Understanding the Post-9/11 GI Bill: A Quick Guide

Educational Benefits

The Post-9/11 GI Bill provides financial support for education and housing to individuals with at least 90 days of aggregate service after Sept.10, 2001, or individuals discharged with a service-connected disability after 30 days. You must have received an honorable discharge to be eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Only the Veterans Administration can determine your personal eligibility for benefits. Call 888-837-7697 to learn about your eligibility status.

Approved training under the Post-9/11 GI Bill includes graduate and undergraduate degrees, vocational/technical training, on-the-job training, flight training, correspondence training, licensing and national testing programs, entrepreneurship training and tutorial assistance. All training programs must be approved for GI Bill benefits.

This benefit provides up to 36 months of education benefits. Generally benefits are payable for 15 years following your release from active duty. The Post-9/11 GI Bill also offers some service members the opportunity to transfer their GI Bill to dependents.

Post-9/11 GI Bill Benefit Tiers

All Post-9/11 GI Bill benefit payments are based on the amount of creditable active-duty service each veteran has earned since Sept. 10, 2001, if you are an active-duty, National Guard, Selected Reserve member, or veteran who has served on active-duty for 90 or more days since Sept. 10, 2001. This includes active service as a National Guard member under title 32 U.S.C. for the purpose of organizing, administering, recruiting, instructing, or training, and active service under section 502(f) of title 32 for the purpose of responding to a national emergency. The MHA is not payable to individuals on active duty or those enrolled at half time or less.

Post-9/11 ServicePercentage of Maximum Amount Payable
At least 36 cumulative months (includes entry level or skills training time) 100%
At least 30 continuous days on active duty and discharged due to service-connected disability 100%
At least 30 cumulative months (includes entry level or skills training time) 90%
At least 24 cumulative months (cannot include entry level or skills training time) 80%
At least 18 cumulative months (cannot include entry level or skills training time)  70%
At least 12 cumulative months (cannot include entry level or skills training time) 60%
At least 6 cumulative months (cannot include entry level or skills training time)

50%

90 aggregate days (cannot include entry level or skills training time)

 40%

Recipients may not receive an amount that exceeds the maximum in-state amount of established charges at the most expensive public school in that state. That amount is further reduced for part-time study (i.e., half time or less) if the actual charges are less than the educational benefit would otherwise be. The maximum allowance for books, supplies, equipment and other educational costs is $1,000 per academic year, paid proportionately by term.

Note: SUNY Empire State College has been classified as a distance learning institution, regardless of the course delivery format, by the Veterans Administration. The ESC effective MHA (monthly housing allowance). This amount is based on full-time enrollment (12 credits) and 100 percent entitlement of the Post-9/11 GI Bill; this is half the national average BAH (basic allowance for housing) rate.

If you have questions, regarding your eligibility and entitlement to VA education benefits, please contact our onsite veterans benefit counselor, Paul Stote, at 800-847-3000, ext. 2871, or email Paul.Stote@veterans.ny.gov.  

Payments are made according to the following schedule:

  • The book allowance is paid to the student at the beginning of each term.
  • Housing stipends are paid to the student monthly.
  • Tuition payments are made directly to the student’s institution.

If you withdraw from one or more of your courses after the end of the school's drop period, the VA may reduce or stop your benefits on the date of reduction or withdrawal. If you withdraw from a course after the end of the drop period, you may have to repay all benefits for the course unless you can show that the change was due to mitigating circumstances. The VA defines "mitigating circumstances" as unavoidable and unexpected events that directly interfere with your pursuit of a course and are beyond your control.

Examples of reasons VA may accept are:

  • extended illness
  • severe illness or death in your immediate family
  • unscheduled changes in your employment
  • lack of child care.

Examples of reasons the VA may not accept are:

  • withdrawal to avoid a failing grade
  • dislike of the instructor
  • too many courses attempted.

Note: The VA may ask you to furnish evidence to support your reason for a change.

  • If a serious injury or illness caused the change, obtain a statement from your doctor.
  • If a change in employment caused the change, obtain a statement from your employer.

The first time you withdraw from up to six credit hours, the VA will "excuse" the withdrawal and pay benefits for the period attended. Remember, this only applies to your first withdrawal. If you receive a grade that does not count toward graduation, you may have to repay all benefits for the course.

Go to the Registrar's Page for Withdrawal Forms and Instructions for further information. Students who have been approved through the federal waiver process (Mitigating Circumstance) are required to complete the "Academic Plan". The form can be viewed online at www.esc.edu/goodacademicstanding

  • Active-duty military
    Students who are on active duty still may receive education benefits up to the maximum in-state established charge at the most expensive public school in that state. However, benefits are not available for a housing allowance or books. For details on what the GI Bill provides if you are serving active military duty, see the Active Duty GI Bill User's Guide at www.military.com.
  • Transfer of benefits
    Eligible individuals may transfer a portion of their education benefits to their spouse, children (until the age of 26), or a combination of both. Only active members of the armed forces who have completed at least six years of service and agree to serve at least four more years are eligible for this benefit. To learn more, visit Transfer of Post-9/11 GI Bill Benefits to Dependents (TEB) on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website.

Contact the Office of Veteran and Military Education at 800-867-5941, 518 587-2100, ext. 2779 or military.programs@esc.edu for assistance with applying your GI Bill education benefits to Empire State College.