The Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB): An Introduction to Your Benefits

The Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) and the Post -9/11 GI Bill are valuable educational benefits for active duty and reserve servicemembers and veterans.

The Montgomery GI Bill, sometimes called the GI Bill Active Duty, is a monthly tax-free benefit for active duty and reserve servicemembers and veterans. Many servicemembers have utilized the Montgomery GI Bill for education and training and to position themselves for quality civilian careers.

Montgomery GI Bill: What Benefits Does It Provide?

Today, the maximum monthly benefit through the MGIB is $1,321 for 36 months. This comes to about eight semesters of coverage, or $47,566. After three years of active duty, veterans and servicemembers typically become eligible for maximum benefits. You can increase the maximum benefit amount by participating in the "Buy Up" program while you are on active duty--doing so could lead to an additional $5,400 worth of benefits.

According to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, if you are an active duty servicemember or a veteran, you can use the Montgomery GI Bill for a variety of educational pursuits including:

  • Online education
  • Technical school
  • Correspondence courses
  • Apprenticeship and job training
  • Flight training

In addition, you can use the MGIB for entrepreneurship training, high tech training, entrance examinations, and licensing and certification tests.

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By using the MGIB, you can study in an undergraduate or graduate degree program or even participate in a cooperative training program. The MGIB also provides benefits for independent study programs as well.

How the Montgomery GI Bill Works

Once you enroll in the MGIB program, you have $100 deducted from your monthly pay for a year and become eligible for benefits after two years of service. You have to fill out an Application for Education Benefits, VA Form 22-1990, and send it to your VA Regional Processing Office. Upon receipt of your first benefits checks, go online to the Department of Veterans Affairs Website and complete the VA's Web Automated Verification of Eligibility (WAVE).

It's important to remember that military education benefits normally must be used within 10 years of your discharge from active duty with the MGIB. If you have completed six years of active duty and agree to an additional four years, you may be able to transfer any unused MGIB benefits to one or more dependents under the National Defense Authorization Act.

What about the Post 9/11 GI Bill?

There is now an alternate GI Bill called the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Some of the benefits have been revived, so you may have to consider which Bill makes sense for you. Some of the new benefits include:

  • Tuition paid directly to schools
  • A housing allowance
  • Money for books and school supplies
  • Up to $2,000 for tutorial services or certification exams
  • $500 to individuals relocating from highly rural areas to attend college

Similar to the MGIB, the Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits cover up to 36 months of education and unused benefits can be transferred to immediate family members. The Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits expire 15 years after separation from the Armed Forces as opposed to 10 years with the MGIB.


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