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What is the GI Bill?

The GI Bill created a range of benefits for veterans of military service. The benefits are meant to help make the transition from veteran standing to civilian life smoother. It was also used to attract bright young adults to join the military forces. Here at ICOHS College, you can use your GI Bill benefits to help fund your education. You might be wondering, how do I do this? We’re here to help you.

Soldiers coming home from sea duty
What Are My GI Bill Benefits?

If you are eligible, you can receive 100% of tuition for a four-year degree. You can also receive a housing allowance to help cover additional living costs. If you’re not committing to a four-year program, it also covers the cost of training programs and reimbursement for certification exams. ICOHS College falls into the latter category.

To be clear, the GI Bill is NOT considered to be Financial Aid. This is because the GI Bill is paid directly to you rather than the school. This means, in order to use your GI Bill benefits, you will have to apply for student loans and pay them with your GI Bill payments. This means that you are still eligible for student loans, scholarships, and grants on top of your GI Bill benefits!

Am I Eligible?

There are currently four major GI Bill programs:

Post-9/11 GI Bill – Served 30 days of continuous active duty service after September 10, 2001, and be discharged due to a disability-related to service OR – Served 90 days of active duty service and received an honorable discharge.

Montgomery GI Bill – Contributed $100 a month for the first 12 months of active duty – Have completed High School or have an equivalent certificate – Served at least 2 years on active duty – Received an honorable discharge.

Reserve and Guard Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB-SR) – Have a six-year obligation to serve in the Selected Reserve or Guard signed after June 30, 1985. – Complete your initial active duty for training – Meet the requirement to receive a high school diploma or equivalent certificate – Remain in good standing while serving in an active Selected Reserve unit.

Vocational Rehabilitation and Education Program (VR&E) – Have received a discharge that is anything other than dishonorable – Have a service-connected disability rating of at least 10% – Submit a completed application for VR&E services

servicemen from different branches of the military
GI Bill Limitations

You must take advantage of your benefits within 15 years of being discharged from the military, otherwise, you will no longer be eligible. If you are using the Montogomery GI Bill, you have 10 years from your discharge date to use all of the GI Bill benefits or you’ll lose it. Also, the GI Bill cannot exceed $17,500 annually, so if your school of choice is more expensive, you must find other ways to fund the difference. Lastly, the housing allowance is only given to military members that are enrolled in school full-time.

In order to start using your GI Bill benefits, you have to apply for them online, in person, or with a VA certifying official. You can easily access the VA online website here. Each region has a VA office you can visit in person.

Required GI Bill Documents

You need documents that include your Social Security number, the bank account and routing numbers to receive your benefits, school transcripts, and any paperwork that shows your status as a veteran, etc.
Veterans must provide their discharge paperwork, a copy of DD Form 214. Those that are still serving will need to provide a copy of current orders and a letter from a supervisor showing that they are in good standing.

When Should I Start?

It can take at least a month for GI Bill benefit applications to be processed. It’s good to get the process started early, especially if you already know where you want to go. ICOHS College is a veteran-friendly college and can help you understand your benefits. Learn more about starting the process here: https://icohs.edu/va-financial-assistance-resources/

You can use your GI Bill for any period of time, even if you decide to take time off of your education. You can re-apply to use it any time within the 15 or 10 year time period.

References General GI Bill Information, Military.com, https://www.military.com/education/gi-bill/general-gi-bill-information

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