The Montgomery GI Bill can be the better choice, in certain cases. In particular, these instances make the Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty (MGIB-AD) a better choice:
- Entitlement use (when seeking licensing, certification or test cost reimbursement)
- Using the Buy-Up Program
- Getting additional entitlement
- Low Cost Online Classes
The rate at which entitlement (the months of benefit you have left to use) is used differs between the MGIB and Post 9/11 GI Bill, when it comes to reimbursement of licensing or certification test costs. Under the older GI Bill, one month of entitlement is expended for each $1,789.00 reimbursed. However, under the New GI Bill even low-cost tests reduce entitlement automatically by 30 days. As a comparison, if a test costs $500 to take, reimbursement would reduce entitlement by 30 days under the New GI Bill and 4 days under the old.
When seeking reimbursement to any of the following VA-Approved National Tests, the same entitlement use rules also apply:
- SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test)
- LSAT (Law School Admission Test)
- GRE (Graduate Record Exam)
- GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test)
- AP (Advanced Placement Exam)
- CLEP (College Level Examination Program)
- ACT (American College Testing Program)
- DAT (Dental Admissions Test)
- MAT (Miller Analogies Test)
- MCAT (Medical College Admissions Test)
- OAT (Optometry Admissions Testing)
- PCAT (Pharmacy College Admissions Test)
- TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)
- DSST (DANTES Subject Standardized Tests)
- ECE (Excelsior College Examinations)
- TECEP (Thomas Edison College Examination Program)
- PLA (Prior Learning Assessment Testing) through Learning Count
Using the Buy-Up Program
Many service members bought into the Buy-Up Program when they were on active duty. By contributing additional money above and beyond the $1,200 MGIB contribution fee, they were able to secure an additional boost to their MGIB monthly payment once out and going to school. For the maximum contribution of $600, an additional $5,400 of money was put into their account. Dividing that amount by 36 months of entitlement, it added an extra $150 per month to the MGIB payment.
However, the Buy-Up program cannot be used with the Post 9/11 GI Bill, so for those that paid into the Buy-Up program and converted to the Post 9/11 GI Bill, that money is forever lost.
Getting Additional Entitlement
Veterans having both the MGIB-AD and Post 9/11 GI Bill can get an additional 12 months of entitlement after using up their MGIB months for a total of 48 months – the maximum allowed for veterans having two or more GI Bills. Submit VA Form 22-1990 from the eBenefits website to make the switch.
Low-Cost Online Classes
The MGIB can be a better choice in cases where online classes cost less than $293 per credit. The MGIB advantage is due to the online-only limitation of the Post 9/11 GI Bill Monthly Housing Allowance. For students taking all classes online, the maximum monthly payout is $783 per month.
Veterans thinking about using their GI Bill education benefits should plan out their education goal and then explore how to best reach that goal using their GI Bill benefits. The options in this article are only four where one GI Bill may be more advantageous than another. There are several more.