5 Tips to Maximize GI Bill Education Benefit

Home > Ask the Guidance Counselor > G.I. > 5 Tips to Maximize Your GI Bill Education Benefit


I just got out and I want to know how I can get the most use out of my GI Bill education benefits. -- Dan


Dan, many newly separated veterans know they have the 36 months of Post-9/11 GI Bill or Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) entitlements, but are unaware how to maximize the use of their benefits. Outlined below are five tips to get you the most mileage from each benefit.

Tip #1 - Converting Military Service to Credits

The American Council on Education (ACE) evaluates every military job and skill level. Based on their evaluation, they assign a certain number of credits that you can be awarded. Take, for example, an E-6 11B Infantryman, which you wouldn’t think would convert to any college credits. ACE notes it is worth 10 credits in the lower division, associate or baccalaureate category:

  • 1 in map reading
  • 1 in first aid
  • 2 in record keeping
  • 3 in personnel supervision
  • 3 in human relations

So automatically, you have 10 credits and have not taken a college class yet. Ten credits translates into not having to take three 3-credit introductory electives, plus it didn't cost you any GI Bill entitlement to get the credits.

Tip #2 – Mix Online and On-Campus Classes

Online learning has revolutionized the way we go to school and for good reason--flexibility. Now you can study when it fits into your lifestyle. You can go to school anywhere as long as you have an Internet connection.

But monetarily, that might not be your best all-around option. Why? If you are a full time student taking all your classes online, you only get half of the Post 9/11 GI Bill housing allowance ($673.50). However, if you take just one on-campus class per semester, you get the full monthly housing allowance - double of the online-only amount.

Tip #3 – Use the Montgomery GI Bill

In some cases, you may actually earn more by using the Montgomery GI Bill, provided you are eligible. As of this writing, the MGIB pays $1,473 per month and you have to pay all your own education expenses.

If you plan to go to a school where the authorized housing allowance is low and veterans do not pay tuition, you may be financially better off with the old GI Bill. Also, if you are at the 50% or less tier of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, you may also be better off with the old GI Bill. In either case, do your homework to see which one is financially right for you.

Tip #4 – The Yellow Ribbon Program

For Post 9/11 GI Bill students at the 100% tier and paying out-state tuition or private school tuition exceeding the $17,500 per year cap, then the Yellow Ribbon can be your financial holy grail. If your school has a Yellow Ribbon agreement with the VA, then your school can pay up to 50% of the difference between what they charge and what the GI Bill pays. The VA pays an equal amount leaving you with very little, if any, out-of-pockets costs. Just be sure to ask about the percentage they cover and if your online degree program is included in their agreement.

Tip #5 - The Rule of 48

Many students qualify for both GI Bills , but don’t know that if they switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill with MGIB benefits left, they only get that same number of Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits. However, if they first use up all their MGIB benefits and then switch, they can get an additional 12 months of education. Crazy, but true.

So there you have it - five of the most popular ways you can use to squeeze your GI Bill for all it’s worth. You earned your GI Bill benefits - now get the most out of it.

Browse Online Schools

Refine School Matches
Hide filters
  • SUBJECT Clear All

    See More


    See More



    Please enter valid US or Canada Zip.
            Results open in new window

            Searching Searching ...

            Prefer exploring options talking to our staff?
            Call toll free now: 1.855.330.6938
            Matching School Ads
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
            • Dedicated career services team that helps students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas
            • Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary
            • Program Coordinators focus on improving program content and ensure that students have the resources they need
            • Over 50 locations nationwide
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            1 Program(s) Found
            • Syracuse University’s Master of Science in Computer Science program is designed to help students discover groundbreaking solutions to complex technology challenges and develop expertise in areas such as security and assurance, artificial intelligence, computer architecture, and advanced programming.
            • Students will gain advanced knowledge in critical areas, such as Security and Assurance, Artificial Intelligence, and Computer Architecture, and Advanced Programming.
            • Founded in 1901, the school has maintained its reputation as a leader in the field, offering a curriculum built on theory, fundamentals, and application with a worldwide community of over 20,000 engineering and computer science alumni
            • Syracuse University’s College of Engineering and Computer Science is designated by the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security as a Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education (CAEIAE) since 2001 and as a Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Research (CAE-R) since 2009.
            • Designed and taught by Syracuse faculty, the curriculum built on theory, fundamentals, and application.
            Show more [+]
            • Online Courses
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Provides students the opportunity to train at home in their spare time to get their high school diploma, train for a new career, or enhance current skills.
            • Offers programs in psychology/social work, business management, medical billing, criminal justice, and more.
            • Member of the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA), the Canadian Network for Innovation in Education (CNIE), and the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE).
            • Features a fully flexible schedule with no classes to attend, leaving the study pace up to the student.
            Show more [+]
            • Online Courses
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Offers training in various types of massage therapy, physical therapy/sports rehab, and personal fitness training & wellness.
            • Teaches in an environment that promotes learning and encourages empathetic and compassionate therapists.
            • Career service professionals work directly with students from the start of their program, and help them pursue employment in day spas, luxury hotels, cruise ships, and other locations.
            • Students can work in the SOCHI Massage Clinic to gain experience and build their career skills.
            • Financial aid representatives help students develop a personalized financial plan to finance their tuition.
            Show more [+]
            • Financial Aid
            1 Program(s) Found
            • Earn an NYU degree from anywhere in the country using our state-of-the-art online platform. You’ll attend live online classes, complete self-paced course work, and gain hands-on clinical experiences at field sites in or near your community.
            • Personalize your education based on your interests and goals with our diverse curriculum. Our clinical externship experiences and electives are designed to provide you with a comprehensive learning experience. We also offer all necessary foundation courses for admitted students who need to complete them before beginning the graduate-level courses.
            • Complete courses taught by expert NYU faculty who have diverse research interests and expertise in a variety of areas. As practicing clinicians who are highly active in the field, our faculty members apply real-world experiences to the classroom and act as supportive mentors to our students. 
            Show more [+]
            • Online Courses
            1 Program(s) Found
            • Master of Science in Communications offered online through Syracuse University’s world-renowned Newhouse School of Public Communications.
            • Ranked among the Best Global Universities in 2016 by U.S. News & World Report.
            • Specializations include Advertising, Public Relations, and Journalism Innovation.
            • Coursework provides students with communication strategies for today’s changing media landscape.
            Show more [+]
            • Online Courses
            2 Program(s) Found
            • Ranked among the Best National Universities in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Ranked 8th among the Best Online Graduate Education Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • A private, co-ed college founded in 1821 and located in downtown Washington, D.C.
            • Its student-faculty ratio is 13:1, and 55.1% of classes have fewer than 20 students.
            • Has distinguished alumni including Senator Harry Reid, former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, and actress Courtney Cox.
            Show more [+]
            • Accredited
            • Online Courses
            • Accelerated Programs
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            2 Program(s) Found
            • Ranked 21st among the Best Education Schools in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Established in 1918 with the mission, “to improve learning in urban education locally, nationally, and globally.”
            • The first major research university to offer an online M.A.  in teaching program.
            • Offers certificate through doctoral programs in teaching, counseling, and more.
            • All programs taught with the guiding principles of leadership, learning, accountability, and diversity.
            Show more [+]
            • Online Courses
            1 Program(s) Found

            Simmons’ online Master of Public Health program, MPH@Simmons, is designed to give you the real-world skills you need to address health inequity on a local, national, and global scale. The MPH@Simmons program explores the core areas of public health: epidemiology, biostatistics, health policy and health services, environmental health, and social/behavioral health. Additionally, the practice-based curriculum incorporates courses specifically designed to help you develop leadership and advocacy skills.

            The program is delivered online through a blend of live online classes and self-paced course work. Additionally, you’ll participate in public health service-learning experiences during your time in the program, giving you relevant, on-ground experience.

            • Online Courses
            1 Program(s) Found
            Nursing@USC , Online
            • Nursing@USC’s unique learning experience allows aspiring FNPs across the United States to earn a USC education without relocating.
            • The program blends face-to-face online classes with in-person learning experiences on USC’s campus and at clinical sites near students’ communities.
            • All classes are designed and taught by USC’s world-class faculty, who are experienced and respected nurse practitioners.
            • Students have the flexibility of earning their degree either full time or part time within 21 or 33 months.
            • Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges
            Show more [+]
            • Online Courses