By Tristan Jung

The GI Bill has been helping veterans pay for college, graduate school, and job training programs since 1944. The most recent set of benefits was included in the Post-9/11 GI Bill passed in 2008.

If you served on active duty any time after September 10, 2001, you, your spouse, or your children can qualify for the Post-9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33). As long as you have served at least 90 days on active duty, you can qualify for GI Bill benefits. If you are a qualified service member, these benefits can also be transferred to a spouse or dependent (more info can be found on their website). 

Members of the Reserves who lost education benefits when the Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP) ended in November 2015 can also qualify to receive benefits. However, you can only receive one education benefit from the VA, so make sure to pick the one that gives you the most money.  

You can look at your personal statement of benefits by logging in at the VA website with an account.

The GI Bill grants up to 36 months of benefits for tuition, money for housing, books, and even moving costs for rural service members. The maximum benefit can cover the full cost of public, in-state tuition and fees. The rate for private and foreign schools is capped according to an updated yearly rate. The amount that each service member receives is calculated based on your expenses and the amount of active service you’ve had since September 10, 2001. 

These benefits can be used for an undergraduate or graduate degree, as well as vocational training, veterans technology education courses, and online classes. A recent bill passed by Congress has extended these benefits through the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, even if schools move to distanced learning. 

You can apply for GI Bill benefits at the VA’s website. Additional benefits can be granted through the Yellow Ribbon program.