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What the Post-9/11 GI Bill Means to You

GI's graduating

Photo by MSgt. Jerry Morrison

On Aug. 1, 2009, the Post-9/11 GI Bill went into effect, creating the most comprehensive education benefits program since President Franklin. D. Roosevelt signed the original bill in 1944. If you are an active member or veteran of the National Guard or reserve, it is important that you are aware of what this new bill means to you.

Overview of the Post-9/11 GI Bill

The Post-9/11 GI Bill provides education benefits to service members with at least 90 days of aggregate service since Sept. 11, 2001, or individuals discharged with a service-connected disability after 30 days. You must have received an honorable discharge to be eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill. These benefits are tiered based on the number of days served on active duty, creating a benefit package that gives current and previously activated National Guard and reserve members the same benefits as active duty service members with the same length of active duty service.

The new GI Bill offers extra benefits for those serving after Sept. 11, 2001, and covers education that starts on or after Aug. 1, 2009. The new bill does not have an enrollment fee. Under this new bill, veterans and service members can receive a host of educational benefits, including:

  • Tuition and fees directly to the school not to exceed the maximum in-state tuition and fees at a public institution of higher learning.
  • Tuition and fees for private or foreign schools are capped at $17,500 and directly paid to the school. For students whose tuition and fees exceed $17,500 per academic year at a private school in Arizona, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina or Texas and have been enrolled in the same program since January 4, 2011, schools will be reimbursed either the actual cost of the program or the maximum in-state tuition and fee reimbursement rate for the 2010-2011 school year, whichever is greater.
  • A monthly housing allowance based on the basic allowance for housing for an E-5 with dependents at the location of the school.
  • An annual books and supplies stipend of $1,000 paid proportionately based on enrollment.
  • A one-time rural benefit payment of $500 if you reside in a county with six persons or less per square mile and either physically relocate at least 500 miles to attend an educational institution, or travel by air to physically attend an educational institution if no other land-based transportation exists.1

How to Apply

To apply online, refer to the veterans online application or call 1-888-GI-BILL-1 (1-888-442-4551) to have a form mailed to you. You may also obtain a form from the VA certifying official at your school, usually located in the Registrar's or Financial Aid office. The estimated time to complete the form is 30 minutes, but it is important that you have all the information and necessary documents prepared before beginning the application.

For guidance, check out VA’s page, "Apply for Benefits," which can help you determine what benefit is best for you and how to apply for it. Many veterans and active duty personnel can qualify for education benefits programs in addition to the Post-9/11 GI Bill, including the Montgomery GI Bill, the Reserve Educational Assistance Program and the Veterans’ Educational Assistance Program. While you are the only person who can choose which program meets your needs, VA developed a step-by-step process that may help you compare the different education programs. The Road Map for Success includes links to additional information that can aid in making a decision.2

If you have questions about completing the form or a component of the Post 9/11 GI Bill, contact VA by calling 1-888-GI-BILL-1 (1-888-442-4551).

How the Changes Benefit Service Members and Veterans

All benefit payments are based on the amount of creditable active duty service each veteran has since Sept. 10, 2001. If you are an active duty, National Guard, Selected Reserve member or veteran who has served on active duty for 90 or more days since Sept. 10, 2001, refer to the following table:3

Post-9/11 Service

Percentage of Maximum Amount Payable

At least 36 cumulative months (includes entry level or skills training time)


At least 30 continuous days on active duty and discharged due to service-connected disability (includes entry level of skills training time)


At least 30 cumulative months (includes entry level or skills training time)


At least 24 cumulative months (cannot include entry level or skills training time)


At least 18 cumulative months (cannot include entry level or skills training time)


At least 12 cumulative months (cannot include entry level or skills training time)


At least 6 cumulative months (cannot include entry level or skills training time)


90 aggregate days (cannot include entry level or skills training time)


Additional benefits resources from the VA include rate tables and benefit comparison tools.

Three Important Initiatives to Consider

1. Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program
The Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program, is a provision of the Post-9/11 GI Bill that allows institutions of higher learning in the United States to voluntarily enter into an agreement with VA to fund tuition expenses that exceed the highest public in-state undergraduate tuition rate.  The institution can contribute up to 50% of those expenses and VA will match the same amount as the institution. To find out more and to learn if you are eligible, refer to the VA’s Yellow Ribbon page.

2. Post-9/11 GI Bill Transferability to Family Members
A special provision of the new bill allows career service members the opportunity to share their education benefits with immediate family members. To determine if you and your family member(s) are eligible and for more information on transferability, refer to the VA website or the DoD website.

3. Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB)
MGIB benefits are available for service members and veterans to help with education and training costs by providing nearly $50,000 in cash and numerous support programs. Under this bill, members enroll and pay $100 per month for 12 months, and are then entitled to receive a monthly education benefit once they have completed a minimum service obligation. For those already receiving — or planning on receiving — MGIB benefits from the original program, benefits are transferable to the Post-9/11 GI Bill program. For more information, visit the MGIB page on the GI BIll website.

Take Advantage Soon

The GI Bill is a benefit that helps all military personnel continue their education and go on to pursue exciting, successful careers. The new Post-9/11 GI Bill offers greater benefits than ever — keeping up with the changes is one key to making sure you don’t miss out on all that’s available to you.

Additional Resources


1"Post-9/11 GI Bill." (n.d.). Education and Training. Department of Veterans Affairs.
1"Apply for Benefits." (2015, July 15). Education and Training. Department of Veterans Affairs.
3"Post 9/11 GI Bill Eligibility for Active Duty Veterans," GI Bill Frequently Asked Questions, GI Bill Customer Help. Department of Veterans Affairs. Last accessed Nov. 30, 2015.

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