The Post-9/11 GI Bill and Educational Benefits for Veterans
If you served in the U.S. military after September 10, 2001, you may be eligible for educational benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill. This bill is an alternative to the Montgomery GI Bill, and it is mutually exclusive. You cannot get benefits from both programs. Also, if you get benefits under the post-9/11 bill, you cannot change to the Montgomery bill.
Benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill can apply to undergraduate and graduate education at colleges and universities, as well as vocational training programs, licensing and testing programs, and other forms of education that award degrees. These benefits can cover all of your tuition and fees at a public university in your state or up to $17,500 at other universities. You also will receive a monthly housing allowance if you are attending the program full-time, as well as an annual stipend for educational supplies. If you are moving away from a rural area to pursue an education, you may be entitled to an additional one-time payment of $500.
Eligibility for Benefits
You will be eligible for these benefits if you spent 90 days on active duty after September 10, 2001, which may include National Guard active service. Also, you may be eligible if you served for at least 30 days but less than 90 days, and you were discharged because of a service-related disability or you received a Purple Heart on or after September 11, 2001 and were honorably discharged after any length of service. You must have an honorable discharge unless your discharge was based on a hardship, a disability, or another extenuating circumstance. If your service ended before January 1, 2013, you can use these benefits for 15 years after the end of your most recent period of service that lasted for at least 90 days, or 15 years from the date of your discharge based on a service-related disability. If your service ended on or after January 1, 2013, your benefits will not expire.
Amount of Benefits
If you served for at least 36 months on active duty, received a discharge based on a service-related disability after at least 31 days, or received a Purple Heart, you can receive the full amount of benefits. If you did not serve for at least 36 months, the percentage of benefits will be calculated according to the time that you served. It will amount to somewhere between 50 percent and 90 percent.
If you served for at least 36 months, you may be eligible for the Yellow Ribbon GI Education Enhancement Program as well. This can provide assistance if you do not get in-state tuition at a public educational institution or if your tuition at a private institution is not fully covered by your benefits.
Benefits for Children and Spouses of Deceased Veterans
If you are a child or spouse of a servicemember who passed away while they were in service after September 10, 2001, is missing in action or was captured in the line of duty, was detained by force by a foreign government or power in the line of duty, or is in the hospital or receiving outpatient treatment for a service-connected disability for which they will likely be discharged, you can receive benefits under this law as well. If you are a child or spouse of a veteran who has a service-connected total and permanent disability or who passed away while on active duty or due to a service-connected disability, you may qualify for education benefits.