Within the GI Bill, there are various funding and educational benefits that can leave your head spinning without proper guidance.
In this article, we’ll dig into a common question that veterans have when researching their benefits: What are the differences between Chapter 30 and 33 of the GI Bill? Which one is right for me?
The Department of Veterans Affairs created the GI Bill to help veterans and other returning service members obtain a degree or certificate from an institution of higher learning and transition into a new career. The different chapters of the GI Bill are to differentiate the various eligibility structures within the benefits.
Chapter 30 is also known as the Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty (MGIB-AD) and is for active duty and veterans. Veterans who are eligible receive direct payments for 36 months while the student is actively enrolled in school.
Chapter 33 is known as the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and is also for active duty and veterans. The main difference is that Post-9/11 recipients do not receive money directly from the VA, aside from a monthly housing allowance and money for books and supplies. Instead, the VA pays tuition assistance to the school or institution to cover costs.
Chapter 30 of the GI Bill
Chapter 30 of the GI Bill is for active duty military service veterans who served for at least two years in the armed forces. There are a few stipulations that determine eligibility. To qualify for the educational assistance program, veterans must have:
- Entered active duty for the first time after June 30, 1985
- Received a high school diploma or equivalent before the end of their first year of service
- Receive an honorable discharge
Chapter 30 Benefits
The Montgomery Bill is broken down into two types: MGIB Active Duty and MGIB Selected Reserve.
The MGIB-SR benefits are available for members of certain Reserve programs and National Guard Forces, and recipients are eligible for a flat-rate check of $397 to full-time students on a monthly basis.
MGIB-AD pays a higher monthly rate; up to $2,122 for up to 36 months. This education benefit is available for veterans and service members who served for at least two years in active duty. They can use the funds for enrollment for college degrees, certificate programs, flight training, technical or vocational courses, apprenticeships, and other training programs.
The VA pays the benefits on a monthly basis, and the amount you receive will depend on your length of service, the type of training or education you choose, your category of eligibility, and whether you qualify for a college fund. Funding amounts also depend on how much you’ve paid into the $600 Buy-Up program, which can increase your monthly payments over time.
Veterans usually have 10 years to use the MGIB-AD, which could change depending on your situation.
Chapter 33 of the GI Bill
Chapter 33 of the GI Bill is known as the Post-9/11 GI Bill. This bill provides education benefits for school or job training for veterans who served on active duty after September 10, 2001.
For entitlement, you must meet at least one of the following requirements:
- Served at least 90 days on active duty on or after September 11, 2001 (could be all at once or with breaks)
- Served at least 30 continuous days without a break in service on or after September 11, 2001
- Received a Purple Heart on or after September 11, 2001 and were honorably discharged after any amount of service
- Are a dependent child using benefits that have been transferred by a qualifying veteran
Chapter 33 Benefits
The Post-9/11 GI Bill helps qualifying students attend a higher education institution of their choice. How much you qualify for depends on how long you served. Veterans who served for 90 days would qualify for 40 percent of the maximum amount, while veterans who served for three years would qualify for 100 percent of the benefit.
The Post-9/11 GI BIll educational assistance includes the following:
- Tuition and fees: The VA will cover the full cost of public, in-state tuition and fees for veterans who qualify for the maximum benefit. Students attending for less than full-time will be eligible for a reduced amount.
- Housing stipend: Veterans in school more than half time get a housing allowance based on location.
- Books and supplies: Veterans can receive up to $1,000 per year.
- Relocation costs: The VA provides a one-time payment of $500 if you’re moving from a rural area to a new city to attend school.
Your VA education benefits are all based on how much active service you’ve had since September 10, 2001. The VA will calculate this amount based on a percentage of the maximum benefit.
Chapter 30 vs Chapter 33: Which GI Bill is Best for Me?
Choosing which education benefit is best for you really depends on your military experience and your educational goals.
Chapter 30 recipients (Montgomery Bill) must have had two full years of active duty since 1985, whereas Chapter 33 veterans must have 90 days of service since September 10, 2001 to qualify for some assistance. To receive the maximum amount through Chapter 33, a full three years of service is required.
The difference in pay structure is also notable. Chapter 30 veterans receive direct payments from the VA, whereas Chapter 33 recipients have the bulk of their benefits paid directly to the school of their choosing, with only housing stipends and payments for books and supplies going directly to the student.
Another consideration is your educational goals. If you have your heart set on a school that has a higher cost of tuition, Chapter 33 is a more viable option than Chapter 30. However, if you’re planning to do an apprenticeship or on-the-job training, a monthly allowance may be more valuable to you.
The final consideration is the duration of benefits. Veterans who are eligible for and choose Chapter 30, benefits are available for 10 years from the last day of active duty. For Chapter 33, benefits are available for 15 years after being released from active duty.
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