Post 9/11 GI Bill

The Post 9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33) greatly improves upon the Montgomery GI Bill (Chapter 30). Put simply, the MGIB was not accounting for the skyrocketing increase in college tuition which left many servicemembers unable to afford a college education. Passage of the 9/11 GI Bill provided a significant increase to tuition benefits (in most cases) coupled with a generous living allowance and books/supplies stipend.

NOTE: Legislation dubbed GI Bill 2.0 has recently been passed by Congress and signed by the President. GI Bill 2.0 has drastically cut the benefits available under the Post 9/11 GI Bill for many veterans attending private colleges. See our article on the matter: Post 9/11 GI Bill Cuts Looming.

Post 9/11 GI Bill Eligibility

To be eligible for the new GI Bill, servicemembers must meet the following conditions:

  • Full Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefit Requirements
    • Served 3 years on active duty after September 11th, 2001.
      • or served 30 days on active duty and separated due to service related disability on or after September 11th, 2001.
    • Received an honorable discharge.
  • Partial Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefit Requirements
    • Served at least 90 days on active duty, separating on or after September 11th, 2001.
    • Received an honorable discharge.
    • Partial Benefit Payout Details

Post 9/11 GI Bill Payout

Tuition and Fees

The new GI Bill payout for tuition and fees varies based on state. Each state has its own maximum payout rate that is determined by the most expensive undergraduate tuition and fees charged by a public institution of higher learning in that state. See our table of maximum tuition and fees by state. UPDATE: Recently passed legislation has insituted a nationwide cap of $17,500 (now increased to $18,077.50) a school year for Tuition AND fees for private colleges and universities starting in Fall 2011. It must be noted that there will be no grandfathering for veterans who chose a school based on the previous version of the Post 9/11 GI Bill. They may now have to pay tens of thousands of dollars more each school year starting this Fall. Appalling? We think so. On the plus side, the Post 9/11 GI Bill now covers 100% of tuition and fees for graduate and doctoral programs at a public college/university.

These fees are paid directly to the school from the department of Veterans Affairs. This is in contrast to the MGIB which gives the money directly to the student. Additional tuition benefits under the new GI Bill may be available via the Yellow Ribbon Program.

Living Allowance

The Post 9/11 GI Bill also provides a housing/living allowance which is the same as the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) rate for an E-5 with dependents for the school's location (less for those only eligible for partial benefits). Note that the living allowance is not given for those still on active duty or attending classes solely online. Furthermore, the student must be enrolling as more than a half-time student which means taking at least 7 credits for most colleges. UPDATE: Starting in Fall 2011, the housing allowance will now be prorated for those not going to school full time (full time being 12 credits a semester for most colleges). Also, those going to school solely online may now be eligible for a housing allowance, although it will be prorated based on credits taken as well and will be half of the allowance received by students going to physical classrooms.

Books and Supplies Stipend

The new GI Bill also provides a yearly stipend of up to $1,000 for books and supplies based proportionally on enrollment. This books stipend is paid directly to the student at the beginning of each semester, term, or quarter (and accompanies the living allowance payment) at the rate of $41.67 per enrolled credit for those eligible for full GI Bill benefits. See our partial benefit payout section for those not qualifying for full benefits.

Rural Benefit Payment

Some individuals will also qualify for a rural benefit payment. Those living in a county with 6 or less people per square mile who must relocate 500 or more miles to attend an educational institution or must travel by air to attend an institution due to lack of ground transportation will receive a one-time payment of $500.

Yellow Ribbon Program

The Yellow Ribbon Program is a voluntary program that allows degree granting colleges and universities to provide additional funds towards the cost of tuition for veterans, which are matched dollar for dollar by the department of Veterans Affairs (covering up to 100% of tuition costs). This could cover the higher cost of tuition commonly charged by private institutions of higher learning. See our page on the Yellow Ribbon Program.

Partial Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits

Servicemembers who served less than 3 years on active duty after September 11th, 2001 only qualify for partial Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits. They will receive a percentage of the full benefits for tuition, book stipend, and living allowance as indicated by the table below:

Months of Service
after 9/11, 2001
Percentage Received
(for tuition, stipend, living allowance)
90 Days Consecutively 40%
6 Months 50%
12 Months 60%
18 Months 70%
24 Months 80%
30 Months 90%


Time Limit

Those eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill must use it within 15 years of separation from active duty service (90 days or more of active duty service).

MGIB vs. Post 9/11 GI Bill

The Post 9/11 GI Bill is superior to the Montgomery GI Bill except in certain circumstances. Those attending college in a low cost area may benefit more from using the MGIB as the full monthly MGIB payment goes directly to the student regardless of tuition cost, allowing them to keep any money remaining after tuition costs. Also, the Montgomery GI Bill pays for apprenticeships, On the Job Training (OJT), flight training, Co-Ops, and Correspondence courses which are not covered under the Post 9/11 GI Bill unless taught by an accredited institution of higher learning. Also, some states allow veterans to attend select state universities with no tuition cost. Under such a situation, the MGIB still pays the full amount while the new GI Bill would not pay the tuition portion.

Army College Fund and the 9/11 GI Bill

The Army College Fund (ACF) enlistment incentive does apply to the Post 9/11 GI Bill!

Article Last Modified: December 27, 2012

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