After you have read the material under the “Things to Consider” heading on the education page, it is time to get started.
The first thing to do to begin using your education benefits is to apply here (http://gibill.va.gov/apply-for-benefits/application/)
You will receive a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) from the VA. Step two, take that to your school and meet with the school certifying official.
Things To Consider
1. What type of education benefits am I eligible for?
There are multiple chapters of the GI Bill, each pays a different amount and each has different eligibility criteria. Eligible service members may receive 36 months of benefits under any one chapter of benefits and may combine multiple chapters to get up to 48 months of benefits. However, in order to maximize the amount of benefits anyone receives, you must know what you are entitled to and how those chapters interact with one another.
Click here (http://www.gibill.va.gov/benefits/index.html) to learn more about each chapter.
2. What do I want to do? What are my educational/training goals?
As each type of GI Bill pays differently, knowing what your overall goals are will help you know which chapter is better suited for your needs. For example, you may be eligible for Ch 30 (Montgomery GI Bill) and Ch 33 (Post 9/11 GI Bill) and your goal is to get your CDL. The Ch 30 will pay a higher housing allowance but will not pay tuition, CDL training will take approximately 5 weeks, so in this case it may be better to get less money for the month but have the tuition paid or partially paid with the GI Bill. Whereas someone who wants to gain an Associates Degree and is eligible for a scholarship or grant may be better off getting the higher monthly payment of CH 30 because the tuition is funded through another source. Keep in mind that the GI Bill is not only available for traditional college and technical training but also for Apprenticeships and On-the-Job Training programs.
Click here (http://www.onetonline.org/) to explore career options
3. Where do I want to go to complete my training?
In looking at your overall education and training goals it is important to research and determine what training establishments can best lead you to that goal and what that cost will be. Perhaps you can accomplish the initial phase of your program at another institution. For instance, if you’d like to end up at a University level, it may be more economical to complete your general requirements at a two year school. Keep in mind that it is always the institution where you want to finish your program that will determine which of your credits they will accept as transfer. Always check with the University you want your degree from before you start a program at another school. Not all credits will transfer.
Often institutions will look at who your first school is accredited by and will often not accept transfer credits from schools outside of their accreditation.
Click here (http://gibill.va.gov/resources/education_resources/choosing_a_school.html) for more tips on choosing a school.
Click here (http://www2.ed.gov/admins/finaid/accred/index.html) to learn more about accreditation in the US and to see if the institution you are interested in accredited.
4. Is my desired program approved?
In order to use the GI Bill, that program must be approved by the State in which it is administered.
Click here (http://www.gibill.va.gov/resources/education_resources/find_a_School.html) for a list of currently approved programs.
If your desired program is not on the list, contact us to begin the process. They may be eligible and they just have not yet applied.