A veteran writes down notes on military tuition assistance.

Which GI Bill Is Best for You?

You proudly served your country, but what’s next? Now it’s time to put the GI Bill to use and get the education you've earned. The Department of Veterans Affairs has several programs that can cover the cost of education and training — for both active military and veterans — take care of housing fees and, in some cases, allow you to transfer education benefits to your family.

Take a look at the benefits of each program and decide what works best for you.

Post-9/11 GI Bill

If you’ve served at least 90 days of active duty service after Sept. 10, 2001 and received an honorable discharge, then you're eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

This education benefit can cover up to 100 percent of your tuition, and up to $1000 for your monthly rent — depending on how many months of active duty you've served. (At least 36 months of active duty after 9/10/2001 gives you 100% of the maximum benefit.) Here are your benefits at a glance:

 

Post-9/11 Benefits

Years to Use Benefits

Covers Up to 100% Tuition and Fees

School Supplies Stipend

Monthly Housing Allowance

Yellow Ribbon

Eligibility

Transfer of Entitlement Option

 

15 years

 

Yes

 

Up to $1000/yr.

 

$1000

 

Yes

 

Yes

 

If you’re a veteran at the 100% benefit level, you may also be eligible for the Yellow Ribbon Program to cover fees that may exceed your benefit — a private school, for example. Schools must agree to participate in this program.

Unlike other GI Bill programs, the Post-9/11 GI Bill gives you the option to transfer unused education benefits to your spouse and one or more of your children. You must still be a service member to transfer unused benefits.

You can use your Post-9/11 GI Bill for college or an advanced degree, technical training, on-the-job training or a certification, licensing and certification, flight training and more. Visit the VA’s website to learn more on how you, as a veteran, can use this education benefit to reach your career goals.

Montgomery GI Bill

If you’ve served at least two years of active duty and have a high school diploma or GED, you are eligible for the Montgomery GI Bill program. With this education benefit, you could get over $61,000 to pay for different educational programs.

 

Montgomery GI Bill Benefits

Years to Use Benefits

Covers Tuition and Fees

School Supplies Stipend

Monthly Housing Allowance

Yellow Ribbon

Transfer of Entitlement Option

 

10 years

 

36 months (8 semesters)

 

No

 

No

 

No

 

No

 

The length of your service, the type of training you take and college fund eligibility will determine the amount of money you’ll receive monthly. If you participated in the $600 Buy-Up Program while you were in active duty, you may receive increased monthly benefits.

Benefits can pay for programs such as college or technical courses, flight training and apprenticeship/job training.

Compare your options

Whether you decide to use the Post-9/11 GI Bill or the Montgomery GI Bill program, both programs give you the option to start and stop as needed.

Comparing your estimated benefits by school will help you make the best decision for you (or your family) about which program to choose. Visit Vets.gov to compare estimated benefits by education program.

On-the-job training and apprenticeship

Are you interested in jumpstarting your career by learning a specific trade or skill? Consider using your VA education benefits to participate in on-the-job (OJT) and apprenticeship training programs.

Instead of attending formal classes, you’ll enter a training contract and gain experience working with an employer. During the period of training, you'll receive a salary from the employer. As you work on increasing your skills, your salary will potentially rise.

At the end of your apprenticeship, the VA will give you a job certificate or journeyman status and issue monthly GI Bill payments.

How will you use the GI Bill?

Deciding on how best to use the GI Bill takes some attention. Here's a good chart to help you along. ExploreVA.gov can also get you started with applying and can direct you to more help.