In the first post of this series, How The Post 9/11 GI Bill Can Benefit You, the bill was summarized in simple terms and the benefits were outlined. This second installment on the GI Bills serves to provide other options in addition to the Post 9/11 GI Bill for pursuing your education, and offers additional resources, funding, and explains the process of transferring your benefits.
Other GI Bills:
While the Post 9/11 GI Bill is the most recent, depending on when you enlisted, you may have some decisions to make regarding which GI Bill you choose in your quest to continue your education. If you enlisted before the year 2008, you are most likely signed under the Active Duty Montgomery GI Bill (ADMGIB), or the Selected Reserve GI Bill (SRMGIB). There are several factors to consider before deciding to switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill, because for some areas of education, the other bills provide greater benefits.
As explained in the Dummies Guide to Veterans Benefits, the Post 9/11 GI Bill is applicable only to those wanting to attend schools in the United States that are able to grant an associate's degree or higher, and cannot be used to compensate for overseas college educations, apprenticeships, or on-the-job training programs. Such programs are covered under the Active Duty Montgomery GI Bill (ADMGIB) and the Selected Reserve GI Bill (SRMGIB). A student must determine which program they are interested in pursuing, and what degree they wish to attain, in order to decide which GI Bill to utilize as part of their benefits.
Additional Programs and Funding:
The Yellow Ribbon Program was created to help supplement some of the benefits of the Post 9/11 GI Bill. Veterans eligibility for the Yellow Ribbon Program is dependent on whether their school offers the program, and the institution must work with the VA to determine the amount of tuition and fees that will be contributed to the individual. The VA will match whatever is provided through the Yellow Ribbon Program and then send the payments directly to the institution. This program is applicable to those looking to attend private institutions, where the Post 9/11 GI Bill will only cover up to $19,198.31 of combined tuition and related fees for each academic year. To learn more about the Yellow Ribbon Program, its specific stipulations and to see which colleges and universities offer it, visit the VA's website for more information.
For the process of deciding which school to attend, Military Friendly Schools lists the schools that are the most receptive to veterans and military members. You can sort the schools on a variety of criteria, including location, virtual classes, area of study and more. In addition, Transitioning Veteran's blog mentions that a veteran collecting the GI Bill or Post 9/11 GI Bill may still be eligible for Federal Financial Aid and other educational assistance. For more information and advice on how to apply for additional funding, please visit http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/.
Transfer of Benefits:
Provided that you are an eligible member of the Armed Forces, either in active duty or selected reserve, you do have the option to transfer some, or all of your benefits to either your spouse or children. To qualify for the transfer of benefits, several criteria must be satisfied, and the options available vary, depending on who the benefits are being transferred to. To check the criteria and see what your options are for transferring, read the full list of requirements on Military Online Education.
Deciding to continue your education is a big step, but it doesn't have to be overwhelming. Be sure to utilize the resources provided in this post, and to always check your eligibility and benefits available for each program before deciding the school and program for you.