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The GI Bill and How it Works

GI Bill (MGIB) Facts and FAQs

GI Bill Value:
If you are qualified for the MGIB (Categories 1 and 4) and you have completed more than three years active duty, your total benefits are currently $47,556 as of October 1, 2008-2009. This amount is based on the 2008-2009 monthly full-time student payment rate of $1321 multiplied by the 36-month limit. This “payment rate” automatically increases on the first of October each year. You get the annual increase no matter when you became eligible or begin using it. The term "36 months of benefits" refers to academic months. This means you will have up to 8 semesters (four years) of traditional academic education.

How the GI Bill works for Active Duty:
If you are currently on active duty the VA will pay up to the cost of your education tuition and fees (with a limit of $985 per month as a full-time student).

Example 1: If you are a full-time student (see note below) and your tuition is $4800 (or more) per semester, you would receive the full $985 per month from the VA. However, if your tuition costs are only $3000 for the semester, you would receive $500 per month.

(The GI Bill benefit payment will not exceed your tuition costs no matter how many semester hours of studies you carry).

Example 2: If you are a half-time student (carrying less than 6 units) and your tuition is $600, you would receive your $600 spread out over the length of the semester.

Note: Typically 12 semester hours is considered full time, 9 semester hours is ¾ time, and 6 hours is ½ time. The current benefit payment rate is $985 per month (for the basic benefit) for 12 hours (full time), 9 semester hours is $738.75, and 6 semester hours is $492.50

How it works for Veterans:
If you have successfully completed your military service and are a full-time student (as defined by your school), the VA will pay you the full $1321 per month regardless of the tuition costs.

Example: If you were a full time student and your tuition costs was $100 you would still receive the full $1321 per month while enrolled in school.

Note: Typically 12 semester hours is considered full time, 9 semester hours is ¾ time, and 6 hours is ½ time. The current benefit payment rate is $1321 per month (for the basic benefit) for 12 hours (full time), 9 semester hours is $990.75, and 6 semester hours is $660.50.

For GI Bill Payment Rates Click here...

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

Is the MGIB considered Financial Aid?
The MGIB is not considered financial aid, which means that it is paid directly to you. This also means that you can use student loans, scholarships, and Pell Grants along with the MGIB. For help in locating scholarships, see the Scholarship Search.

How long do I have to use my benefits?
Once you have separated from the service you have 10 years to use all of your benefits. Although separating from service "starts the clock" on your 10-year time limit, be aware that if you re-join Active-duty service for more than 90 days during the 10 year period, your 10 year clock is reset. In other words you get 10 years from your last discharge.

Example: Seaman Smith left the active duty and joined the Navy Reserve. Three years later she returned to active duty with seven years remaining on the MGIB clock. At that point the clock is reset at the 10 year mark when she leaves the service again, at which point the clock will start ticking again, meaning she now has a fresh 10 years left to use ALL of her benefits, or she will loose her remaining balance, which then returns to Uncle Sam.

What does a "month" of benefits mean?
Every time you use the current FY maximum "payment rate" ($1321) of MGIB benefits you use a month."If you are a veteran and you receive $5,284 (or more), and your full-time MGIB rate is $1,321, divide $5,284 by $1,321. Your entitlement charge is four months.

Here is what the VA says:
"If you receive $1,950, and your full-time MGIB rate is $650, divide $1950 by $650. Your entitlement charge is three months. If you receive $325 for a test for Top-Up, and your full-time rate is $650, divide $325 by $650. Your entitlement charge is one-half month."

How often will I receive payments?
Monthly, however each month that you are enrolled in classes you are required to verify your "status" this can be accomplished through Web Automated Verification of Enrollment (W.A.V.E.) or by telephone. Within 3-5 days you will receive a direct deposit of your monthly benefits. However you will not receive your payment until you verify.

Will I have to pay taxes on my MGIB benefits?
NO! your MGIB benefits are NOT taxable!

What are the current "payment rates"?
The MGIB Payment rates increase every year; click to see the current and future "payment rates."

Can you be eligible for more than one benefit?
You may be eligible for more than one VA education benefit. If you are, you must elect which benefit to receive. You can't receive payment for more than one benefit at a time. The other benefits are:

  • Training and Rehabilitation for Veterans With Service-Connected Disabilities
  • Post-Vietnam Era Veterans' Educational Assistance Program
  • Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance
  • Montgomery GI Bill-Active Duty Educational Assistance Program
  • Educational Assistance Test Program
  • Educational Assistance Pilot Program
  • The Omnibus Diplomatic Security and Antiterrorism Act of 1986
  • Post-9/11 GI Bill
  • Certification Programs

How do I get started?
You can apply for the GI Bill by filling out and following the instructions on VA Form 22-1990, Application for Education Benefits. For more details, see How to Apply for GI Bill Benefits and get started using your benefits today!

   
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