Since being signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on June 22, 1944, the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944 and its subsequent variations that followed have helped Veterans receive quality, affordable education. Though this is what it’s formally known as, most people just call it the GI Bill. The government has spent billions of dollars on GI Bill benefits for those who have served, but not everyone is taking advantage of this great opportunity. Learn how your GI Bill education benefits can help you better obtain an education.
How Does the GI Bill Work?
Your GI Bill benefits help you pay for tuition, fees, supplies, and textbooks. They can even provide a monthly housing allowance to use in pursuit of your education. There are two main types of GI Bill benefits available today: the Post-9/11 GI Bill and the Montgomery GI Bill.
The latest rendition of this program is the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Your benefits are good for as many as 36 months and can be used until 15 years after you retire from serving.
There are also Montgomery GI Bill benefits available to those who began their military careers between 1984 and 2008 after the bill was finalized. These benefits are good for up to a decade after you leave the service unless you pursue getting a GI Bill extension.
How Much Are GI Bill Benefits?
The GI Bill benefits you receive will depend on which bill applies to your service and education. But the Post-9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33) payment rates for the 2022 academic year (August 1, 2022 – July 31, 2023) are as follows:
- All tuition and fees for an in-state student attending a public school.
- Up to $26,381.37 per academic year National Maximum for students attending private or foreign school.
- A monthly housing allowance
- A stipend for books and supplies (up to $1,000 paid proportionately based on enrollment).
- A one-time rural benefit ($500) for qualifying Veterans may also apply.
For apprenticeship and on-the-job training rates, your benefits go by the period of training you are currently in. This is how it all breaks down:
- 100% of your applicable MHA for the first six-month period of training.
- 80% of your applicable MHA for the second six-month period of training.
- 60% of your applicable MHA for the third six-month period of training.
- 40% of your applicable MHA for the fourth six-month period of training.
- 20% of your applicable MHA for your remaining pursuit of training.
- A stipend for books and supplies may also be available.
Your VA GI Bill benefits can also include other forms of education. Here are some common examples of how your benefits can help you further your learning outside of traditional college pursuits:
- Up to $15,075.05 per academic year is available for vocational flight schools.
- As much as $12,831.78 per academic year is provided for correspondence schools.
- Veterans undertaking national testing programs/licensing and certification tests can also receive prorated benefits. There is no maximum reimbursable amount for national tests, but stipulations still apply.
Finally, the Yellow Ribbon Program is also available. While this is not the same as your GI Bill benefits, the program can pay for many things that the Post-9/11 GI Bill doesn’t cover if you’re eligible.
To learn more about your options and to determine which is the best path for your education, the GI Bill benefits calculator (GI Bill® Comparison Tool) from the VA can help.
How Does the GI Bill Work for Dependents
There are two key considerations when looking at your GI Bill benefits and dependents.
- If you don’t use all of your GI Bill benefits, you can transfer up to 36 months of benefits to a spouse or dependent child if you’re still eligible for benefits.
- Surviving spouses and children can also receive GI Bill benefits, depending on the circumstances.
Speaking with the VA directly is the best way to know for sure what your options are, as these benefits and the scenarios they involve can be complex depending on a variety of factors.
How Did the GI Bill Benefit the American Economy?
When we look at how the GI Bill changed America, it’s undeniable the impact that it had on the military and surrounding communities. Initially, President Roosevelt’s signature would activate assistance that would help make education more accessible, help Veterans purchase homes, or even find employment within the government.
This was a chance to give Americans more options, specifically through increased job prospects and better education. Many point to the GI Bill as directly contributing to more traditional educational pursuits as we know them today, with more students finishing high school and having the chance to go to college.
Ultimately, this would grow the middle class due to the increased variety of job opportunities. This would trigger an economic increase through real estate, as more people were able to afford housing, specifically Veterans.
Sadly, this doesn’t mean that everything was equal for everyone. It should go without saying, but the effects of the GI Bill did not affect marginalized groups, specifically Black Americans, nearly as much.
Today, we still see GI Bill benefits providing a more affordable route to college as well as other secondary educational pursuits. This a welcomed benefit that more Veterans should take advantage of as the cost of education continues to reach ghastly heights.
Suggested read: Do I Use My GI Bill for Dependents or Myself? What To Consider