2f ones. I need the full BAH, because I don’t have a job, only my retirement to pay the bills while I go to school online. I am sure there are many f2f students doing the same…I just think we should be viewed and treated equally.

        • LazyCivilian says:

          I can get you a job if you like?

        • I dont feel like it fair for people like yourself to just get online classes for the money.If you retired that was you decision and you should be able to get a job. For people that actually go to the campus should get the full BAH cause they are taken away from their family.

          • Storm have you tried looking for a job lately? Education is education no matter where you get it someone who is getting their education on line should be entitled to the same as everyone else. I have so much homework and reading, that I wish I would have elected to go on campus instead of online, way harder and more work involved. Ever heard of pancake butt?

    • I'm pretty sure the 'logic' behind it is that if you're not spending 3 to 4 hours in a physical classroom, then you can be spending those 3 to 4 hours at a job instead. What they don't understand is that not only are you spending that time studying, you're actually spending MORE time focused on studying because you have to learn it all yourself rather than having someone teach it to you. it's faulty logic, and full-time distance learners should get the same stipend.

    • No they shouldn’t because that would mean that vets like myself would have to give up more of the benifets that were promised so that others could have it easier. I and almost all the other vets that were on the previous post 9/11 were not willing to give up our goals set until what we should get as promised. Not saying that you don’t deserve it but just not on the expense of other vets that were promised something else. This is what happens when you have a bunch of congress and house guys and women passing laws without reading it first. This stuff was passed in a lame duck session. The speaker of the house quoted ” you have to pass a bill first before you can read it.”

    • Online classes do not require you to commute to school (daily-Weekly) like seated class. You can incur expenses such as Gas and wear & tear on your car.

      Some school only offer online classes and I would be happy to receive the partial BAH rate to sit at home and not have to go to class.

      Most folks who take online classes are working most of the time anyway.

    • It shouldn't matter if a vet attends online classes or a brick and mortar school. I have known several tho who live with family where they are not paying any dues to qualify for BAH and want it as income. It might be fair to require recipients to justify the assistance by supplying a proof of lease from the landlord and I am not including notes from mom and dad who rent a room to jr. Another reason for differences is that online classes allow vets to attend school from areas with a much lower living cost. Obviously the towns where the schools are have a much higher cost of living due to demand for rental units. Online students are able to avoid much of that extra cost by being free to live in areas of their own choosing, while students at traditional schools generally do not have that option. The BAH is for those who honestly need and deserve it, not one who is making payments on their new hotrod import car or crotch-rocket motorcycle with money intended for their housing. Now someone on here complaining about their electric bill due to being an online student is plain stupid, lol! As if other students or non-students don't have power bills or spend alot of time doing work on a computer?! LMAO, whatever!

  2. Are they going to change counting hours instead of semesters? Right now if I take two classes it still counts off an entire semster worth of benefits. Why not just prorate it because eventually I am going to have to pay for my own classes.

    • army vet says:

      Your semester is supposed to be prorated according the WAVES manual that the VA follows for eduational benefits. I worked in a educational office on a University campus for over two years and the certifying official at your University reports your enrolled units to the VA via a system called VA Once. If the VA is taking a whole semester for only six units it is wrong! You can request a copy of you 1999, the form submitted to the VA by your certifying offcial, and see if the problem is at your school or on the VA's end. Depending on your chapter of benefits it will be prorated by percentage or in quarter (1/4, 1/2, 3/4 or 1).

    • It's up to your school to certify half/full time status, not the VA. Your school is what determines your status of enrollment, not the gov't.

  3. Try being a soldier whos promised all this shit, just to have it taken away piece by piece, bit by bit! Our government has robbed its soldiers since day one of both these oil wars. Pathetic that the American public care so little and do not push for soldiers to receive ALL the benefits they deserve.

    • I don't know how you can say the "American public doesn't care". You just have NO IDEA how much we care and how we fight these negative changes to your benefits. I will say clearly that at least 3/4 ths of Americans not only care, but write letters, make calls, fight buereacrats on your behalf. We also pray for you. I'm shocked at your jaded and unfair attitude.

    • retired AF says:

      Soldier – thank you for serving our country! I can read the disappointmnet in your post and I know it must be frustrating for you. You also sound young. I think the majority of the American public does care for our military folks but its congress who could give a crap less as long as none of their benefits get cut. Hang in there and I hope next election year brings better leadership to our country.
      Take care!

      • Who another one like the Bushes? No thanks, give the man a chance, he is not God. Besides when it was all over and done didn't it take Bush 8 years to screw it all up? Besides it is Congree and the Senate who really run the country.

    • Retired Marine says:

      What are you talking about? The post 9/11 GI Bill is a free education benefit that you never invested in. If you’re smart, you paid into your Montgomery GI Bill. You still have this benefit available.

      It’s amazing how the military has developed such a sense of ‘entitlement.”

    • In your contract you sign a statement acknowledging that any promises outside of what is written in your contract is not binding. Why is it that soldiers always join for what they can get instead of what they can give?

      • I can not speak for any other service member, but from my own experiences we give a hell of a lot more then you give us credit for. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say you are either a recruiter or career planner?? This country is run by give and take and if there was nothing in it for the person signing their life away, time spent from family, friends, and loved ones, then the majority would not sign up. The least congress can do is to keep those benefits in place and not chew away at them. I guess your statement of, "what they can give?" should be forwarded to your nearest congressman and tell them to give up their salary…

      • Because there has to be incentive to sign your life away for however many years you do. Yes, you sign papers when you come in, but whereas we active duty have to fulfill our side I think the same should be said for our government. Although the promise may not be "binding" the commitment to ensure veterans have a better opportunity than they did before joining is still binding. With all do respect some of us who were raised poor with no opportunity for education because we are not minority depend on that money because we cannot get financial aide; so, yeah when I joined it was more about what they could do for me, but I did a hell of a lot for them in my eight years even sacrificing my own health so can it with the joining for the wrong reasons. Everyday Americans join the military not knowing the full weight of their decisions or if it will lead them to combat possibly losing their life. With that being said why you join is irrelevant its how hard you work while you are in.

    • The changes don't bother me a bit. I get paid many times over what I was promised when I entered in January of 1999. Congress could have retro-actively said it would only apply to new enlistments, but they didn't. I'm a big fan of the post 9/11 benefits versus pre.

  4. I think going to a real school is much better if you are actually trying to get a job.

    My Excelsior Degree which I earned while still on active duty has proved to be worthless by other schools even the fly by night schools Sanford Brown would not recognize it in order to admitt me into of their own programs where they would stood to have earn mucho dinero from the GI Bill funds.

    Just be careful and do not squander your benefits on something that will not help you later.

    • I was accepted into a graduate studies program after graduating from Excelsior College. It all depends on the major and what you want to study afterwords.

    • "Going to a real school" is relative. All my grad school work was online/video conferencing/etc (which is strangely, how most IT presentations and conferences are done anyhow…), but my degree still says "New York University" at the end of it. There's something to be said for picking a school that has bricks, even if you don't visit them much.

    • MaeBeRight says:

      Jay…are you SURE you graduated??? Excelsior is a brick and mortar school…that OFFERS online programs….maybe you need to go BACK to school….too funny

  5. GI in DC says:

    Does this change the rollover from chp 31 to the post 9-11 bill? I was told by the va 2 years ago to use up my last 12 months and then apply for the 9-11since I met all of the quals for 100 %.

    • army vet says:

      No, because its not actually a roll over. Every qualifying military member is eligable for up to 48 months of any combination of education benefits. So after you exhaust your 36 months ch 30 or 31 then you can apply for the additional 12 months you are eligable for as ch 33 benefits. When you roll over your benefits the VA gives you only the time you had remaining on the benefit you transfered from toward the new benefit, which wouldn't have allowed you to use all 48 months of benefits.

    • No, I have not heard anything about them changing that. I'm planning on doing the same thing. I went to the GI Bill web site a couple of months ago and it clearly stated the same thing you mentioned. The trick is not to change your remaining benefits. Just keep what you have until you run out of benefits then you will get the extra year for post 911. Go to the GI Bill web site to find the info if you want to make sure.

  6. I have to say BS to the Excelsior College comment above. I am an Excelsior grad. The school is regionally accredited. I was accepted for graduate programs at Villanova, William & Mary, and Old Dominion University. I got my federal job based on my degree from Excelsior. Your comment is simply not factual.

    • Actually, Kevin, there was a brief study printed in HBR recently about hiring managers providing much less value on degrees they knew they weren't from brick and morters institutions, as well as the same feelings of HR professionals. The recommendation was that if you're going to do online, get a degree from a school that won't be associated with primarily online learning.

    • I agree I earned my degree from Columbia Southern University and it has served it's purpose, If you started at excelsior, why not finish there?

    • Yeah I have to call BS on that comment as well. I am a Military Spouse who is very fortunate to have an awesome husband who transferred me his GI BILL, and I got a degree from an online school (University of Phoenix…huge military discount if you don't have GI BILL) and with it being accredited I just was accepted into an extremely competitive program to be a Physician Assistant at Alabama. I wasn't sure how I would stack up to other applicants, but as long as you go to an accredited school it is just like going to any other school! I would assume its like that on the job market too if a Grad School sees it that way.

  7. sheena4uk says:

    If the school is a "FOR PROFIT" school ……. it's very doubtful that the degree is worth the paper it's printed on. Be careful when deciding what school to attend. All the schools that advertise on TV are the ones to "watch out for" ….. ITT, ECPI, Strayer, Excelsior, DeVry, Kaplan, University of Phoenix, etc. It may be tough sitting though classes at a REAL university …. but at least in the long run the degree is worth something. Best of luck to all who attend a "for-Profit" college.

    • Aren't all the colleges in it for something? They're certainly not giving you a darn thing for free. Those college professors making six figures are being paid by the student tuitions etc.

    • Excelsior is a highly recommended "REAL" college that happens to be flexible enough for those who are deploying or whatnot to be able to continue their education. I am going to be working toward my RN degree and Excelsior came highly recommended by nurses at 3 facilities in a town KNOWN for their medical college educational opportunities. (If you can afford them…) Excelsior is nationally accredited, which some brick and mortar "real" colleges are not. This is not a fake school…its real and its not easy.

    • I can honestly say, the for profit college I am currently attending isn't worth #$%! They throw the degrees together and any moron can pass.

      • sheena4uk says:

        My point exactly. Some people (as stated in their replies) are doing great with their for profit degrees …… seems you've had a bad experience. I was just stating that when deciding on college, everyone should "watch out" ……. "be careful" ….. and choose wisely. Best of luck to you.

    • Penn St., George Mason and many many other Universities and colleges advertise on TV also. Does this mean there worthless also? I just happen to be a graduate from both Penn and GM and I am also a graduate of Strayer U. The degree I earned (MS Information Systems) from Strayer helped me receive an additional $17,000 a year after taxes solely because I had the credentials to support my request. I think it was worth the paper it was printed on.

    • I quit working for ITT because of the For profit attitude that come with being an employee there. Community colleges are just as good.

    • Hmmmmmmmmm actually thats horseshit. I just got accepted into Bama's Physician Assistant Program (extremmmmmmmmmmmmmely competitive) and I had a degree from University of Phoenix. I HIGHLY recommend it. A PA will make 80k minimum starting out, not bad for a "not-REAL" university eh?

      • sheena4uk says:

        Excellent Tressa – best of luck to you in your future PA career. I figured I'd get some angry comments. However, that was not my intention. My intention was to tell others to be careful when choosing a college. Congratulations to you and the $80k starting out pay. University of Phoenix seems to have worked great for you.

  8. Does anybody have any more information specific to the flight school training that will be allowed in October?

    • lov-n-life says:

      From what I've been able to garner from the VA website, it appears it will be the same as the MGIB flight program. If it is vocational, you must have your medical certificate and (here's the kicker) Private Pilot's license BEFORE beginning training. Benefit is capped at cost of training or $10,000 per academic year – whichever is less (1 semester is about $10,000 around here, so figure about $20,000/yr for a commercial/ATP/professional pilot program)

      There is another option that few people know about. If you are enrolled in a degree program from an institute of higher learning that offers a degree program that happens to include flight training (i.e. Associate of Science – Professional Pilot) it is the same as any other degree program and is covered from zero hour through ATP (air transport pilot)! The catch is it must be a Part 141 school (basically allows for fewer hours for each step – private, commercial, ATP). Look at colleges and flight schools in your area and find out which ones are partnered together in a P141 program. Just enrolled in this type of program myself! This is an awesome deal!

  9. LazyCivilian says:

    Whoa, you VETS sound like lazy civilians.. Get a damn job and offset your expenses or RE-up, if you can't manage your family.. My dad got a whole lot less from his Vietnam G.I Bill, I mean a whole lot less, so please be gratefull for those boots still in war who are allowing you to use this damn GI. Bil.. Semper Fi. 0311 for life

    • What country are you living in? Try living in a state where the unemployment rate is in double digits and the cost of living is through the roof. And don't suggest we move to a swap somewhere we can live like kings. Cuz it ain't happening.

    • was he promised the world only to have it pulled out from under him? NO. My husband is 12 yrs active duty…should some of the changes that the 8 yr and out pension getters in DC want to shove down our throats will significantly affect our ENTIRE remainder of our lives.
      Just because your dad got less, and btw, MY dad was drafted so please dont claim righteousness about what our vets got, doesnt make it right the way Servicemembers are being treated today. THEY had to sign a contract that specified terms. CONGRESS is breaking those contracts by taking away things that they contracted to give these men and women for however many years of their lives.

      • GI bills, medical benefits, retirement, and the like are no where in the contract. The contract basically says that if you do the right things you'll be assigned to a certain field or mos, or get the training and then be put where needed. It also says the length of enlistment. It then states in addition to your primary job you may have to do other tasks such as cleaning up and guard duty. It also says that you may go into harms way. So, there's your contract in a nutshell. I have yet to see a broken promise to us by the government. Sure, I have seen some let downs and some things that didn't make us all that happy, but it wasn't a broken promise. If you want these benefits then maybe you should start a serious movement to protest welfare, illegal immigrant benefits, and just about anything else that goes to help everyone but the WORKING AMERICAN!

      • Ma'am,

        If your husband has been on active duty for 10 years then he was not promised the Post 9/11 GI Bill when he came in. He was promised the same thing I was when I came in 12 years ago, the Montgomery GI Bill (IF he paid in). Those benefits have not changed, nor have they been taken away from him. However, even with the changes that have taken place, the post 9/11 benefits that he's being GIVEN are much better. I don't agree with all of the changes that are being made, but I am extremely thankful that they are still GREAT benefits!

    • soldiergirl09-10 says:

      Before you start saying that all Vets are lazy civilians, think about what you say. In order to use your Post 9-11 GI Bill and get full benefits from it you have to serve time in a war zone. I personally have been deployed to Iraq and I am using just my regular GI Bill, plus I am still a full time soldier. I do appreciate your Father's service to our great nation, just be careful you who are calling "lazy".

      • army vet says:

        Unfortunetly that is not true. You do not have to serve in a war zone, you don't ever have to leave the US. I wish you were right that people had to really earn the post 9/11 GI Bill but they don't. I have four deployments (real ones not reservist that "deploy to DC") and I go to school to people that get the same benefits for doing very little.

        • Be careful of what you say there Army Vet, I am a National guard vet, 26 yrs and retired. I have been deployed 3 times, twice in Afghanistan, once to Iraq, and no our benefits are not the same. I am an VA educational Specialist, and I have to say to everyone here making comments about their benefits. You really need to do your research what benefits are available to you. There are many different ways to use your benefits. The best person to talk to is a local VA educational benefits specialist. They attend conferences and get all the latest information on benefits. It is their job to know how they are to be used.
          Now I want to Thank if and everyone of you for your service, and EACH OF YOU deserve these benefits.

      • This is not entirely true. I was medically discharged before completing my MOS training, after being put on a medical hold for over a year, and I am currently using my Montgomery G.I. Bill. I was never deployed. My husband spent 13 months in Korea, but has never been sent to a warzone, and he is using the Post 9-11. BTW, we are BOTH attending Kaplan University, online, because we have children and work. It works for us. This way, we don't have to quit our jobs, lose our health coverage, etc, just to go to a brick and mortor school. (Just a side note to those who say online is not "real" college.)

    • Semper Fi! Well said!

    • "Whoa" Belongs to the Army, not the Corps "Hoorah!". Times have changed since your dad served, thank Him for his service. Education is very important and the opportunity to attend college is one that servicemen should be allowed to do. I believe we should be allowed to attend all the way through to a Doctorate Level degree. Now there should be a standard in doing this, meaning they can't jump around from degree to degree, a linear training path is required.

    • The economy was a little bit different then,as was the cost of living. My father is a Viet Nam vet and he was self employed. Some of us Lazy Vets were medically discharged from the service, or we would have re-enlisted. some of us DO have full time jobs, we are just trying to better ourselves and to make our childrens lives better.

    • old timer says:

      You rock, sounds like old school. I could go on but everything I got I had to work for(even left overs from mom and dads death).

  10. About the National Guard that got activated post9/11 for 2 years and retired with 28 years get's nothing out of the deal. Can't transfer educaton to there dependants. It's always active duty this or that. Never National Guard or Reservist
    Reitired 21 yr's National Guard
    Spouse retired 28 yr's National guard

    • I agree totally agree with you I retired from the National Guard with 22yrs of service and my son wants to go to school and he cant. Why is it that the active duty gets all the benefits

      • army vet says:

        I know this doesn't fix the federal benefits that National Guard doesn't receive but some states offer benefits to dependents of Veterans. In California it's called a cal vet fee wavier and it covers almost the whole cost of tuition at public schools. Most states have similar benefits that are worth looking into.

    • I agree with you.My husband retire from the air force 24 years of service my daughter start college and we have to make a student loan this year of 18,000 to cover for the year in NC State University.And the GI can`t be transfer to dependants.

      • army vet says:

        The post 9/11 GI Bill can be transferred to dependents as long as the service member is authorized to recieve the benefit. There has to be a specific reason in his case that the VA denied the transfer because there are plenty dependents using their parents post 9/11 GI Bill. There is also a Ch 35 bill that is only for dependents. It is not as good as the post 9/11 but it is very similar to the original Montgomery GI Bill.

    • B. Birdsall says:

      Well I am a 29 year Air Force Reservist who volunteered for 30 months of active duty and I now get 36 months of post 911 GI bill benefits. You have to know how to work the system.

    • My husband served 10 years active duty…got under due to rift…joined the reserves just under 3 years later…has done 2 overseas tours and 1 and 1/2 yrs in support and he transferred his benefits to our daughter…you just have to do the research and talk to the right people to see who qualifies and what they qualify for…we didn't give up and they are paying for 75% of her 1st four years….truly hard earned … extremely grateful reserve spouse!

    • Well lets start with the part time commitment (you have time to go to school while serving, while using the guard tuition assistance and other programs to help pay for school) vs someone that is on a biennial deployment rotation and doesnt have time to attend any kind of school. If I knew then what I know now, I would have gone reserve, made more money at a regular job, completed my degree without having to pay for it and done something else by now. Now I am out, after spending more time in Iraq than most reservists "drill" in 10 years, and my options are quite limited. The GI Bill should NOT be transferable under any circumstances. Half the commitment all the glory. What exactly have you been doing full time while serving part time? Im sure it wasnt cleaning crew served weapons (you know… that thing that doesnt help you get a job anywhere? The thing active duty spends tons of time doing?)

    • This has nothing to do with you being in the National Guard as far as not being able to transfer Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits to your dependents. The way Congress wrote the rules you had to be serving on or after August 1, 2009 in order to make a transfer request. The active duty has to follow these same rules. They can't make a transfer request once retired either.

  11. As an ex-service member that has visited many universities, colleges, and vocational institutions. I have noticed a common theme. Every school, weather its an on-line or campus does not do unofficial transcript evalutions (SMART and previous college). The reason for this is because higher education institutions are not higher education establishments, but financial gain businesses. As veterans we have to do more research on the school. We have to find out the cost, weather or not the school is a military friendly institution, and so forth because this is how American society is.

  12. Steve in BellevueWA says:

    How about get back to basics. We serve in the military and we get benefits. If they need to be cut, start with the family benefits. If family members wants a GI bill of the own, have them serve. There are plenty of loans and grants for family members. Cut this back to members only and use it that way. I have no “family” so why should I receive less because others do?

    • Hi Steve I do have family but I'm not sharing mine. I guess you can call me greedy. Besides I can't split it evenly between two kids and a spouse. I agree with you if someone wants what I have then go work for it the same way I did. I just got my AA degree and I am on my way to my BA degree.

    • Steve for those of us who have family and have served many years or even just one enlistment know how much our families sacrificed while we served. Much, much more than any civilian family could imagine and obviously you. Perhaps you will understand if/when you decide to call it quits from the military and have to deal with the limited benefits offered to you on the outside world.

      • Mee, Right on and so true! Civilians are so lame and have no clue what it is like being a military family. Their loved ones didnt have the balls to step up , we did! Military deserve FREE and discounted items every day!@

    • Enter text right here! Hi Steve in Bellevue. The GI Bill should be just given to families who paid for it. If I need 10,000 because my car has 350,000 miles and breaking down then let me get a car ! The GI Bill would be great of people would stop changing it ! As for lazy civilian, worked hard for 20 years and even lost 3 fingers. I d eserve the best that I as a Retiree can have! I paid for the GI Bill and my children and I should be able to use as we please..If they all have scholarships,then I should be able to use it how I want…Or pay for someone elses college..

    • Hey Steve, Did you ever stop to think about the sacrifice WE make as military family members? My husband is on his 7th deployment, we have never spent a single holiday together EVER and if I didn't use his GI BILL and he died…what would I do for my kids? Sure, there is some amount of life insurance, but if I hadn't obtained a degree with my husband's GI BILL I'd have no ability to create a life for these kids. I give up my husband for this country, I live night after night hoping I don't have to tell my kid's their daddy is dead, and I work my ass off to raise good upstanding citizens who take pride in their country…and you think that the family doesn't deserve the benefits?

      • (CONT) Do you know how frequently divorce happens in military or hell even abuse after these deployments? So these spouses (male or female) go through all these deployments and they wind up alone and nothing to show for it? For these situations wouldn't it be nice if they left with an education instead of the emotional footprint of war? Why target military at all! Let's target people on welfare who are getting new rims and their fingernails painted and leave the HEROS alone…and when I say HEROES I am including the family members of the ACTIVE DUTY. If you've ever been one, you know it's an equally tough job!

  13. Gents it is very simple. In order to get a retirement from the military you must meet certain criteria. The federal governments retirement system has rules built right into the system. You see, I did 10 years of active duty in the USMC.

    Got out and went into the reserves. As I was working my civilian job at Ford Aerospace. I was working in the manufacturing area where they built sidewinder and side hawk missile. This was the same time Operation Dessert Storm. I took a look at what was going on. I started to research the retirement system and reenlisted.

    Every day earned equaled 1 day of retirement. So, if you served in the reserves you get 2 days towards retirement for each day served in the reserves. To receive a retirement after 20 years of service you must have 365 days a year for twenty years. All of you need to make some decisions about returning to active duty, complete your twenty years then retire. I did the numbers and retired in 2003. Guess what. My check hits the bank on time, my son is attending a state college, my wife has achieved her degree and so have I.

    I'm now working on my masters degree. I attended a job fair on 13 July, yesterday did an interview. Guess what I'm highly favored for the job. Work the system don't let the system work you. It works. Do your homework.

    Semper Fi'

  14. Online only students should be treated as equals and receive the same exact benefits as in person/oncampus students.

    Also remember that in person students only need to take 1 class to qualify for BAH and can have the rest of their classes be online only.

    Another failure of the new online only BAH benefit is it takes the national average BAH and cuts that in half….
    Good luck to every student who lives in CA NY and Hawaii and other states where cost of living is a lot higher then 1333.

    A housing stipend is to cover cost of living. Period.
    Online students don't live for free in some cyberland. They pay the same exact cost of living as everyone else and should be treated equally.

    YES 50% of BAH is better then 0%
    But lets treat every student the same. I can think of no reason to not give EVERY student the same exact BAH rate based on their current course load per semester.

    • If it only takes an hour a day whenever you want to do your school work, then it doesn't stop you from getting a job. Quit crying!

      • seriously says:

        Actually, most accreditted online programtry to justify their existence with a larger workload. Look into it. It's true. One os not better than the other. I'ts all about whatever path you choose to take that best fitsyou.

        No one should assume that a person's educational pursuits are based on laziness. The very fact that they are enrolled and attending college should earn them more respect than that… and many traditional students at your B&M schools are quite lazy and not nearly as motivated as many would like to make it appear.

        So stop comparing. If someone has to maintain a household while attending college full-time then it is not easy. If for whatever reason they find online classes more suited to their needs, it does not reduce their cost of living, therefore,they should receive the same amount of BAH as their neighbor who CHOOSES to sit inside a classroom.

  15. If you have a decent community college nearby it's often a better deal. It's cheaper (even though uncle sam is picking up the dime) the credits are often more transferrable to a four year (whereas most private trade school's are not) and they often have all the classes you need or offer an associates in what you want to study. Most of them also have a bunch of online and weekend classes (because it's cheaper to staff). So they are very flexible. SO always check out your local community colleges first.

    • Iron Angel says:

      I did the community college thing, and in some ways I totally agree, it is cheaper overall. Unfortunately, it slows down the overall progress on your degree because you must complete all lower division coursework before you can transfer and start your upper division classes. I had to do some remedial math classes before I could take the college-level math and transfer to a university, but if I had started out at a university I would have likely been done with my BA by now. So it's definitely a trade-off. With the Post 9/11 GI Bill it actually makes more sense to start out at a 4-yr university nowadays because your tuition is covered and you don't have the delays caused by a transfer.

  16. I got out of the Navy because I new I could count in the GI bill to survive until I get and education, I joined the Navy so I can have the opportunity to go to school, been a single mother of a 2 years old is not easy to be a full time student and a mother. I wonder whom it is going to pay for rent in september, is not my foul the school is on break it is up to me I will go to school 7 days a week and 365 days a year to achieve my goal as soon as possible. I am not lazy I am trying to get a better life, I am strangling with my low BAH income but I serve a country that I am not even a citizen of just to earn the rights of get a better education. I wonder if the congress is getting pay now that they are in vacation?

    • Hey Loey, you better take some grammer classes. New or Knew?

      • She said she is not from this country. Perhaps she is going to school to get a better grasp of language. Good for her for making an effort.

    • Wow, such good grammar. How ever did you make it into a school? Get a job like everyone should or do what everyone is doing these days and get on welfare. BAM! Problem solved.

    • Iron Angel says:

      I agree! Cutting the break pay was low! As for everyone who claims that we student-veterans should just "get a job", may I remind them that we are in the middle of one of the worst recessions in our nation's history and the national unemployment average right now is sitting at just above 9%. So tell me please, if people with all the time in the world are struggling to find employment for months or even years, how much of a chance do those of us who are full-time students with a limited availability have of scoring employment? Much less, employment over the summer or between semesters! That's the whole reason why we go to school in the first place, in the hope that a degree along with our military experience will be enough to help us beat the odds and find a decent job to pay our bills

    • (Liz) HT/FN USN says:

      Im also Navy and going through the same thing here! Now my Post 9/11 it's being cut to 968 a month from the pay of NJ that is the same as NY( high cost of living) just because i got out early, got injured. Just 1 yr. after getting out I got diagnose with colon cancer, mind you I worked w/ chemicals and did some jobs in areas where there was radiation. I'm really young to have something like this besides NO ONE in my family ever had any type of cancer. Now the Navy doesn't want to be responsible for that, and gave me a hell of a time to give me sh*&#@ pension and still fighting for an increase. Conveniently the navy lost my medical record.
      the post 9/11 was helping me to get through till something happens but now I received a letter giving me the great news that my benefits were going to be reduce!
      And this is how we get paid after sacrificing our lives, health and families!

  17. You do realize that it is only at Cal State schools and Jr. colleges. The biggest expense are books not the tuition.

  18. University Adviser says:

    Some advice from a veterans' adviser at a large, public university…due diligence! Talk to people in careers you aspire to for advice on where to go to school and what degree to get. Check job placement stats for alumi. Check accreditation (not all accreditations are equal). Do not take out a loan and be wary of schools that offer you a loan.You worked hard to earn your GI Bill benefits–make sure your investment pays off for you.

  19. Does anyone know if i started Air Guard ( almost 2 years active status) then transfered to Army Reserve and volunteered for active duty (served over 2 years active) if i qualify for the Active or Reserve G I Bill?

  20. we are glad you retired also. racists need to go !

  21. Butterfly says:

    Sheena4uk!!!! Are you serious about University of Phoenix? I’m currently a student. This is my 1st year, but if it’s not going to do me no good please enlighten me!!

  22. This is really a ridiculous change. When I heard it was completely shocking. Which means veterans to serve the great country, but the great country cannot reward them. I registered in the nearby community college when where 75 percent of the classes are virtual classes that means online classes. I was told by the veteran representative in the school, since most of classes are online classes, the chances of getting BAH will be limited and I have no in classes. These changes are very dramatic and they will affect the effectiveness of veterans to go to schools.

  23. I personally agree with the fact that people going to school strictly online should only get half of the bah due to the fact that it is easier fire them to work a full time job. Where as if you are attending a campus as a full time student it’s harder to maintain a full time job because of the requirements of school. You online guys can typically do your schooling any time if day. Now, I will agree with the aspect of if you live in b.f.e.

    thats a whole nother story and it should be taken into consideratio.

    • Obviously, you have no idea what you are talking about. Doing online classes is harder than going to a class. I have done both and I know. Working and trying to go to school whether on campus or online is difficult. Going to school on campus if you are having difficulty with a class you can talk with your teacher and get immeidate feedback, this is not the case with online. You have to either call and leave a message or send an email and wait for a reply (normally 48 hrs). Why should someone who attends 1 class on campus and the rest of the course is done online receive full BAH and someone who does strickly online classes receive half BAH. Try doing an online class and then voice your opinion. I am working, taking care of a family, and going to school online, therefore my time spent on my classes is limited. We should all want the same thing, for the system to be fair and equal. We all have served our time. I served 34 years.

  24. I am thankful that they now include online students in the housing stipened.I think everyone is missing the point on how they came to this decision though. The current housing allowance for brick and mortar students is based upon the school's zip code. This ensure's that the student actually lives in the area. Now for online students, one may live in Texas and go to school in California. So is it fair to pay BAH for California when you live in small town Texas? No. So what about making the payment based upon the students physical address zip code? That won't work either. Why? Because students will move to expensive places just because they know they will get BAH (Like Cali, Florida or New York) I think we should be more appreciative of the benefits we have. Not so long ago, the Post 9-11 Gi Bill didn't even exist. I used benefits from the Montgomery GI Bill, and then later forfeited those for the 9/11, which is FAR better than anything before. For those that criticize online students, you should be ashamed of yourself. Everyone's life circumstances doesn't allow them to attend in person. Some people work full time, others have babies or young children, and still others prefer the online learning environment.

  25. are the cost of books paid for by the 9/11 tution program????

  26. cuts in benefits for Americans but I noticed you don't hear of any cuts in fireign aid to the 192 countries we give money to. We only give away 50 billion A YEAR! even China the country we borrow from gets millions of dollars from us, not to mention Cuba and Viet Nam, really??? guess we have to make due with what we hve because all those countries in Africa need our money for their families. Keep working America, the rest of th world is needing your money.

  27. For those of you saying that if you didn't deploy you shouldn't be able to receive the post 9/11 GI Bill, stop being so pompous. Everyone who served in the military and received an honorable discharge played a pertinent roll in their unit’s mission. I understand that there is a war going on, and I commend all of you who deployed to a war zone, but there are billets to be filled at home that make the logistics of your deployments possible. We all served, home or away, therefore we all deserve the same education benefits. You shouldn’t have to catch bullets to get an education.

  28. Rakkasan3187 says:

    I used the post 9/11 for two years. The BAH you receive depends on how many credits you are taking at the college. In order to receive the full BAH amount you must be taking 12 credit hours, which is full time. If you choose to take say 9 credit hours you will receive 75% of the BAH and so on. However in order to receive any BAH you must be taking a minimum of 50% of whatever your college considers full time, which is usually 12 credit hours, so you need to take 6 credit hours to receive anything. I've taken hybrid, or virtual classes, this does not affect your BAH as long as you are enrolled at an actual college. It's different to take some online classes at an actual college as opposed to enrolling in an online college that only offers online classes. I know that it doesn't seem to make sense but that's how it works.

    • I agree and not arguing with you but just wanted to point out that BAH is also affected by the living cost of the zip code the school is located in. Or so I was informed when I first returned to school.

  29. Proud to Serve says:

    Lots of opinion and good comments. But from the perspective of a 30 year very recent retiree (last week), who is now on the active job market, a couple comments:

    A. School credential is specific to your intended industry. Many folks I hired during my career and in my professional network now have varying kinds of ‘formal’ education needed. Some 6 figure positions I hired (and even applying for now personally) didn’t really have lots of education requirements but needed field experience rounded out with basic knowledge in writing, occasional presentations, and capability to use proprietary systems. Retail, sales, administration, tech reps, etc generally may or may not need Bachelors level. Lean Six certs, Certified Govt Financial Manager (CGFM) certs, etc all open doors to good jobs and can be obtained both ways.

    B. Research your intended industry thoroughly before enrolling in ANY program. Recognize that online vs brick/mortar education valuation greatly depends on where you apply. Many upper-crust/ name brand recognized brick schools also offer online programs so you could get a degree/certificate that has that ‘door opening’ appeal potential. But be honest with yourself…your prior HS record, test scores, etc dictates a lot of what we can or can’t get into. We may want a Harvard degree but even if we could get a Yellow Ribbon price, can we get in or cut the work?

    C. Lastly, dont discount your military training courses AND security clearances, leadership schools, contracting warrants, material handling certs, etc. With HSPD12 requirements in place, lots of companies are having trouble finding folks with clean background and financial records to gain either Govt work access or even pass industry requirements like port terminal & highways certifications.

    Just my observations and experience a surfing my new civilian world. Good luck all!

    Just my observations surfing the tight job market

  30. Enter text right hThis is to all those that are complain about this new version of the post 9-11 GI bill. For all of us that are taking advantage of the post 9-11 GI bill; remember this program is funded by tax dollars collected from Americans or barrowed from China. Watch the news, learn to feel a little grateful verses the continual sense of entitlement. Me me me, mine mine mine, give me….please! Our nation could pull the plug all together because we are broke, anyone ever consider that?ere!

  31. Quit whining…..everyone is getting a cut in benefits…you have been pampered too long… manyr vets from other wars resent the preferential treatment you have received…it is another slap in the face to us.

  32. shooter1974 says:

    I was wounded in Afghanistan. Was hospitalized for 18 months and put on loads of drugs like methodone, oxycontin, and morphine. I devekloped a drug habit and was kicked out of the army with general under honorabkle. I cant even get the GI Bill. Is that fair?

  33. I have used Ch 30 (Viet Nam Era GI Bill) benefits for attending college full time. I received an AAS and am working towards a BS degree. I now have 9 more classes to finish the degree, and 1 day of CH 30 benefits remaining.
    I served on Active duty from 1975 through 2007 & have eligibility for two programs.
    Does anybody know if Ch30 vets are still able to request an additional 12 mos of post 9/11 education benefits when they completely exhaust their CH 30 benefits?

  34. I recently moved to Florida after leaving ft Drum NY where i was continuing my education, The recent changes to the gi bill make it so my non florida resident status make it impossible for me to afford school for another 9 months until i can get residency, is there anything ic an do to keep my out of state tuition?

  35. N. Nelson says:

    I have to agree with those wondering why online and brick and mortar are paid differently. If I go to a brick and mortar school I have…what? … maybe an extra hour of drive time to and from school? I mean maybe some people that do online courses slack…but some people going to brick and mortar slack (ask my 18 yr old…lol). 12 hours of school is 12 hours of school…period. As a matter of fact I don't think it is easier to go to school at home…. just you see your kids less. At a brick and mortar school…if I work…I never see my kids (I am an army widow) but I do get work done w/o interuptions of vomit and snot… and 'moooommmmmmyyyyyy'. If I go to school online and work… I am doing school work w/ the kids home and guess what?? It is MUCH harder! I doubt any mom would disagree with that! Some dads may… but…well..nevermind. Anyway… again… if I go to school while the kids are in school and work at night… then I'm back to never seeing the kids. SO please… explain in detail how the hell it makes a difference that I go in my pj's after being up all night with the baby vs getting in a car and driving a few miles to one of the local universities? IF you go to a brick and mortar…MOST of the time you are going to live near the school.