Sunday, July 01, 2018

Clarifying Military Benefits

A MARINE in the Field sent me this as a kindness to clarify the various benefits one can expect if you join the military.  There have been some changes, especially over the past couple years as it pertains to pension and the "blended retirement system."  Please book mark this or send it to someone you know who is debating about joining the military.

I don't care if you use my name or not, I figured I'd give you all of the information and material and you'd let me know how much, or just post it on your blog.  I'll provide links you can put in the video description, and you can reference the video/article whenever you recommend someone join the Military, which I think is a good idea so long it's done correctly and for the right reasons.

I wan an enlisted Marine that served active duty and used the GI Bill to get a degree, not learn a trade, so any information I provide should be reviewed in that light.  The Post 9/11 GI-Bill is a fantastic program which can serve as a real boost to your future, but it's not as simple as "the Government pays for your education".  First of all, it's prorated based on how many months you served on active duty:

The minimum length of an active duty contract for the Coast Guard, Air Force, and Marines is 4 years, while the Army and Navy offer two year contracts.  If you serve two years and get out, you will only be eligible for 80% of the GI Bill, and consequently ineligible for other benefits (more on that later).  If you're a reservist or a Guardsman, you don't get this benefit unless you're activated as active duty for at least 90 days, which isn't going to happen any time soon (knock on wood).

What Reservists get is Tuition Assistance (TA), which covers up to $250/credit at a maximum rate of $4,500/year.  Unless you're in the Navy or Marine Reserve, in which case you don't get anything:

Active duty service members also get TA, though I was rarely able to use it due the units I was in.  Other branches of service are more friendly to the idea, and every unit is different.

Reservists qualify for the Montgomery GI-Bill Selective Reserve (SR) if they sign onto the Reserves for a minimum six year stint:

If you attend school full time, you can get up to $375/month using this program.

With that in mind, I nearly always recommend that anyone wanting to enlist pays their dues up front and signs on for at least 4 years active duty.  As a rule of thumb, the more combat-oriented your job, the less bullshit you'll have to put up with.

That said, back to the Post 9/11 GI-Bill.  I will skip over the Active Duty Montgomery GI-Bill, because it was superseded by the Post 9/11 GI-Bill in 2008, which is almost always a better deal.  Assuming you did your 4 years and have 100% of the benefits, the Bill will pay all tuition and fees for an in-state student, and up to $22,805.34/year in tuition and fees for a private/foreign school:

As of 2015, all veterans are charged at in-state tuition rates in all 50 states:

That means that you can attend ANY public University in the US for free.  You will also be paid a monthly stipend rated off of the cost of living for an E5 (Sergeant in the Marines) with dependents based off of the zip code of your school:

This can range from around $1000-3000/month based on the area.  Too many guys try to game this system.  View this as aid to get your degree, which is where the real money is going to be made.  Don't select your school based on getting a few extra bucks a month.

Now, assuming that you want to attend a private University (which would usually be a horrible idea), and assuming that you have 100% eligibility, you are eligible for the Yellow Ribbon Program:

The Yellow Ribbon Program is an agreement individual Universities and Colleges enter into with the Government whereby the Government pays the maximum $22,805.34/year in tuition and fees for a private/foreign school, and the University pays a percentage of half of what remains and the Department of Veterans Administrations matches them.  For example, say a school costs $40,000/year.  The GI Bill pays the $22,805.34, and you're on the hook for the remaining $17,194.66.  The school agrees to pay 100% of half of that, so they pitch in $8,597.33, and the VA matches that, which means you don't pay anything.

The Yellow Ribbon Program is different for every school however, and what each school offers tells you something about how they view vets.  For example, Harvard University offers a max of $6,000.  They cost about $65,000/year, which would leave you on the hook for about $30,000/year.  Be sure to select schools based on their Yellow Ribbon contribution rate, and how many students they will provide it to.  The program is on a first-come-first-served basis, and some schools only allow for a handful of students to get the program each year.

Anyways, that's pretty much it.  You also get a $1,000/year book stipend in the Post 9/11 GI-Bill along with a host of little things, but those are the major things.  I like your recommendation that students go STEM, the trades, and/or the Military, and I hope this information will help some of them down the path to a less painful life.


Maus said...

Payin' it forward. Now that's USMC leadership in action. Thanks Mark. Semper Fi.

Anonymous said...

My wife is a retired disabled vet...and she transferred her GI bill to our son who turned it into a Bachelors in biology on his way to med school. So he got a bachelors --debt free. Since the VA has the wife classified as "100% P+T" any dependents can receive 36 months of a 1k stipend if attending full-time. That means that me (husband) can go to college as well as our adopted granddaughter when the time comes. I have 10 years to use this and the granddaughter has until she's 26.

Wandering man said...

What happened to the rest of your posts? 😕

Big D said...

More government welfare...the warfare/welfare state have become one!

Yeah, yeah, I know, I know...we'd all be speaking Vietnamese and Saddam Hussein would the President!