6 Ways To Make the Most of Your Post-9/11 GI Bill Before You Go to College Part 2

2. Know your financial resources:

The Post 9/11 GI Bill reimburses your tuition & fees to your school and makes housing and other payments directly to you.

Your school will receive a percentage as determined by your length of active duty service, of the following:

  • For resident students at a public Institution of Higher Learning (IHL), all tuition & fee payments are reimbursed.
  • For private and foreign IHLs, tuition & fee reimbursement is capped at $17,500 per academic year.
  • For students whose tuition & fees exceed $17,500 per academic year who are attending a private IHL in AZ, MI, NH, NY, PA, SC or TX and have been enrolled in the same program since January 4, 2011, schools will be reimbursed either the actual cost of the program or the maximum in-state tuition & fee reimbursement rate for the 2010-2011 school year, whichever is greater.1

Keep in mind, the length of your active duty service affects the amount of benefits you are eligible for. The school in which you are enrolled and taking classes will receive a percentage of tuition assistance, as determined by your length of active duty service. For those who served on active duty after 9/10/2001, the following percentages apply:

If you have served

  • At least 36 months: 100% of Maximum Benefit Payable.
  • At least 30 continuous days on active duty and must be discharged due to service-connected disability: 100% of Maximum Benefit Payable.
  • At least 30 months, but less than 36 months: 90% of Maximum Benefit Payable.
  • At least 24 months, but less than 30 months: 80% of Maximum Benefit Payable.
  • At least 18 months, but less than 24 months: 70% of Maximum Benefit Payable.
  • At least 12 months, but less than 18 months: 60% of Maximum Benefit Payable.
  • At least 6 months, but less than 12 months: 50% of Maximum Benefit Payable.
  • At least 90 days, but less than 6 months: 40% of Maximum Benefit Payable.2

3. Know where you are strong

Most veterans received significant training while active in the military.You know what you have been trained to do; you know what you are good at. Fortunately for the adult learner, you can earn college credit for life experiences and on-the-job and military- training through Prior Learning Assessments (PLAs). For those military veterans looking to maximize their time spent in a post-secondary environment, and minimize the costs associated with going back to college, you can do no better than looking into earning PLA credits. There is no reason to spend your hard-earned GI benefits repeating coursework on material you already know. When you step onto your post-secondary path, you want to hit the ground running. PLAs allow military veterans to do just that.

Consider a PLA as a college credit portfolio which allows you to write and reflect on all areas of your learning – and to potentially earn multiple college credits in multiple disciplines by doing so. Another option is to earn college credits for prior learning by passing CLEP (College-Level Examination Program) exams directly through the College Board. However, you are on your own as you prepare for the test.3

1 US Department of Veterans Affairs: Post 9/11 GI Bill, How Much Money Will I Get Under the Post-9/11 GI Bill?, 2/22/2012

2 US Department of Veterans Affairs: Post 9/11 GI Bill Eligibility For Active Duty Veterans, 11/15/2011

3 College Board, College-Level Exam Program (CLEP), p.1.

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