Post-9/11 GI Bill® Checklist 

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Do you want to be among the nearly 800,000 Veterans and their families who have received more than $12 billion in Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits? Here’s a Post-9/11 GI Bill checklist that’s your step-by-step guide to receive the financial support you deserve as you transition from military to civilian life.

What Is the Post-9/11 GI Bill?

The Post-9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33) helps you pay for school or job training. It covers tuition, fees, and housing assistance, plus a stipend for books and supplies for qualified Veterans. If you served on active duty after Sept. 10, 2001, you may qualify for this educational benefit.

Who qualifies for the Post-9/11 GI Bill?

To qualify for the Post-9/11 GI Bill, at least one of these must be true:

  • You served at least 36 months on active duty (either all at once or with breaks in service) and were honorably discharged, or
  • You received a Purple Heart on or after September 11, 2001, and were honorably discharged after any amount of service, or
  • You served at least 30 continuous days (all at once, without a break) on or after September 11, 2001, and were discharged or released from active duty for a service-connected disability, or
  • You’re an active-duty Service member who has served at least 36 months on active duty (either all at once or with breaks in service), or
  • You’re a spouse using the transferred benefits of an active-duty servicemember who has served at least 36 months on active duty, or
  • You’re a dependent child using benefits transferred by a Veteran, or
  • You’re a Fry Scholar

To find out more about the GI Bill and other education benefits, visit this U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs website.

Steps to using your Post-9/11 GI Bill

Once you find out you’re eligible for Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits, applying is easier than you might think. Follow these steps, and your application is will be ready for approval.

Step one: Gather the documents and information you need to apply, including your Social Security number and bank account direct deposit information. Request your official transcripts from previous colleges and applicable military training transcripts while gathering basic information about the school or training facility you want to attend or are attending now

Step two: Learn about what benefits you’ll receive at the school you want to attend using the GI Bill Comparison Tool. This tool will give you a greater understanding of your out-of-pocket education costs.

Step three: Choose how you would like to apply for your education benefits, whether online, by mail, in person, or with the help of a trained professional.

  • You can apply online by answering a few questions, and the VA will you help you get started with the education benefits form that’s right for you.
  • To apply by mail, contact the VA at 888-442-4551 (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET) to request an application be sent to you. Fill out the application and mail it to the VA regional claims processing office nearest to your school.
  • To apply in person, go to a VA regional office for assistance and consult with your school’s certifying official, who usually works in the Registrar or Financial Aid office.
  • You can work with a trained professional called an accredited representative to get help applying for education benefits.

Step four: Even though you have applied for your GI Bill benefits, apply for financial aid at your school. Financial aid is based on need, using your income on your previous year’s taxes. Complete the free application for financial aid at the Free Application for Federal Student Aid website.

Step five: You’ll receive an award letter called a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) if the VA has approved your application. Provide your school with this documentation.

Kerry J. used the Post-9/11 GI Bill® Checklist 

What benefits are offered through the Post-9/11 GI Bill?

  • Tuition and fees. The VA will cover your full cost of public, in-state tuition, and fees if you qualify for the maximum benefit. The VA caps the rates for private and foreign schools and updates those rates each year.
  • Money for housing (if you’re in school more than half time). The VA will pay for a monthly housing allowance based on the cost of living where your school is located.
  • Money for books and supplies. You may receive a stipend of up to $1,000 per academic year for books and supplies, based on the percentage of your benefit eligibility.
  • Money to help you move from a rural area to go to school. You may qualify for a one-time payment if you live in a county with six or fewer people per square mile and you’re either moving at least 500 miles to go to school or have no other option but to fly by plane to get to your school.

How can I use my benefits?

There are many ways you can use your GI Bill benefits to advance your education and training, depending on your goals.

You can use the benefits to earn an undergraduate or graduate degree at an institution of higher learning, and if you require assistance with your coursework, the VA may help you pay for a tutor.

If you plan on training for a specific career, trade, or industry, you can use your benefits to pay for specific programs, like HVAC repair, truck driving, and barber or beautician school. To be trained in high-demand technical fields such as computer software, computer programming, data processing, or information science, the Veteran Employment Through Technology Education Courses (VET TEC) program can match you with a leading training provider.

If your goal is to expand your skillset through on-the-job training or apprenticeships, GI Bill programs can help you pay for books, supplies, and housing while you’re learning a new trade or skill.

Do you want to start a business? You can use your GI Bill benefits or other VA educational assistance programs for training to become a business owner or entrepreneur. Do you want to become a pilot? Your VA education benefits can help pay for flight training to advance your pilot qualifications.

Ready to boost your earning potential? We’re here to help

Earning a college degree after serving in the military can increase your earning potential.

Full-time workers in their twenties with bachelor’s degrees earn $22,000 more per year than their counterparts with a high school diploma or no degree, the Pew Research Center reports. Over the course of your entire career, a bachelor’s degree can place you in the position to earn up to $900,000 more than a high school diploma alone, according to the Social Security Administration.

At National University, we are a Veteran-founded, military-friendly college that is fully committed to supporting our service members, our military Veterans, and their families in their career development through higher education. We accept the Post-9/11 GI Bill, offer tuition discounts and scholarships for Veterans, provide discounts for military family members, and help families navigate VA benefits. We are also proud participants of the Yellow Ribbon Program that aids eligible military Veterans, active, and their families in pursuit of higher education.

To find out more about military benefits, scholarships, and eligibility, along with answers to frequently asked questions, visit our Military Resources webpage.