The GI Bill: Everything You Need to Know

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Nayreth Garcia

Content Writer At Gradehacker

There are two options: you are here because you’ve heard about the GI Bill but don’t know exactly what it is, or you don’t know anything about it, and you want to learn. In any case, we will help you. You’ll find everything you need to know about the GI Bill is in this article.

If you are a non-traditional student who is on active duty or an armed forces veteran, or even if you are a family of one, this bill will help you with the cost of school, college or training programs.

Here at Gradehacker, we not only like to help students with our services but also with the necessary information that will ensure a better college experience and learn how they can be part of our college disrupter community. 

What Is The GI Bill?

The GI Bill was signed into law by President Roosevelt on June 22, 1944.  It was designed to help World War II veterans. It established free healthcare, made low-interest mortgages available, and gave an income to veterans going to college.

At that time, the GI Bill gave 2.2 million service members and their dependents free education. When the GI Bill first started, service members didn’t have to sign up for the program; they just got a letter telling them that they were eligible for GI Bill benefits. When a service member or veteran died, their children or dependents could also get the benefits.

What Does The GI Bill Cover?

 The GI Bill helps pay for tuition, fees, and housing for college and/or trade and/or technical school and some types of training and professional development. However, the GI Bill doesn’t cover some higher education programs such as PhDs.

Who is eligible for the GI Bill?

If you are a United States active duty service member, veteran, or eligible dependent, you may be eligible to receive benefits from the GI Bill. However, this does not include any active-duty service members who are reservists or National Guard members. A veteran can also be eligible if they are enrolled in an eligible educational program, such as a university, community college, or vocational school.

For veterans who are on active duty, you can receive benefits immediately. There’s also the post 9/11 GI Bill that was passed in 2008 called the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act.

It gives veterans on active duty on or after September 11, 2001, greater educational benefits; you can find out if you are eligible for it here. It also allows them to transfer their unused educational benefits to their spouse or children.

What Types Of Educational Assistance Does The Gi Bill Provide?

The educational assistance provided under the GI Bill can be divided into two main categories: Education and Vocational Rehabilitation.

1. Education:

You can use the GI Bill to pay for undergraduate or graduate school, other types of post-secondary education, or certain types of apprenticeships. If you are attending a public college or university, the GI Bill will cover your complete tuition and fees at the in-state rate but keep in mind that it probably won’t have the same coverage for a private one.

Just in case the GI Bill doesn’t cover the total cost of your education, make sure that your college participates in the  Yellow Ribbon program. This is an arrangement schools make with the Veteran Affairs to simplify the school costs not covered by the GI Bill. This program is currently only valid for veterans and surviving dependents of service members. Still, there’s a chance that it could be extended to active-duty troops in August 2022.

2. Vocational Rehabilitation:

If you are a veteran who was injured in service, you can receive benefits to cover vocational rehabilitation. This benefit also includes a range of resources like VA-funded job training. This means that employers who hire a veteran using this benefit can be eligible to receive a federal tax credit or be reimbursed for up to half of the veteran’s salary, according to the VA.

Keep in mind that your eligibility depends on if you have a service-connected disability rating of at least 10% or if you have a rating of over 20% and there is no dishonorable discharge in your record. You can go to the Ebenefits site and submit your case to the VA to evaluate your eligibility.

How Do You Apply For The GI Bill?

Generally, you apply for benefits by submitting official paperwork. However, most service members enroll in a Post-9/11 GI Bill (through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs). You can choose to enroll in this program to supplement a military or college education or as an alternate pathway to GI Bill benefits. 

Your counselor will look at many factors to evaluate which job skills you can transfer into the civilian workforce. Those who entered the military straight from school will be more likely to receive benefits due to their work history and educational experience. 

There are two ways you can apply for your GI Bill, it can be online or in-person at a regional VA office close to you. 

Scholarships And The GI Bill

Sometimes as a veteran or a dependent family member, you have the risk of not qualifying for the GI Bill Benefits. In this case, a scholarship can be a great help. 

Keep in mind that there are two types of scholarships: fenced and non-fenced. With a fenced scholarship, you can only use it to cover your tuition, and most of the time, it’s paid directly to the school. However, a non-fenced scholarship will give you the possibility to pay for any school-related expenses.

Here are 2 scholarships validated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs you can apply to:

Named after Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry, this scholarship is directed to children and dependents of veterans that lost their parents or partner in their line of duty. If they were a member of the Selected Reserve and died from a service-connected disability on or after September 11, 2001, you are also eligible.

What Do I Need To Be Eligible?

As a child:

As The Partner Of A Service Member:

How Do I Get A Fry Scholarship?

The first thing you need to do is pick a school, and the GI Bill Comparison Tool  can help you with that but first, make sure your program is approved for VA benefits.

You can apply online or fill out a form for the Dependents’ Application for VA Education Benefits (VA Form 22-5490) and send it to the closest VA regional office where you want to go to school. In case you are not a legal adult, your parent or guardian must sign the application.

If you’ve already started your educational program, ask a certifying official from your school or your employer to fill out a VA Enrollment Certification (VA Form 22-1999).

And last but not least, choose your program. If you qualify, you’ll need to decide which program you want to use. Think well before you make the decision because once you choose, you can’t change your mind.

The Edith Nourse Rogers Science Technology Engineering Math (STEM). This scholarship makes veterans and dependents in high-demand fields eligible to extend their Post-9/11 GI Bill or Fry Scholarship benefits.

What Do I Need To Be Eligible?

At least one of these listed requirements needs to be true:

Here’s a detailed list  but some of the areas you can use these scholarships are:

You can apply online here, and it will only take you a few minutes!

What Are The Eligibility Requirements For The GI Bill Education Benefits?

First of all, you must be enrolled or accepted for enrollment in a degree or certificate program at an eligible educational institution, or the military equivalent of an eligible educational institution, in a qualifying field. The VA provides post-secondary educational benefits to eligible veterans who: 

The GI Bill Is An Opportunity To Start Your Life Again

Like all modern nations, the U.S. is a nation of individuals who make a free, voluntary, and often difficult trade-off with their time and other resources. Deciding to fight for your country and leave behind so many things in your life is extremely brave.

The GI Bill’s goal is to reward all veterans, service members, or family dependents and encourage them to resume or start their studies or a new rehabilitation program for the first time. Studying effectively requires consistent effort over long periods of time, but it is undoubtedly worthwhile. The effort and sacrifice to become educated will pay off in better job opportunities and a higher standard of living.

Now that you have a complete understanding of how the GI Bill works, you can start the process for a new opportunity in your life. Here at Gradehacker, we’ll be more than happy to help you with our services and our learning center, which has more articles you may be interested in: