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How to Use Your Spouse’s GI Bill for School

August 17, 2012

While the original GI Bill was a legislation that included support for returning soldiers of World War II, the bill has grown to include much more, including education benefits for a service member's family. With the creation of the Post 9/11 GI Bill, active duty and veteran service members have access to all kinds of benefits for college. The bill will up for up to 36 months of higher education, covering tuition costs for tuition in the service member or spouse or other family member's state. In addition, a stipend for expenses is also included. If you want to transfer these benefits to your spouse to use for school, then you have to follow a strict process to get aid from the Department of Defense.

Getting Started

If you do not already have a GI Bill, then you need to figure out eligibility. A service member is only eligible if he served six years and was able to serve four more or served 10 years with a commitment to serve up to the maximum that service policy allows. He also needs to receive an honorable discharge. Once you have applied for the GI Bill, you can then fill out the transfer paperwork.

Filling Out the Application

You can submit the application to transfer benefits to the Department of Defense. You have to wait for approval from the DoD before you can submit anything to VA or receive any benefits. In some cases this can take over 30 days. In some cases, your transfer can be denied. If you want to read more about the process and fill out the application online, check out the transfer benefits page on DoD's website.

Submitting to VA

After you receive approval from DoD, you can submit VA form 22-1990e. This form will need some personal information about you and your spouse, including information on school pursuits. You can find an electronic version of this form located here.

Picking a School

You have to find a viable school that is eligible to use with your benefits. The school must be accredited and needs to be a two-year college, four-year university or vocational/trade school. In some cases, job training is also paid for with GI Bill benefits. You also should be careful to pick between in-state and out-of-state tuition schools as there is a cap on how much aid you will receive if you pick out-of-state, whereas all of your in-state tuition will be paid for through a GI Bill.

Final Step

You'll need to talk to a certifying officer at the school of your choice. The officer will help you through the application process and ensure that all of the paperwork is appropriately submitted. You also have to go through the admission process to make sure that you are admitted and can use your benefits at the school.

Find Post-Military Education

Many schools set up entire veterans communities with transition assistance, tutoring, prep courses and stable support system. Finding a college that provides services for veterans is simple.

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