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Montgomery GI Bill Overview

President Franklin D. Roosevelt first enacted the GI Bill on June 22, 1944. The 1944 GI Bill was followed by subsequent changes to the original GI Bill in 1952, 1966 and 1972.

In 1984 the GI Bill was revamped again under the direction of Gillespie “Sonny” Montgomery and became known as the Montgomery GI Bill-Active Duty (Chapter 30) (MGIB) and the Montgomery GI Bill-Selected Reserve (chapter 1606) (MGIB-SR). The Montgomery Bill was the major form of the GI Bill until 2008 when the Post 9/11 GI Bill was passed. This is a bit confusing because the 2008 bill went into effect and began offering benefits to active duty soldiers who were serving or have served in the military since 9/11/2001. Many of these soldiers were already enrolled in the Montgomery GI Bill from 2001-2008 so the two bills overlap. Moreover, the Post 9/11 GI Bill was updated yet again in 2010.

MGIB and MGIB-SR are educational assistance programs. As long the educational institution is VA approved the Montgomery GI Bill can be used for college, technical and vocational courses, on-the job training, flight and technical training, licensing, certification and entrance tests. MGIB allows active duty personnel who meet the eligibility requirements to enroll and pay $100.00 a month for the first 12 months of their active duty to receive a substantially greater amount that can be used for education or training after they leave service. The government will match these funds 4 to 1. MGIB offers 36 months worth of benefits and can be used up to ten years after leaving service with an honorable discharge.

Montgomery GI Bill-Selected Reserve (chapter 1606) is available to soldiers who are part of the Selected Reserve forces in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Army National Guard and Air National Guard. Like all benefits available to reservists, the requirements are more difficult and more complicated than they are for full time active duty soldiers. If you are in the reserves and are seeking to use the various benefits that are available, you should seek advice from your local VA office and unit commander.

In general MGIB-SR is structured similarly to the MGIB. MGIB-SR doesn’t require active duty service to qualify for benefits so the benefits are reduced. You are only entitled to receive benefits under MGIB-SR if you sign up for at least six years, have completed your Initial Active Duty Training, maintain your status by attending all your training and drilling sessions and have completed High School or your GED. A member of the Selected Reserves can receive up to 36 months worth of benefits. If you enter the reserves under what is known as the MGIB 2/4 program (you agree to serve two years of active duty and four years in the reserves) you may be eligible to receive educational benefits through both MGIB and MGIB-SR.

Whether you are Active Duty or in the Reserves, the Montgomery GI Bill can help you substantially with the tuition costs associated with higher education or training. Both bills will help enhance your post-military future.

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