The GI Bill Explained: A Guide to Military Education Benefits
September 18, 2018 | Purdue University Global
Current members of the armed forces and veterans may be entitled to education benefits through the Post-9/11 GI Bill®.
There are several GI Bills, but most current military members and recent veterans will fall under the Post-9/11 GI Bill, which was enacted in 2009. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the Post-9/11 GI Bill is the best option for many servicemembers. Current military members and recent veterans may be eligible for education benefits after only 90 days of active aggregate service, or 30 days if they were discharged for disability reasons.
This article provides an overview of Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits, including how much of your educational costs at Purdue University Global are covered at the 100% eligibility level.
Who Is Eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill and What Are Its Benefits?
The Post-9/11 GI Bill provides education benefits for servicemembers who have served on active duty for at least 90 days since September 10, 2001, or at least 30 days prior to being discharged due to a service-related disability.
Each servicemember's level of entitlement is based on length of service. We will expand on these levels in the section following this one, but first let’s examine the three main benefits of the Post-9/11 GI Bill:
1. Tuition and Fees
The Post-9/11 GI Bill includes benefits for tuition and fees. The GI Bill will pay up to the highest tuition rate and fees of any public college. This means that your tuition at Purdue Global, which is a public university, is 100% covered if you are at the 100% entitlement level (see table below for levels of entitlement).
The bill covers a maximum of 36 months of full-time attendance, but your months of eligibility will be adjusted if you're attending part-time. So, as a part-time student, you'd be covered for a maximum of 72 months. If you already have an undergraduate degree, you can use your GI Bill benefits on a master's degree. Whether you're using your benefits for an undergraduate or graduate program, you're allowed 36 months of full-time enrollment.
If you are attending a private school, the Post-9/11 GI Bill will pay up to $24,476.79 toward tuition for the VA Academic Year 2019.
2. Books and Study Materials
The GI Bill includes benefits for books and study materials. In addition to tuition, the bill provides you up to an extra $1,000 a year to help cover books and materials. The stipend is equal to $41.67 per credit hour for a maximum of 24 credits each academic year and is prorated based on your length of service percentage. This is a lump sum paid to you directly at the beginning of each quarter/term/semester that you are enrolled. Note: individuals currently on active duty are not eligible for this stipend. At Purdue Global, textbooks and course materials are included in the price of tuition for undergraduate courses, which means you could utilize this amount for additional support and supplies as you earn your degree.
The GI Bill includes benefits for housing. The Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA) is based on the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) for an E-5 with dependents, your length of service percentage, and the zip code of the school where you are enrolled. The number of courses you are taking and whether these are online will also affect the amount of your MHA.
The MHA is paid directly to you at the beginning of each month for the prior month’s expenses. Note: individuals currently on active duty are not eligible for this stipend. Additional information can be found on the GI Bill website.
How to Figure Out Your Enrollment Percentage
The above benefits and your level of entitlement are based on the number of months you have served on active duty since September 10, 2001. Consult the following to determine which percentage of coverage you're entitled to under the Post-9/11 GI Bill (includes Reserve and Guard):
At least 36 months on active duty = 100% of maximum benefit payable
At least 30 continuous days on active duty and discharged due to service-connected disability = 100% of maximum benefit payable
30-36 months = 90% of maximum benefit payable
24-30 months = 80% of maximum benefit payable
18-24 months = 70% of maximum benefit payable
12-18 months = 60% of maximum benefit payable
6-12 months = 50% of maximum benefit payable
90 days to 6 months = 40% of maximum benefit payable
For example, if you have served 33 months active duty after September 10, 2001, your Post-9/11 GI Bill percentage is 90%. This means that if you are attending a public university, 90% of your tuition and fees would be covered.
Note: if you were released from active duty prior to January 1, 2013, there is a 15-year time limit to use your benefits. The time limit has been removed for those released on or after January 1, 2013.
The Yellow Ribbon Program
As previously mentioned, under the Post-9/11 GI Bill, the bill will cover up to 100% of tuition at public schools. If eligible students wish to attend a private school, the VA will pay up to $23,671.94 of the cost of tuition per year.
The Yellow Ribbon GI Education Program is a part of Post-9/11 educational assistance efforts for servicemembers. It allows private universities to enter into a voluntary agreement with the VA to cover up to 50% of the tuition expenses that exceed the annual maximum cap for private universities. The VA will then match that amount (up to 50%), which could reduce costs completely if the school opts to reduce those costs by the maximum 50%. Only servicemembers with the maximum entitlement are eligible to receive these additional education benefits.
Transferring Benefits to Family Members
If you already have a degree or a stable occupation that provides for your family, passing your Post-9/11 GI Bill education benefits on to a loved one could help open up new career prospects and enhance their quality of life. You can transfer part or all of your unused education benefits to your spouse or dependent children under certain conditions. These are:
You have been serving for 6 years (active duty and/or Selected Reserve) and have committed to serve an additional 4 years
You have been serving for at least 10 years (active duty and/or Selected Reserve), are unable to commit to 4 more years of service due to policy or statute, but agree to serve the maximum time allowed by the policy/statue
The person receiving the benefits is enrolled in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS)
The transfer request is submitted and approved while you are serving as an active member of the Armed Forces
If you meet these requirements and are considering passing your benefits on to your spouse or child, their tuition and fees at Purdue Global, a public institution, will be fully covered. You can also choose to pass on a fraction of your benefits to one or several family members and still use the remaining benefits yourself. For more about transferring benefits to family members, visit the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website.
Purdue Global Is Dedicated to Supporting the Needs of Military and Veteran Students
We are pleased to award you as much credit as possible for what you have already learned during your military career. In addition, we have a dedicated military student support center affairs team on staff. On average, our military-related graduates are awarded 50% of the credit needed for an associate’s degree and 35% of the credit needed for a bachelor’s degree.
Purdue Global has a military refund policy in the case of deployment or change of orders and a special military leave of absence policy.
The flexibility provided by an online education makes Purdue Global a great fit for those who are looking to balance higher education with duty and family. Learn more about our military college programs or request information.
Purdue University Global delivers a fully personalized, world-class education online that's tailored for adults. We offer 175 programs, including associate's, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees as well as certificates, in areas such as business, IT, education, health sciences, nursing, criminal justice, and more.
GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government website at www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.
Source for military-related credits: The Year in Review: 2016–2017, Kaplan University Academic Report, winter 2017. Note: These data were reported prior to the March 2018 purchase of Kaplan University by Purdue University and subsequent creation of Purdue University Global.