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How can the military help you pay for college? Here’s your answer: the GI Bill. It is a series of education programs designed to help enlisted military men, women and veterans earn a degree or certification from an educational institute. Read more to find out how the GI Bill could help you.

Enacted in 1944 by President Franklin Roosevelt, the GI Bill is a bundle of several education programs run by the Department of Veteran Affairs. The bill exists to assist active duty, Guard and Reserves service members, veterans and their families in earning a degree or certification, vocational training or attending trade school. The primary program within the bill is the new Post-9/11 GI Bill, which was signed into law in July 2008, creating a new strong education benefits program rivaling the WWII Era GI Bill of Rights.

If you serve at least 90 days of aggregate service after September 10, 2001 you may be an eligible candidate for the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Below is some information about the bill.

Post-9/11 benefit payments are tiered based on the amount of creditable active-duty service you have since Sept. 10, 2001. The new education benefits include:

  • Tuition coverage. Up to 100% tuition and class fee coverage. Paid directly to the educational institute you are attending.
  • Monthly housing stipend. As an eligible veteran or member of the National Guard or Selected Reserve you may receive a monthly housing allowance based on the zip code of the location of the educational institute you are attending. This stipend currently averages $1,200 a month, but can run as high as $2,700.
  • Books and supplies stipend. This stipend (up to $1,000) will be paid at the beginning of each term/semester. It’s paid proportionately based on the number of credits taken, $41 per credit hour.
  • Relocation allowance. You may also receive a one-time rural relocation benefit payment of $500 to help cover the cost of relocating from a rural location to an educational institute.
  • Transfer benefits to family members. If you have served at least six years in the Armed Forces and agree to serve at least another four years in the Armed Forces, you may transfer unused benefits to your spouse. Once you have reached your 10 year anniversary, you may choose to transfer the benefit to any dependent(s) (spouse, children).


To be eligible for all benefits, you must have served 36 months of active duty or service or have been discharged for a service-connected disability after 30 days of service.

If you serve fewer than 36 months, you’ll qualify for a percentage of benefits. Percentages range from 40% to 90%.

Approved education under the Post-9/11 GI Bill includes graduate and undergraduate degrees. All education programs must be offered by a degree-granting institution of higher learning and approved for GI Bill benefits.

Generally the bill is eligible for 15 years following the individual’s release from active duty.

The Yellow Ribbon Program is another benefit under the GI Bill, which includes a provision to help students avoid some or all of the out-of-pocket tuition and fees associated with education programs that may exceed the Post 9/11 GI Bill tuition benefit.

Visit www.military.com for more information about the GI Bill.