There’s a lot to wrap your mind around when you’re using your GI Bill. Last time, I wrote about the new change of opting out of Chapter 30 MGIB-AD, losing any remaining benefits of the $600 Buy-Up Program, how to get an additional 12 months of benefits, and some issues with respect to dual servicemember married couples in regard to MHA – all within Chapter 33 Post 9/11 GI Bill.

In this part, we’ll look at shortening time to a degree, how to get the full MHA when attending classes online, and the elimination of the transfer of benefits end date.

Shortening Time to a Degree

Getting a four-year degree doesn’t necessarily mean going to school for four years. There are two ways to shorten that time, including credit for military service and DANTES tests.

Credit for Military Service

The American Council on Education (ACE) evaluates military courses, training and MOS classifications and assigns each one a credit value, the class equivalent and whether they apply to the upper or lower division category. For example, an entry on a servicemember’s transcript may show as having 3 credits in Physical Education at the lower division level.

Servicemembers can request that copies of their transcripts be sent to schools of their choice by logging into the Joint Transcript Services website. This site applies to all military branches, including the Reserve Components, except the Air Force and Space Force. Airmen and Guardians can use the Air University website to request their transcripts.


Many veterans overlook tests contained within DANTES, which can be a source of several credits. Under the DANTES umbrella are two types of tests:

  1. College Level Exam – CLEP
  2. DANTES Subject Specialized Tests – DSST

The basic concept of these tests is that a servicemember or veteran can take the final exam of a course and if passed, the credit goes on their transcript without having to actually take the course. Most of the courses available are at the introductory level and could get some of the general basic courses out of the way.

This not only saves time, by not having to take the course, but also preserves GI Bill entitlement that can be used for other undergraduate courses or even for more expensive graduate work.

How to Get the Full MHA When Attending Classes Online

The way the Post 9/11 GI Bill rules are structured on the monthly housing allowance (MHA) right now, students taking all of their classes online (also known as distance learning), only get half of the national average as far as their MHA – $988 for the 2022/2023 school year.

However, if a student takes one resident course on campus per term, they qualify for the full MHA, which is based on their Post 9/11 GI Bill tier level, number of credits taken and zip code of the school. It can mean a difference of hundreds of dollars a month by taking just one class per semester on campus as long as it meets at least once during the term for a minimum of 50 minutes.

Elimination of the Transfer of Benefits End Date

One confusing entry on the Post 9/11 GI Bill Transfer of Benefits request was the End Date field. Many service members were unsure of what date to enter in that field. As it turns out, it defaults to a date in the system anyway, so there was no need to even have the field on the form in the first place. The elimination of that field was a recent change on the Transfer of Benefits Request form.

Between Parts One and Two, this covers most of the areas of confusion and recent changes within the GI Bills in force today. However, there are several pieces of legislation under consideration in this Congressional Session that could impact the rules of GI Bills to come that are yet to be determined.

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Kness retired in November 2007 as a Senior Noncommissioned Officer after serving 36 years of service with the Minnesota Army National Guard of which 32 of those years were in a full-time status along with being a traditional guardsman. Kness takes pride in being able to still help veterans, military members, and families as they struggle through veteran and dependent education issues.