Military FAQs

Q:
Is the GI Bill considered Financial Aid?
A:
Not in the traditional sense. In most cases, the school's financial aid department does not consider the MGIB financial aid because it is normally paid directly to you, not the school. Most schools will require you to sign a promissory note or apply for student loans to pay them upfront.

This also means that you are eligible for student loans, scholarships, and Pell Grants along with the GI Bill. But it is important to note that your GI Bill income will reduce the amount of student financial aid you are eligible to receive.

For help in locating scholarships, see the Scholarship Finder.


Q:

How much time do I have to use my benefits?
A:
Once you have separated from the service you have a minimum of 10 years to use all of your benefits, depending on which benefit you have. Although separating from service "starts the clock" on your time limit, you should know that if you rejoin active-duty service for more than 90 days, during that period, your clock is reset. In other words, you get a minimum of 10 years from your last discharge, depending on which benefit you have.

Example: Seaman Smith left the active duty and joined the Navy Reserve. Three years later she returned to active duty with seven years remaining on the MGIB clock. At that point, the clock is reset at the 10-year mark when she leaves the service again, at which point the clock will start ticking again. She now has a fresh 10 years left to use ALL of her benefits or she will lose her remaining balance, which then returns to Uncle Sam.


Q:

Can I stop and start using the MGIB at will?
A:
YES! Unfortunately, many people believe that once you apply for benefits you have to remain enrolled in school to get the full benefit. Thankfully that's not true; you can use the MGIB for any period of time, take time off and re-apply to use it again at a later date.

Q:

What does a "month" of benefits mean?
A:
For Veterans: Every time you use the current Fiscal Year (FY) maximum "payment rate" of MGIB benefits you use a month.

Here is what the VA says:
"If you are a veteran and you receive $4,136, and your full-time MGIB rate is $1,034, divide $4,136 by $1,034. Your entitlement charge is four months."

However for active duty:  
If you are on active duty and you go to school full-time for four months, but your tuition is only $1,000, you will still be charged for four months of your GI Bill 36 month entitlement.

**Please note: It only pays to use your GI Bill on active duty if your tuition costs are high or you use it as Top-Up.

Q:

How is Top-Up charged against my GI Bill Benefit?
A:
If you receive $517 for Top-Up, and your full-time rate is $1,034, divide $517 by $1,034. Your entitlement charge is one-half month.

Q:

How often will I receive payments?
A:
In most cases you will receive your benefits on a monthly basis. However, each month that you are enrolled in classes you are required to verify your "status." This can be accomplished through Web Automated Verification of Enrollment (W.A.V.E.) or by telephone. Within five days you will receive a direct deposit of your monthly benefits. However, you will not receive your payment until you verify your status.

Q:

Will I have to pay taxes on my MGIB benefits?
A:
NO! Your MGIB benefits are NOT taxable!

Q:

What are the current "payment rates?"
A:
The MGIB payment rates increase every year. See the current GI Bill payment rate tables to view the details and this year's payment rate.

Q:

Can I be eligible for more than one benefit?
A:
You may be eligible for more than one VA education benefit. If you are, you must elect which benefit to receive. You can't receive payment for more than one benefit at a time.

Q:

How do I get started?
A:
You can apply for the GI Bill by filling out and following the instructions on VA Form 22-1990, Application for Education Benefits. For more details, see How to Apply for GI Bill Benefits and get started using your benefits today!