Everything You Need to Know

The Post-9/11 GI Bill® is a VA education benefit that helps the latest generation of veterans and service members pay for school or training. Service members and veterans can use these benefits for up to 36 months.

GI Bill® History

The history of the GI Bill® dates back to 1944. The Servicemen’s Readjustment Act, better known as the GI Bill®, was passed to support veterans of World War II.

Since the WWII era, the GI Bill® has been updated a few times to aid other veterans and service members. This includes the Post-9/11 GI Bill®, which provides benefits to those who served on active duty on or after September 11, 2001.

Who Is Eligible for Post-9/11 GI Bill® Benefits?

You are eligible to receive Post-9/11 GI Bill® (Chapter 33) benefits if you meet one or more of the following requirements:

  • You served on active duty for at least 90 days on or after September 11, 2001. You may have served these 90 (or more) days either all at once or with breaks in your service.
  • You received a Purple Heart on or after September 11, 2001, and you were honorably discharged. You may have completed any amount of service in this case.
  • You served at least 30 continuous days on or after September 11, 2001, and you were honorably discharged with a service-connected disability. “Continuous days” is defined as 30 days served all at once, without a break in your service.
  • You are a dependent child who is using benefits that were transferred by a service member or veteran who qualifies for Post-9/11 GI Bill® benefits.

Members of the Reserves who lost education benefits when the Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP) ended in November 2015 may now be eligible to receive restored benefits.

What Benefits Can I Get through the Post-9/11 GI Bill®?

Veterans and service members who are eligible for Post-9/11 GI Bill® benefits can receive up to 36 months of benefits. These benefits include:

  • Tuition and fees
  • Money for housing
  • Money for books and supplies
  • Money to help move

You may also be eligible for the Yellow Ribbon Program.

Tuition and Fees

Veterans and service members who qualify for the maximum benefit can have the full cost of public, in-state tuition and fees covered by the Post-9/11 GI Bill®. Rates are capped for foreign and private schools.

Money for Housing

You must be in school more than half time to receive this benefit. The monthly allowance is then based on the cost of living where the school you attend is located.

Money for Books and Supplies

Eligible veterans and service members can receive up to $1,000 per school year to pay for books and other supplies.

Money to Help Move

The Post-9/11 GI Bill® can provide a one-time $500 payment to eligible veterans and service members to help them move from a rural area to attend school.

Yellow Ribbon Program

The Post-9/11 GI Bill® includes a provision to help students pay for out-of-pocket tuition and fees for education programs that exceed the tuition benefit. Participating schools must enter into an agreement with the VA to share the costs.

Am I Eligible for Additional Benefits?

You or your family members may be eligible for these additional benefits:

  • Yellow Ribbon Program
  • Transferring benefits to a dependent such as a child or spouse
  • Fry Scholarship (for the child or spouse of a service member who died in the line of duty)

What Is the Location-Based Housing Allowance?

Currently, the Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA) is based on the location of the campus where you physically attend the majority of your classes.

Post-9/11 GI Benefit Tiers

The tuition and housing allowance payments you can receive from the Post-9/11 GI Bill® are calculated from the amount of creditable service you have on active duty after September 10, 2001. Active duty time can additionally include Title 10 service and some Title 32 duty for reservists and guard members.

Post-9/11 active duty time and the corresponding benefits follow these tiers:

  • If you have served at least 36 cumulative months (including entry-level or skills training time), you are eligible for 100% of the maximum amount payable.
  • If you have served at least 30 continuous days (including entry-level or skills training time) and were discharged as a result of a service-connected disability, you are eligible for 100% of the maximum amount payable.
  • If you have served at least 30 cumulative months (including entry-level or skills training time), you are eligible for 90% of the maximum amount payable.
  • If you have served at least 24 cumulative months (not including entry-level or skills training time), you are eligible for 80% of the maximum amount payable.
  • If you have served at least 18 cumulative months (not including entry-level or skills training time), you are eligible for 70% of the maximum amount payable.
  • If you have served at least 12 cumulative months (not including entry-level or skills training time), you are eligible for 60% of the maximum amount payable.
  • If you have served at least six cumulative months (not including entry-level or skills training time), you are eligible for 50% of the maximum amount payable.
  • If you have served 90 aggregate days (not including entry-level or skills training time), you are eligible for 40% of the maximum amount payable.

What Can I Use My Post-9/11 GI Bill® Benefits to Cover?

You can use your benefits to work toward a degree, train for a career, trade or industry, work while you study, or take classes at home. Examples include:

  • College degrees, including associate, bachelor’s, or advanced degrees
  • Vocational or technical training, including non-college programs
  • Apprenticeship and on-the-job programs
  • Reimbursement for licensing and certification
  • National testing programs, including SAT, AP, and CLEP
  • Correspondence training
  • Flight training
  • Tuition assistance Top-Up program
  • Work-study
  • Tutorial assistance

How Long Do I Have to Use My Benefits?

If you left service before January 1, 2013, your benefits will expire 15 years after your last separation date. However, If you left the military after January 1, 2013, your benefits will not expire thanks to the Forever GI Bill®.

How Do I Find Out How Much of My Benefits Are Left?

If you have already applied for and received Post-9/11 GI Bill® benefits, you can check your GI Bill® Statement of Benefits to see how much of these benefits you’ve already used and how much you have left.

Should I Use My Benefits While On Active Duty?

You can use your benefits to pay for school while you’re on active duty, but you won’t get a monthly housing stipend on top of the housing allowance you already receive. Depending on the school you choose, you might be eligible for a housing stipend worth as much or more than your tuition. As a result, using your GI Bill® benefits while on active duty could mean that you end up with much less than what you would get after leaving the military.

What If I Qualify for Other VA Education Benefits?

If you qualify for more than one type of VA education benefit, then you’ll need to choose which benefit you want to use. This decision cannot be changed.

How Do I Get My Post-9/11 GI Bill® Benefits?

You can apply for your benefits:

  • In person at a VA regional office
  • Online
  • By calling 1-888-GI Bill®-1 and asking the VA to mail you an application

You will need to provide the following information to apply:

  • Your military background
  • You education history
  • Basic information about the school you want to attend
  • Social Security Number and bank account direct deposit information

If you want to change schools, you’ll need to provide similar information.

Many schools have a member of their Registrar’s office or Financial Aid office who can help you through the application. Check with your school to connect with the school certifying official.

Certificate of Eligibility

After you apply, the VA will send you a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) that details the benefits that you are eligible for. When it comes time to enroll, you’ll present this documentation to your school. You can also use this certificate as proof that payment is coming in the event that tuition payments are delayed.


You can use your Post-9/11 GI Bill® benefits to further your career in filmmaking. Let us help you get started telling your story today.

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