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G.I. Bill 2.0 now new and improvedG.I. Bill 2.0 now new and improved

Now that you’ve had time to review the Montgomery G.I. Bill (in the (previous edition) we’ll update you on the latest changes and updates that apply specifically to flight training. Many of the stipulations remain the same, such as the prerequisite of a private pilot certificate, so make sure you refer back to the MGIB for details unless changes are outlined.

Though Congress passed the Post-9/11 Veterans Education Assistance Improvements Act of 2010 (often referred to as G.I. Bill 2.0 or GB2) in January 2011, modifications to the bill have continued to roll out. In fact, on Oct. 1, 2011, more changes will be taking effect. It’s important to strongly caution your students that prior to electing to use the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill, they should to review how it will affect their benefits. One vital piece of information is that any service member who paid the $1,200 buy-in for the Montgomery G.I. Bill and elects to use the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill may be refunded a proportional amount if, and after all entitlement under the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill is used. Individuals who do not use all their entitlement under the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill will not receive a refund of contributions paid under the Montgomery G.I. Bill.

Post 9/11 G.I. Bill 2.0:

  • Qualification - If a service member meets the service requirements for the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill he or she will be eligible, even if that person declined to participate in the Montgomery G.I. Bill, and even if he or she made no contributions.
    • Effective Aug. 1, 2009, but not payable until Oct. 1, 2011, the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill will include active service performed by specified National Guard members under title 32 U.S.C. for the purpose of organizing, administering, recruiting, instructing, or training the National Guard; or under section 502(f) for the purpose of responding to a national emergency.
  • Eligibility - The period of eligibility for the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill ends 15 years from the date of the last discharge or release from active duty of at least:
    • 90 consecutive days or
    • 30 days but less than 90 days if released for a service-connected disability or
    • 15 years from the date of discharge for the last period of service used to meet the minimum service requirements of 90 aggregate days of service.

One of the most important changes to flight schools is the fact that effective Oct. 1, 2011, flight training will be covered for Part 63, 141, or 142 flight schools without the requisite to attend an institute of higher learning. The benefit will pay the actual net costs for tuition and fees, or up to $10,000, whichever is less, per academic year. While the tuition cost payable through your affiliation with an in-state college or university is considerably higher (up to $17,500), if the student chooses flight training only, that is now possible without enrolling in a degree program. To participate in the program your school must review the rules and enroll with the VA by first submitting a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). To find further information, forms and assistance, visit VA-ONCE or the VA’s FAQ page.

Arguably one of the most heralded and noted improvements for service members enrolled in the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill program is that for the first time in history they will be able to transfer unused educational benefits to their spouse or children.

Unfortunately, as the MGIB is one of those use-it-or-lose-it types of benefits, often service members would simply have to forfeit them. Now, instead of incurring costly student loans and digging into their retirement funds to send their kids through college or flight training, they’ll be able to pass along this tremendous benefit instead of losing out.

As with other bills, there are eligibility requirements. In fact, unless the service member was eligible for retirement on Aug. 1, 2009, he or she will most likely be required to serve an additional amount of time in order to be able to transfer benefits. Because of this stipulation, requests for the transfer must be made and completed while still on active duty. Here are some important details to be aware of if a student plans on taking advantage of the program:

  • Spouse:
    • Can use the benefits during or after the service member’s separation from active duty.
    • Can use the benefit for up to 15 years after the service member’s last separation from active duty.
    • Though it won’t affect one’s eligibility to receive benefits, if a student divorces the service member during the course of training, the service member has the ability to revoke the transfer of funds at any time.
  • Child:
    • Must have high school diploma or be 18 years old.
    • Can only use the benefit after the parent making the transfer has served at least 10 years.
    • Can use the benefit while the parent is on active or inactive duty or retired.
    • Only eligible to receive funds until the child’s twenty-sixth birthday.
    • Marriage does not affect eligibility to receive the funds.
    • Parent service member has the right to revoke the transfer of funds at any time.

Since it may be a benefit that goes unnoticed or unknown to those eligible, you should consider marketing the information to get the word out. Post notices on your website, newsletters, and front reception area to let everyone know that any service member who was in the Armed Forces (active duty or Selected Reserve, officer or enlisted, including NOAA and PHS personnel) on Aug. 1, 2009, may be able to transfer benefits to his or her spouse or dependent children.

For those interested you can direct them to the DOD transferability application website where they’ll be able to see if they’re eligible.

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