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Which GI Bill is best for you?

Choose the best GI Bill program that works best for you and your family. Photo credit: Facebook

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You proudly served your country, but what's next? Now it's time to put the GI Bill to use and get the education you've earned. The Department of Veterans Affairs has several programs that can cover the cost of education and training for both active military and veterans, take care of housing fees and in some cases, allow you to transfer education benefits to your family.

Take a look at the benefits of each program and decide what works best for you.

Post-9/11 GI Bill

If you've served at least 90 days of active-duty service after Sept. 10, 2001, and received an honorable discharge, then you can use the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

This education benefit can cover up to 100% of your tuition and up to $1,000 for your monthly rent - depending on how many months of active duty you've served. (At least 36 months of active duty after 9/10/2001 gives you 100% of the benefit.) Here are your benefits at a glance:

Post-9/11 Benefits

Years to Use Benefits

Covers Up to 100% Tuition and Fees

School Supplies Stipend

Monthly Housing Allowance

Yellow Ribbon


Transfer of Entitlement Option



Up to $1000/yr.




*If your service ended before Jan. 1, 2013, you have 15 years to use the benefit. If your service ended on or after Jan. 1, 2013, the benefit won't expire.

If you're a veteran at the 100% benefit level, you may also be eligible for the Yellow Ribbon Program to cover fees that may exceed your benefit - a private school, for example. Schools must agree to participate in this program.

Unlike other GI Bill programs, the Post-9/11 GI Bill gives you the option to transfer unused education benefits to your spouse and one or more of your children. You must still be a service member to transfer unused benefits and must have served at least six years. As of Jan. 12, 2020, you will not be eligible to transfer benefits if you have served more than 16 years. Other conditions apply, so contact a Military OneSource education consultant to learn more about this benefit.

Veterans and FRY Scholars who have or will soon exhaust their benefits and are currently enrolled in a STEM degree program or are seeking a teaching certification are eligible to receive the Rogers STEM scholarship. Family members who received transferred entitlement are not eligible for additional educational assistance under the STEM Scholarship.

You can use your Post-9/11 GI Bill for college or an advanced degree, technical training, on-the-job training or a certification, licensing and certification, flight training and more. Visit the VA's website to learn more on how you, as a veteran, can use this education benefit to reach your career goals.

Montgomery GI Bill

If you've served at least two years of active duty and have a high school diploma or GED, you can use the MGIB program. With this education benefit, you could get over $61,000 to pay for educational programs.

Montgomery GI Bill Benefits

Years to Use Benefits

Covers Tuition and Fees

School Supplies Stipend

Monthly Housing Allowance

Yellow Ribbon

Transfer of Entitlement Option

10 years

36 months (8 semesters)





The length of your service, the type of training you take and college fund eligibility will decide the amount of money you'll receive monthly. If you did the $600 Buy-Up Program while you were in active duty, you may receive more monthly benefits.

Benefits can pay for programs such as college or technical courses, flight training and apprenticeship/job training.

Effective Jan.5, 2023, the election period to receive benefits under the MGIB will begin 180 days after the service member enters initial training and last 90-days. Basic pay reductions will be for the first 12 months after 270 days of the service member entering initial training.

The MGIB program will be phased out beginning Oct. 1, 2030. This means no new participants may enter the program after Sept. 30, 2030. However, participants already enrolled before Sept. 30, 2030, will continue to be eligible to use the benefit past this date.

Compare your options

Whether you decide to use the Post-9/11 GI Bill or the Montgomery GI Bill program, both programs give you the option to start and stop as needed.

Comparing your estimated benefits by school will help you make the best decision for you (or your family) about which program to choose. Visit to compare estimated benefits by education program.

On-the-job training and apprenticeship

Are you interested in jumpstarting your career by learning a specific trade or skill? Consider using your VA education benefits to participate in on-the-job and apprenticeship training programs.

Instead of attending formal classes, you'll enter a training contract and gain experience working with an employer. During this period of training, you'll receive a salary from the employer. As you work on your skills, your salary may also rise.

At the end of your apprenticeship, the VA will give you a job certificate or journeyman status and issue monthly GI Bill payments.

How will you use the GI Bill?

Deciding on how best to use the GI Bill takes some attention. Here's a good chart ( to help you along. can also get you started with applying and can direct you to more help.

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