GI Bill Active Duty?

Discussion in 'Military-related education topics' started by jpoliveira, Jun 5, 2013.

  1. jpoliveira

    jpoliveira New Member

    Hi all!

    So, I have been accepted to a variety of graduate programs. Some have a reputable name, some don't. I am still active duty military, and I am trying to figure out my best funding option. Should I use my MGIB active-duty to earn a graduate degree from a reputable institution? Or should I use TA to pursue my Master's for little cost (and earn a Master's from a "small name" school) and save all of my GI benefits for post military educational pursuits?

    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 5, 2013
  2. Personally, I would change from the MGIB to the Post 9/11 GI Bill. Then I would wait until after you have separated/retired in order to use it. A service member almost always loses out when they use their GI Bill while on active duty.
  3. jpoliveira

    jpoliveira New Member

    Thank you, peacful. I have both MGIB and Post 9/11. The only reason I would consider using the MGIB is due to the fact that if a service member exhausts all 36 months of MGIB benefits than they will receive an additional 12 months of 9/11 benefits.
  4. I've never really understood why a person would exhaust their MGIB instead of flipping it into 9/11 benefits. Please explain that to me. From what I've seen 9/11 benefits almost always cover more tuition than MGIB.
  5. CavTrooper

    CavTrooper New Member

    Alot of people will tell you to wait and use your benefits after you leave the service, because of the housing allowance and other perks (yellow ribbon program comes to mind). However, you need to analyze your specific situation and go from there. If the grad program you want to enroll in is a public institution and you are in-state, the GI bill should cover the entire program, minus travel and other related expenses even while on active duty. It might behoove you to finish your degree at a big-name school now, to be more competitive for the work force when you separate from the service.

    For example, in my particular situation, I'm active duty, stationed in DC. It makes far more sense for me to use my GI Bill at George Washington University while I have a full time job, than trying to wait until I leave the service and attend full time. I'd incur significant debt for living expenses in the DC area, despite the fact that I would have the housing allowance - but by doing the program now, I'll have zero debt.

    Also, how old will you be when you leave the service? How much TIS will you have? What are your ultimate educational objectives? Going to college/grad school is more than a financial investment - it's a time and effort investment as well. Putting a ton of time and effort into a small-name program now might make no sense if you acheive a terminal degree. What will you then use the GI Bill for later on? I think there comes a point in life where you need to be productive in the work force in order to maintain credibility. If I ramble around in the military for a few years, get a degree here or there, then roll out into the civilian world, ramble around.... spend a few years in school, etc.., with no clear progression or career direction, I think I'll end up constructing a "drifter" type reputation for myself. This could be detrimental when trying to seek employment. So there are alot more factors than simply finances to consider when deciding about grad school.

    All that being said, carefully analyze your situation and determine what will work best for you. If you are at a point now when you can feasibly complete your education at a great school, using the GI Bill, do so. And if you can complete it on active duty, you'll actually end up saving Uncle Sam (novel thought here) some extra $ by achieving your educational objectives at a lower net cost to the government.

    As a caveat - I'm also a fellow "undecided" in terms of grad school - I'm finishing up at George Washington, but am currently also trying to figure out where I'll go for my terminal degree (MBA program in my case). So, feel free to take my advice with a grain of salt.
  6. jpoliveira

    jpoliveira New Member

    My understanding is that if you exhaust all 36 months of your MGIB you are eligible for an additional 12 months of 9/11 benefits. Therefore growing the total benefits from 36 to 48 total months. I have been that many people, especially those whose school will be entiely covered with the MGIB, will choose this option.
  7. jpoliveira

    jpoliveira New Member


    Thanks for the reply! I am definitely considering your suggestion as well. I do not want to sit in a classroom following my service, so I am continuosly trying to figure out the opportunity costs. Sure, I will lose out on BAH, but I keep asking myself if I will earn more in those 2-3 years working full time. Considering I have been accepted to a Banking & Finance program at Boston University, I am strongly considering using 20 months of my GI benefits active-duty.
  8. I respect that. With the cost of education rising, I haven't seen to many programs that will fit entirely in the MGIB stipend. Even a lot of state schools will surpass the amount if you're looking for "name recognition".

    How much does going to the "big name" school really improve your chances of getting the job you want? Is it going to be based solely on the degree you have or the X years of experience that you bring to the table...or both? Are you serving in a finance job in the military right now?
  9. jpoliveira

    jpoliveira New Member

    I'm not entirely sure how much going to the "big name" will improve my chances, but considering I do not have any relevant work experience I want to be sure I make myself competitive. Many of the entry-level positions I have researched require only the degree; however, I have seen something along the lines of "from a competitive university" advertised numerous times. I am also trying to keep in mind my long-term goal of earning an MBA, and I've been told (maybe falsely) that many "top" MBA programs will place a lot of weight on the applicants previous institutions.

    So I'm not sure, and I'm pulling my hair out! And no, I am not serving in a financial position right now - I'm an Infantryman :arms:

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