August 15th, 2011
In a McDonald’s up in State College, PA soaking up some free WiFi and decided to post the following information about the GI Bill. Hope it makes sense, and I hope this barbeque sauce is easy to get out from between the keys of my keyboard.
With a new college semester starting at the end of this month, it was time to follow-up with the VA to ensure they received all the paperwork required to ensure the book stipend, BAH and tuition gets paid on time. Before I made the call, I realized that my oldest son, who also is in college, was doing the same thing to ensure everything is in order. He informed me that although this is his last year of school, this coming semester was the last one he would receive his GI Bill benefit. As a matter of fact, he only has 16 days of benefit left, but after reading statements like, “If an individual’s entitlement exhausts during a term, benefits may be extended until the end of the term.” he thought this upcoming semester was taken care of… he was wrong.
When my oldest completed his time in the Navy, the 911GIBill had not yet been approved. As a matter of fact, he had already completed two years of college using the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) before the 911GIBill had become available.
Because Servicemembers like my son who qualified for the 911GIBill benefit before it became available had already used some or all of their MGIB benefit, members could finish their 36 month of MGIB entitlement and then get an additional 12 months of 911GIBill for a maximum college benefit of 48 months.
48 months is the key.
The most benefit one can receive by law is 48 months, not 36. Now, that doesn’t mean that everyone gets 48 months of benefit; really, the only people that will max out are those who use two programs like my son, but everyone else could potentially end up with as much as 40 months of full GI Bill tuition and other payments.
The rule is if you exhaust your benefit during a semester, you will get full benefit for the remainder of the semester EVEN IF you only have ONE DAY of benefit remaining when the semester starts, UNLESS you hit the maximum of 48 months.
Again, you will NOT receive greater than a total of 48 months of GI Bill benefit!
If you exhaust your benefit mid way through a semester while hitting the maximum 48 months entitlement, your tuition, book stipend and BAH payment will be prorated, day for day.
If the GI-Bill benefit was transferred to you, transferred benefits are day for day – just like those who hit the 48 month maximum. If the transferred benefit ends in the middle of the semester, all the tuition and fees will be prorated to a daily rate for tuition, as well as for the BAH; however, the book stipend will be paid in full (not prorated).
If I left you with more questions than answers, ask!
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