What Is the Post-9/11 GI Bill?

The Post-9/11 GI Bill is a U.S. law that provides education benefits to military veterans who have taken part in active-duty service after Sept. 10, 2001. To be eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill, an applicant must have served at least 90 days and still be on active duty or served at least 30 continuous days and been honorably discharged for a disability related to serving. The bill was passed and signed into law in 2008.

Key Takeaways

  • The Post-9/11 GI Bill is part of a larger effort by the federal government to provide benefits to veterans returning from duty.
  • Benefits include up to 100% tuition and fee coverage for education, a monthly housing allowance for school, and a one-time relocation allowance.
  • Service members may be eligible if they served at least 90 days on active duty after Sept. 10, 2001, or were honorably discharged from active duty for a service-related disability after serving at least 30 continuous days following Sept. 10, 2001.

Understanding the Post-9/11 GI Bill

The Post-9/11 GI Bill, along with the original GI Bill (1944) and the Montgomery GI Bill (1984), represents a continued effort by the federal government to provide benefits to veterans returning from duty. The original GI Bill was created in response to the failure of the U.S. government to provide benefits to veterans of World War I, which had resulted in protests during the Great Depression.

Benefits of the Post-9/11 GI Bill include up to 100% tuition and fee coverage for education, a monthly housing allowance for school, and a one-time relocation allowance for eligible service members. Education includes college degrees, vocational training, and apprenticeship programs, among others.

If a service member is eligible for other educational benefits offered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs separate from the Post-9/11 GI Bill, they will have to choose between them. You can’t receive other education benefits at the same time, and the decision can’t be changed after a choice is made.

Post-9/11 GI Bill Eligibility

Service members may be eligible if they served at least 90 aggregate days on active duty after Sept. 10, 2001, or were honorably discharged from active duty for a service-related disability after serving at least 30 continuous days following Sept. 10, 2001.

If military service ended before Jan. 1, 2013, benefits expire 15 years after the last separation date from active service. All benefits must be used by that time, or whatever is left will expire. If service ended on or after Jan. 1, 2013, benefits won’t expire due to the Forever GI Bill — Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act, which was signed into law in 2017.

Children of a member of the armed forces who died in the line of duty on or after Sept. 11, 2001, may be eligible for Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits under the Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship program.

Post-9/11 GI Bill Benefits

The Post-9/11 GI Bill provides funding for training, as well as tuition assistance to veterans. The bill provides up to three years of benefits. An update to the bill, the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Improvements Act of 2010, expanded eligibility to members of the National Guard and Active Guard and Reserve.

The Post-9/11 GI Bill has several benefits, including:

  • Up to 100% tuition and fee coverage (up to the national average of $26,042.81 as of the 2021 academic school year)
  • A monthly housing allowance (based on where the school is located)
  • Up to $1,000 a year for books and supplies
  • A one-time relocation allowance
  • The Yellow Ribbon Program (partial support to attend private or out-of-state universities)

If you are a qualified service member, you can transfer all 36 months or a portion of your Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to a spouse or child. The Department of Defense must approve the transfer.

Post-9/11 GI Bill Benefit Tiers

All Post-9/11 GI Bill benefit payments are based on the amount of active-duty service that each veteran has since Sept. 10, 2001. The following percentage of benefits apply based on post-9/11 active-duty service:

  • 100%: Requires at least 36 months or a Purple Heart received on or after Sept. 11, 2001
  • 100%: Requires at least 30 continuous days on active duty and discharged due to service-connected disability
  • 90%: Requires at least 30 months but less than 36 months
  • 80%: Requires at least 24 months but less than 30 months
  • 70%: Requires at least 18 months but less than 24 months
  • 60%: Requires at least six months but less than 18 months
  • 50%: Requires at least 90 days but less than six months