GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at

When Travis Beagle began college at Ferris State University in 2008, he was faced with student loans and classes that didn't interest him. With a childhood dream of joining the military, he made the decision to leave school and serve seven years of active duty in the U.S. Army.

Upon leaving the military, Travis had a newfound passion in aviation maintenance and enrolled in an aviation maintenance program. The best part? The Post-9/11 GI Bill meant he didn't need to apply for student loans or even worry about the cost of books.

The Post-9/11 GI Bill covered Travis' tuition in full, provided a stipend for course materials, and paid out a housing allowance — a monthly stipend for housing fixed to a state's cost of living. As part of the military discharge process, Travis had to complete classes on the GI Bill, which covered the differences between the Post-9/11 GI Bill and the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB).

This guide is meant to be a brief overview of GI Bill information, including common questions and resources available on federal websites. It is not meant in any way to be an exhaustive or complete guide to the GI Bill. For more information on the GI Bill, visit the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) website.

For an in-depth guide on military benefits, including the GI Bill, you can also check out BestColleges' Financial Aid Guide for Military Veterans.

Post-9/11 GI Bill vs. Montgomery GI Bill

There are fundamental differences between the Post-9/11 GI Bill and the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB). While most college-bound students opt for the Post-9/11 GI Bill, prospective students who enlisted in the U.S. armed forces after September 11, 2001, qualify for both the MGIB and the Post-9/11 GI Bill and can decide which option to use for school.

Both versions of the GI Bill can be applied to a variety of academic programs — not just four-year degrees. According to the VA, the following are qualifying education expenses for the GI Bill.

  • Apprenticeships
  • Certificate Programs
  • College Degrees
  • Correspondence Courses
  • Entrance Examinations
  • Entrepreneurship Training
  • Flight Training
  • High-Tech Training
  • Licensing and Certification Tests
  • On-the-Job Training
  • Technical or Vocational Courses

GI Bill Questions

Important VA Resources

Changing Your GI Bill School

Students who wish to transfer to a different school or change vocational program will need to fill out a form to transfer benefits. Those who have left school and are reentering a program or veterans who were receiving VA benefits and are returning to active duty will also need to transfer benefits. Veterans and service members must complete VA Form 22-1995 online, and dependents must complete VA Form 22-5495 online.

Transferring Your GI Bill

If you do not use or intend to use your GI Bill, you may be able to transfer your benefits to your spouse or children. The transfer must be approved by the U.S. Department of Defense. It is highly advised to read about the transfer process before beginning a transfer, since spouses receive different and more immediate benefits than children.

Check Your GI Bill Benefits

If you are currently using your GI Bill or have any remaining benefits it's important to keep track of what is still available to you. Post-9/11 GI Bill users or those who have received an application decision can access their information through a DS Logon, My HealtheVet, or account. Note that this tool is only available during certain days and times of the week.

Yellow Ribbon Program

While researching GI Bill benefits, you may come across the Yellow Ribbon Program. This program is a provision of the law. The VA states that, "the program allows approved institutions of higher learning and the VA to partially or fully fund tuition and fee expenses that exceed the established thresholds under the Post-9/11 GI Bill." This program is only valid at degree-granting institutions.

GI Bill School Comparison Tool

Use this online tool to enter your personalized information, including your military status, your current benefits, and even a specific school or state. The tool can generate a list of schools in a state or a specific school if you searched by school name. Once a list is generated the comparison tool allows candidates to see how much tuition reimbursement is available for their specific benefits, including a breakdown of housing and book reimbursements.


An excellent resource for veterans, CareerScope is an aptitude test that is an additional resource to the VA career counseling services. If you qualify to take the assessment test, the results can help determine a direction in a current career or provide results for potential careers. In addition to CareerScope, veterans can access personalized support and benefits coaching through the VA.