Q: Good afternoon, I am considering pursuing a BA degree for an Electronics Engineer. I am a resident of Wyoming got out of the Marines one year ago. I qualify for the Old GI Bill and the New GI Bill. My question is if I were to attend Western Nebraska Community College (WNCC) for 2 years of pre-electrical engineering courses, then attend University of Wyoming (UW) for the BA degree, would my New GI Bill be able to pay for all of the schooling, or would I end up paying some of the cost out of my own pocket? Additionally, if I were to finish one course of study at one school, is it even possible to continue at another school with the GI Bill, or is it a one shot deal?
A: No, it is not a one-shot deal. You don’t have to stay at just one school. Some students are even taking online courses at one school and resident courses at a different school, all at the same time.
If you qualify for two GI Bills, you can get a total maximum combined benefit of 48 months, but to get the additional 12 months you have to first exhaust your Montgomery GI Bill and then switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill. However, it would then give you five 9-month academic years, which is probably what you need for a double E degree. Most engineering courses are around five years.
The downside of doing this is you would only get paid $1,368 per month from the MGIB and you would have to pay all your own expenses. The Post 9/11 GI Bill pays much more in most cases.
Instead, you could switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill right away and get your 36 months of benefits. Then, the VA would pay your tuition and eligible fees up to the in-state maximum and you would get a housing allowance and a book stipend. If your double E degree is for four years instead of five, this would be a better choice. It may be the best choice even if you had to pay for a fifth year out-of-pocket. You will have to sharpen your pencil and work the numbers to see which one would be best for you.