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Military Financial Aid - The Montgomery GI Bill Explained

Sep 12, 2008
One of the great benefits that veterans are able to receive for having served their country is that of being able to get a quality education with help from military financial aid programs. The Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) makes that provision available to those that have been in the US military.

What Type of Education Is Covered?

The Montgomery GI Bill provides for far more than just a basic college education - it also can be used by those who need some kind of specialized training. This allows some veterans to receive preparation for a career in many types of fields when specialized training is required. Apart from the standard college degree, this Bill also makes it possible to take:

* Correspondence Courses
* Technical or Vocational Training
* Entrepreneurship Training
* Flight Training
* Tests for Licensing and Certification
* Overseas Classes.

Not all types of courses will be approved, though. Here are some that will be prohibited by the MGIB:

* Bartending Courses
* Personality Development Courses
* Courses offered on radio
* Self-Improvement Courses
* Audited Classes
* Farm Cooperative Courses.
* Courses that do not lead to a Career.

How Long Do You Have?

After you get out of the military, you have up to 10 years to use your Montgomery GI Bill benefits. This provides you with sufficient time to make your decisions about a career choice, find the right training, and then time to pursue those goals.

Who Can Receive Montgomery GI Bill Benefits?

The benefits from the Montgomery Bill are available to those who have been in the service for at least one tour of duty and have completed high school (a GED is acceptable). In addition to that, the candidate will also need to have been discharged honorably. In the case of more than one tour, the candidate will need to have at least one tour where he or she was discharged honorably.

The amount (percentage) of the benefits available is based on the length of the tour. Service personnel receive 100% of the benefits once more than 36 months of active duty have elapsed, or more than 30 days active duty in the event of a disabling incident. In some cases, service personnel may be able to receive benefits - even in the case of some from the Vietnam-era or National Guard.

What Other Benefits Are Available?

In some cases, if remedial courses are needed, these may be covered as well. Other types of courses, such as refresher, or courses needed to upgrade a deficiency may also be obtained.

Besides the amount that is given for tuition, the Montgomery GI Bill also designates a certain amount for housing and books. This can only be given to those who are not on active duty and to those who are enrolled at least half-time.

The cost of tuition is limited, though, to the highest costing public college in that State. You also will need to find out if that School is approved to receive Veteran's Benefits. The School's administrative offices will be able to tell you about this.

Can GI Bill Benefits Be Increased?

The Montgomery GI Bill will also increase its benefits to you if you are able to contribute up to $600 while on active duty. This is an excellent way to get additional benefits because the Bill will then provide you up to $5400 in additional benefits.

Can Course Changes Be Made?

Sometimes an individual starts out with one goal in mind and then soon learns that he or she was not cut out for it. If that happens, a quick change of course is needed, so as not to waste money and be unable to have enough to complete the new program. The MGIB does allow for at least one course change as long as the grades are maintained. Other course changes are possible, but will need approval from the school and VA.

What Kind of Grades Need to be Maintained?

Good grades are expected to be maintained throughout your education for which the Montgomery GI Bill will pay for. In addition, good attendance records and conduct is also to be upheld, too. VA benefits may be cut off if the student fails to uphold them according to the institution's expectations and regulations. They do submit records to the VA.

This article only provides you with basic information about the Montgomery GI Bill. Changes are possible, however, and your own situation may require special attention. The Bill covers a lot more varied situations for different people, and you should talk to either a college representative or your VA representative to learn more.
About the Author
Active duty military personnel and veterans have access to student financial aid programs through the Montgomery GI Bill. Learn about scholarships for college, grants, and loans available from Uncle Sam on FinancialAidFinder, a free website with a wealth of updated information. Mark Allen is a regular contributor and financial aid expert.
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