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6.03.2010

How to use your GI Bill

A lot of questions out there on how to use your GI Bill and/or your Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits. It is pretty straightforward actually and the VA website has become extremely user friendly. The VA says there are 3 steps - decide on a college/program, submit your application, confirm your enrollment certification with the school.

Piece of cake - but it is a little more complex than that. The VA does have a GI Bill Roadmap that breaks it down even more. We hopefully made it a little clearer here for you:
  1. Select your school. Make sure the school does accept GI Bill - and make sure they understand it. If the school does not have a separate section of their web page for military, they are not really military friendly. Also check for Yellow Ribbon agreement to make sure you don't have to pay tuition over the accepted VA rate!
  2. On the GI Bill site, calculate GI Bill Benefits for each school & determine if the Post 9/11 GI bill or your Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) benefits are better for you. For online programs, MGIB may be better! If you have only a few months of Chap 30 (MGIB) benefits remaining you should consider finishing all of your MGIB benefits so that you can get an additional 12 months of the new Post 9/11 GI bill.
  3. Enroll in the GI Bill through VONAPP (click “Start VONAPP”). You will need the following to complete the application:
    Create a username/password
    Fill out VA Form 22-1990
    Have your electronic DD-214 ready
    If you have a kicker contract and/or proof of $600 buy-up have it ready as well
    Have name of your bank, routing number & account number – for living expenses
    Enter school address, degree or certificate objective, date of enrollment
    Have former education information (degree, address & dates)
    Non-military job information (type, length of time & any licensing)
    ROTC/Service Academy/Student Loan Repayment Program information
  4. You will receive your Certificate of Eligibility (CoE) in the mail from the VA. The CoE will tell you what percentage of benefits you qualify for and how many months of benefits you have left.
  5. Send the CoE to the Registrar or VA Representative at your school. The VA Certifying Officials at the school process the paperwork proving to the VA you are enrolled in school so that you can get paid their GI Bill benefits.
  6. Confirm that your school Certifying Official submitted your paperwork to the VA. GI Bill payments cannot be processed until the school submits the enrollment. Early submission of this paperwork is essential for timely payment.
  7. Enroll in classes. You may have to pay for the first class depending on the school and the start date.

Not too complex. They have really created a great education benefit for our military members and didn't make it impossible to get to.

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