Comparing GI Bills – Post 9/11 vs. Montgomery

By on Aug 16, 2013 | Military Finance | 6 comments

Comparing GI Bills – Post 9/11 vs. Montgomery

In addition to Tuition Assistance, US active duty (and some reserve) military service members can use the GI Bill program to finance their education. While Tuition Assistance can be used to pursue a college degree during military service, the GI Bill can be used to pay for college after leaving the military. There are two GI Bill programs – the Post 9/11 GI Bill and the Montgomery GI Bill. Let’s see how they stack up against each other.

You can always find the most complete and up-to-date information on both GI Bill programs on the official GI Bill website.

Eligibility Requirements

The majority of active duty service members will qualify for either of the two GI Bill programs:

Post 9/11 GI BillMontgomery GI Bill
  • Served at least 90 aggregate days on active duty after September 10, 2001
OR
  • Were honorably discharged from active duty for a service-connected disability after serving 30 continuous days following September 10, 2001
AND
  • Received an honorable discharge
  • Entered active duty for the first time after June 30, 1985
  • Had military pay reduced by $100 a month for the first 12 months
  • Continuously served for 3 years, or 2 years if that is what you first enlisted for, or 2 years if you entered the Selected Reserve within a year of leaving active duty and served 4 years (“2 by 4″ Program)
OR
  • Entered active duty before January 1, 1977
  • Served at least 1 day between 10/19/84 and 6/30/85, and stayed on active duty through 6/30/88, (or 6/30/87 if you entered the Selected Reserve within 1 year of leaving active duty and served 4 years)
  • On 12/31/89, you had entitlement left from Vietnam-Era GI Bill
OR
  • Not eligible under the above two categories
  • Were on active duty on 9/30/90 and separated involuntarily after 2/2/91, OR
  • Involuntarily separated on or after 11/30/93, OR
  • Voluntarily separated under either the Voluntary Separation Incentive (VSI) or Special Separation Benefit (SSB) program
  • Before separation, you had military pay reduced by $1200
OR
  • Were on active duty on 10/9/96 and had money remaining in a VEAP account on that date and elected MGIB by 10/9/97, OR
  • Entered full-time National Guard duty under USC title 32, between 7/1/85 and 11/28/89 and elected MGIB during the period 10/9/96 through 7/8/97
  • Had military pay reduced by $100 a month for 12 months or made a $1200 lump-sum contribution
AND
  • Received an honorable discharge
  • Received a High School Diploma or GED

Approved Uses

You can use both the Post 9/11 and Montgomery GI Bills for a variety of degree and training programs listed below. If you are unsure whether or not your program is covered, check the official GI Bill website.

Post 9/11 GI BillMontgomery GI Bill
  • Graduate and Undergraduate Degrees
  • Vocational and Technical Training
  • Apprenticeship and On-The-Job Training
  • Flight Training
  • Correspondence Training
  • Licensing & Certification Tests
  • Entrepreneurship Training
  • Tutorial Assistance
  • Graduate and Undergraduate Degrees
  • Vocational and Technical Training
  • Apprenticeship and On-The-Job Training
  • Flight Training
  • Correspondence Training
  • High-Tech Training
  • Licensing & Certification Tests
  • Entrepreneurship Training
  • Certain Entrance Examinations

GI Bill Benefits

The payable benefits of the two GI Bill programs are very different, so pay particular attention to this section to determine which one is better for you:

Post 9/11 GI BillMontgomery GI Bill
  • Up to 100% of tuition & fees paid directly to the school for all public school in-state students (percentage reduced if less than 3 years of active duty service)
  • Up to $19,198.31 per academic year (with some exceptions) of tuition & fees paid directly to the school for all private schools and out-of-state students
  • Up to $19,198.31 per academic year in-state tuition & fees for non-college degree granting institutions
  • Up to 100% (reduced based on length of training) of fees for apprenticeship and on-the job training programs
  • Up to $10,970.46 per academic year of fees for vocational flight schools
  • Up to $9,324.89 per academic year of fees for correspondence schools
AND
AND
AND
  • A one-time rural benefit payment of $500, payable to certain individuals relocating from highly rural areas if they reside in a county with 6 persons or less per square mile
  • Up to $1,564.00 monthly rate of tuition & fees for full-time students for all institutions (reduced if less than 3 years of active duty service or if less than a full-time student)
  • Up to $1,173.00 monthly rate (reduced based on length of training) of fees for apprenticeship and on-the job training programs
  • Up to $1,564.00 monthly rate of fees for vocational flight schools
  • Up to $1,564.00 monthly rate of fees for correspondence schools
  • Up to $1,270.00 monthly rate of fees for cooperative training

Additional Program Highlights

Some other important things to consider are:

Post 9/11 GI BillMontgomery GI Bill
Duration of Benefits36 months36 months
Payable During15 years following release from active duty10 years following release from active duty
Reserve EligibilityNoneAvailable for members of the Selected Reserve (Army Reserve, Navy Reserve, Air Force Reserve, Marine Corps Reserve, Coast Guard Reserve, Army National Guard, Air National Guard)
Benefits TransferEligible service members may transfer unused benefits to their spouses or dependent childrenNone
Kicker ProgramsThe Yellow Ribbon Program: Institutions of Higher Learning may elect to participate in this program to make additional funds available for your education without an additional charge to your GI Bill entitlement. Available to veterans entitled to the maximum benefit rate or their designated transferees.The Buy Up Program: some service members may contribute up to an additional $600 to the MGIB to receive increased monthly benefits. For an additional $600 contribution, you may receive up to $5400 in additional GI Bill benefits. The additional contribution must be made while on active duty.

Which GI Bill Program is Right for Me?

Many service members who enlisted in the US Military after September 10, 2001 favor the Post 9/11 GI Bill due to its flexibility, additional benefits (in the form of the Monthly Housing Allowance and a yearly books and supplies stipend) and the ability to transfer benefits to their spouses or children. This is the GI Bill program that I chose prior to separating from active duty.

If you are not eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill, the Montgomery GI Bill is still excellent for paying for higher education and a variety of training programs. Make sure you thoroughly review both the Post 9/11 and the Montgomery GI Bill program specifics before making your decision.

Which GI Bill program have you chosen to participate in? What were the reasons for your decision?

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6 Comments on “Comparing GI Bills – Post 9/11 vs. Montgomery”

  1. James Molet

    There is some good information here that all eligible service members should take advantage of. As a retired veteran that has utilized both, I can attest to their ease of use and the benefits of attaining higher education.

    • Anton Ivanov

      I think educational benefits are underutilized by the military. Between Tuition Assistance and the GI Bills, service members have years and years of free education.

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!

  2. Eric

    Just wanted to say it might be better for Texas resident veterans to use Chapter 30 in conjunction with the Hazlewood Act since in many areas in Texas the BAH rate from the Post 9/11 GI Bill is lower than the Chapter 30 rate. After you exhaust Chapter 30, you can convert it to the Post 9/11 and get an additional year on top of that.

    • Anton Ivanov

      That’s some good information, Eric! Thanks for taking the time to stop by and share it.

  3. Richard Paterson

    I agree. This is a wonderful post. I have just started to use my benefits. I feel you can not beat this deal – free education, books paid for, and BAH of an E-5 with dependents. I would recommend taking advantage of these benefits before Uncle Sugar takes them away.

    • Anton Ivanov

      Ya, with all the drama going on with the federal budget, I wouldn’t be surprised if the GI Bill programs took a hit if DoD spending dried up. But I hope not!

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