Author Topic: GI Bill  (Read 5903 times)

DLJ154

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GI Bill
« on: August 11, 2014, 09:41:35 AM »
I'm going to be transitioning off of active duty military service soon, and I am debating whether to use my Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits or let them go to waste. Does anyone have any experience with this dilemma?

To be more specific about the situation, I am 30 years old and already have two degrees. However, they may as well be in basket weaving as they are no use to me in the fields I want to get into as a civilian, or really any field for that matter. My military occupational specialty is communications which would transfer well to IT management in the civilian world. However, I'm afraid many companies will not look at me due to my lack of a relevant college degree.

I am looking at MBA programs at a few different schools focused in technology and IT management. My prior GPA's and GMAT scores are competitive enough to get into a top 25 MBA program. For those who are not familiar with the Post 9/11 GI Bill, the basic details are it covers all tuition at a public school for up to 36 months, plus a housing allowance and stipend to cover books and supplies - definitely an amazing benefit.

As a 30 year old, is it worth it to go back to school for a third time when I know I can be at least somewhat competitive for civilian management positions? I am married now, and my wife and I don't want to wait forever to start a family, buy a house, and settle down (that's the reason I'm getting out in the first place). Is another two years in transition worth the payoff on the back end? Anyone out there who has any experience with this please comment. Thanks!

sandandsun

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Re: GI Bill
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2014, 10:09:02 AM »
Absolutely no reason not to get admitted and enroll in a program with it being essentially free... Having "currently enrolled" in a relevant program on your resume is far better than just listing the non-related degrees- even if you never finish the program, it could help get you to the interview stage...

Travis

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Re: GI Bill
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2014, 11:15:15 AM »
IMHO, the Post 9/11 GI Bill is an opportunity you can't pass up, especially if you're unsure about your qualifications.  As you said, it's tuition, books, and a housing allowance.  You earned it, and from how unsure you are of your employment potential it sounds like you think you need it.  Also, why does this have to be a "pause" in your life?  You don't have to spent it at a "brick and mortar" school if a good online school is available to you. That way you could start your career, family, and go to school at the same time.

Villanelle

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Re: GI Bill
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2014, 12:03:40 PM »
With Post 9/11, it's not just free.  They pay you to go to school.  If you are no longer active duty, you'll get E-5 (I think?) BAH.  You are paid to go to school.

Even if you don't do it for the sake of your career, find something you (or your wife, if you've transferred any time to her or still have the ability to do so) are interested in, and take some classes.  DH and I have a friend who went to cooking school.  He never had any plans to work in the industry, but he really enjoyed cooking, and not only were the classes free, but he was paid to take them.

Also, as a compromise if you don't want to go back for another degree, you can look for certificate programs of some kind.  Believe the GI Bill covers many of those, and it might be something to add to your experience to make it look a bit more current and substantial to an employer, but without the time commitment of a graduate degree. 

RFAAOATB

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Re: GI Bill
« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2014, 12:22:48 PM »
I just finished two years of night classes using my GI bill for an MPA while working full time.  That BAH payment made up for all the nights and weekends at the school and library, and I have an MPA.  I still have some benefit months left so I might look at something else later. 

I used my BAH money as a bonus to pay down my mortgage and catch up on my ROTH IRA as when I started I was in financial trouble.  Go to work and go to school, get paid twice and be smart.  About the only thing I don't know is what student loans are.

tat96

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Re: GI Bill
« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2014, 12:41:15 PM »
Use it!!! I went to school on the old GIBill and my wife is on active duty and is planning on using hers or transferring to a child when she gets out in a few years.  I know you are probably burned out on school as you already have two degrees but this might be the chance you need to get a degree in something you can use.  Talk with a VA rep at your prospective school as I believe you may be able to use the old GIBill (Montgomery GIBill).  If you found an employer who paid tuition you could have them pay for school and pocket the GIBill money. 

When I was in college I was in ROTC ($400 stipend per month), was a National Guard member ($400 per month), received my GIBill plus kicker ($2000/mo), and had the National Guard pay my tuition.  I was literally making more going to college than I was making when I started working full time as my GIBill and stipend were tax free and I graduated with zero debt and all I had to do was work two days on the weekend every month!  Never mind the trip to Iraq......

Good luck!!

Johnny Aloha

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Re: GI Bill
« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2014, 02:35:59 PM »
Hmmm .... I might be the only one who thinks it might be better to work.

Can you transfer it to dependants?  You mentioned starting a family, so if you can transfer it now to your wife, then add a child later, that is probably more valuable than another degree for you.

FWIW - that's my strategy.  I already had 2 degrees, so I transferred to my newborn.  Since it's adjusted for inflation it's hard to beat.

SummerLovin

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Re: GI Bill
« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2014, 05:00:23 PM »
Keep some for yourself, and transfer the rest to wife.  Then, when you have a children you can transfer any unused benefit to them.  Check with the VA on what exactly needs to be done, but I believe the key is to keep "some" for later transfer.  Also, check out key dates as to when a decision needs to be made, like does a transfer need to happen before you leave service.

2ndTimer

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Re: GI Bill
« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2014, 05:17:12 PM »
If you find you have any trouble getting them to honor their promises, get your senator involved immediately.  We had to do this to get them to pay up on what they owed my spouse.  Even then it took a while.  I am quite sure that if we hadn't gotten her office into the loop we would still be pounding sand.

Scooter

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Re: GI Bill
« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2014, 06:06:50 PM »
From the website: The option to transfer is open to any member of the armed forces active duty or Selected Reserve, officer or enlisted who is eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and meets the following criteria:

    Has at least six years of service in the armed forces (active duty and/or Selected Reserve) on the date of approval and agrees to serve four additional years in the armed forces from the date of election.
    Has at least 10 years of service in the armed forces (active duty and/or Selected Reserve) on the date of approval, is precluded by either standard policy (by Service Branch or DoD) or statute from committing to four additional years, and agrees to serve for the maximum amount of time allowed by such policy or statute.
    Is or becomes retirement-eligible and agrees to serve an additional four years of service on or after Aug. 1, 2012. A Servicemember is considered to be retirement-eligible if he or she has completed 20 years of active federal service or 20 qualifying years as computed (pursuant to section 12732 of title 10 U.S.C.).
    Transfer requests are submitted and approved while the member is in the armed forces.


I transferred my benefits to my three children (you cannot transfer all four years.) This is a tougher question than it appears at first. I think you need to determine your timeline to FI under a couple of different scenarios

1. Without going to school and accepting lower pay
2. Going to school and earning a higher pay
3. Going to school and not earning a higher pay
4. All of the above but also saving for child/children's education

I still have made my mind up yet.

DLJ154

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Re: GI Bill
« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2014, 06:42:45 PM »
Thanks for all the advice.  I'm not certain on being able to transfer the benefits to my future children because they must be used within 15 years of when I get out.  If I continue on in the reserves, which is my plan, it would be easily possible to pass the benefits on to my wife.  Since the post 9/11 GI Bill supports up to 36 months of school, that is sufficient for both of us to complete two year masters degree programs.

I am pretty much convinced that I should do some kind of further schooling, whether it be a full-time or online or night program.  Does anyone have any thoughts on going full-time vs the alternatives?

Nords

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Re: GI Bill
« Reply #11 on: August 13, 2014, 12:01:21 AM »
I'm going to be transitioning off of active duty military service soon, and I am debating whether to use my Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits or let them go to waste. Does anyone have any experience with this dilemma?

To be more specific about the situation, I am 30 years old and already have two degrees. However, they may as well be in basket weaving as they are no use to me in the fields I want to get into as a civilian, or really any field for that matter. My military occupational specialty is communications which would transfer well to IT management in the civilian world. However, I'm afraid many companies will not look at me due to my lack of a relevant college degree.
I think your fear is baseless.  You have years of work experience, and your degrees are much less relevant than your more recent accomplishments.

Or, to put it another way, would you want to work for a company that was more impressed by your degrees than by your work experience?

Thanks for all the advice.  I'm not certain on being able to transfer the benefits to my future children because they must be used within 15 years of when I get out.  If I continue on in the reserves, which is my plan, it would be easily possible to pass the benefits on to my wife.  Since the post 9/11 GI Bill supports up to 36 months of school, that is sufficient for both of us to complete two year masters degree programs.

I am pretty much convinced that I should do some kind of further schooling, whether it be a full-time or online or night program.  Does anyone have any thoughts on going full-time vs the alternatives?
I think it's better to get on Linkedin and start networking these questions on the military/veterans groups and on the comms/IT groups.  I suspect that you'll find your military skills will start your career relatively quickly (especially if your Linkedin profile and your resume are already updated).  If you get a job offer then take it-- you can always go to school part-time or save the full-time version for later.  Your new employer might have specific academic suggestions for you, too. 

If you go to school full-time then your work experience sits on the shelf getting stale.  When you search for your new job after your third degree, then you'll feel limited to the companies hiring in that degree field. 

Transfer at least one month of your benefits to your spouse now (while you're on active duty) so that you can transfer more later.  Or, if she knows what she wants to do then transfer at least that much to her now.

My friend Kate Horrell at Paycheck Chronicles has more specific advice:
http://paycheck-chronicles.military.com/2014/04/09/transferring-gi-bill-spouse/
http://paycheck-chronicles.military.com/2014/07/15/gi-bill-benefits-transfer/

As a military veteran you're also eligible for a one-year upgrade to Linkedin Premium.  In fact, you more or less have to do it to keep ahead of the pack:
http://the-military-guide.com/2013/08/22/military-veterans-rate-a-free-one-year-linkedin-premium-upgrade/

EricL

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Re: GI Bill
« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2014, 03:31:27 AM »
For a better idea on what you'll get paid in BAH, go to this link:
http://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/bahCalc.cfm

Enter E-5 and the zip code for the area near the school you'll be living in.  The result, with dependents, is what the GI Bill pays.  It's a good deal but only you can determine if you'd rather take advantage yourself or transfer the benefits.  One thing though, if you take exclusively on line schooling the BAH is halved.  Also, if you've ever used an earlier version of the GI Bill those benefits must be entirely used up before going to the Post 911 GI Bill.  If you have in depth questions call the VA directly.  They have a 1-800 number on their web site.

NWGirl2004

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Re: GI Bill
« Reply #13 on: August 13, 2014, 09:15:13 PM »
Lots of good advice here, I rarely chime in so as not to be redundant, but your story is so similar to my husband's I couldn't resist.  He also was communications, and left active duty at age 30.  This was in 2009, right in the middle of the recession, and he got an IT management position 5-6 weeks after beginning to look.  Now, he did have his BA in Computer Science, but I've never heard of it making a difference of what it's in, as long as you just have a degree, if you have the experience/knowledge of how to do the job.  I'm sure you got great experience, and that is all employers are going to want to know. Well, that and how you work with other people.  Anyway, he did 3 years of reserves, so didn't want to go to school and do that at the same time.  He just held onto his benefits and a year ago started a Master's in Health Administration (he works in a hospital).  It's online, so he works full-time, and gets BAH as well.  Pretty awesome.  So I'd highly recommend using them, but there's no rush, wait till you know it's a program that you really want to do.  I don't think you'll have any trouble finding a job with your work experience. It just comes down to what you and your wife think is best, school only, or work and school.  We have two kiddos, so while not simple, it's definitely doable with a family.