Can I Stop the Montgomery GI Bill Deductions and Switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill?

Q: I joined the Army in March 2010 and just completed OCS. Instead of taking the student loan repayment program, I elected the GI Bill to keep my options open for education down the road. The issue is that I've been paying into the MGIB since March, and I just realized that under the Post 9/11 GI Bill, you're not required to pay in $1,200 as long as you're active for 3 years (which I will be). Is it possible to switch out of the MGIB? I'd rather get a refund for my $100 per month and use it to build up my savings, which is important to me. From what I've seen, the benefits Post 9/11 GI Bill far exceed the MGIB, since they pay living expense AND tuition, rather than just a monthly stipend. So should I make this change, and if so, who should I go to get it done?

A: Actually I would rather have you keep paying your $100 per month for the one-year for a couple of reasons. First, if you stop the deductions now, you lose whatever money you put into it and you run the risk of really screwing up your pay. You are almost half way done paying, why lose the $600.

If you see it to the end, then at least you have two options instead of one. Why is that important? Right now, the way the Post 9/11 GI Bill is set up, it pays only for degree-producing programs. The Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) pays for both degree-producing and non-degree courses, such as trade, technical, licenses and certifications, so it gives you more flexibility with your education options.

Many servicemembers want to jump on the Post 9/11 GI Bill bandwagon thinking it is the best GI Bill for them, because it is the newest. While it is very good, there are some degree-producing educational situations, where the MGIB actually pays better than the Post 9/11 GI Bill.

If later you determine that the Post 9/11 GI Bill is the one you want to use, you can always switch. One little-known fact is after you exhaust your Post 9/11 GI Bill entitlements, you get your $1,200 MGIB contribution back anyway, so then you didn’t lose any of your contribution. Make sense? It seem to me like a better way to go so you don't lose any money and still have the maximum amount of education options available to you.

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