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Marine Corps Making Changes to Inform Recruits about GI Bill

August 28, 2012

Officials in the Marine Corps were surprised to see that many west coast recruits didn't elect to get the Post-9/11 GI Bill but rather they bought into the Montgomery GI Bill program or MGIB. The Marine Corps now wants to educate recruits further on what GI Bill education benefits can do for them. However, most of the east coast recruits elected to enroll in Post 9/11 GI Bill, which has more generous offers for tuition assistance and doesn't come with any buy-in fees. There are more than 4,000 of the 6,346 recruits in training this year at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island in South Carolina who have selected the Post 9/11 GI Bill, which is significantly different than the years 2010 and 2011 when everyone chose MGIB and a $100 monthly buy-in fee. However, only four recruits of 6,001 chose to get Post 9/11 Benefits who attended Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego.

Those who oversee recruits in Training and Education Command have told officials at Parris Island to look into how they changed their numbers in order to help the recruitment facility at San Diego.

"Based on that information…we will determine whether there is a better way to present the options for GI Bill election to new recruits in order to ensure they can make the best-informed choice," said Gibson.

Currently, there doesn't seem to be a cause for the big difference. The Post 9/11 GI Bill is incredible for those who need an education, providing full cost of tuition and fees at public schools and even private schools, while MGIB actually places a cap on benefits to $1,473 a month. The new GI Bill also includes a monthly housing stipend and an annual textbook allowance. Neither of these is included with MGIB.

In addition, MGIB as a buy-in of $1,200, paid in $100 monthly installment over the first year in the military. Much of the revisions for Post 9/11 bill last year allowed for vocational and technical training, as well as online courses, to benefit from GI Bill education benefits as well. Not to mention, Post 9/11 benefits can be transferred to spouses and children to pay for their education.

As the Marine Corps looks for reasons and ways to change the recruitment policies, both depots for training must comply with information for Post 9/11 GI Bill and MGIB. It's not entirely accurate to blame officers for improperly information recruits, particularly if the one-hour class isn't informative enough or don't teach the information in a clear way to recruits. The one-hour class prepares recruits to pick which GI Bill they want.

Some have disagreed with the process before and also don't understand why recruits don't see the benefits of the Post 9/11 program, including Coast Guard Captain Bud Schneeweis, who spoke to Marine Corps Times about the vast difference.

"I can't understand why they would say that," said the Captain. "I don't see what the rationale is…the Post 9/11 GI Bill is so much more powerful…I suspect it's going to put the MGIB out of business before much longer."

If a recruit elects to buy into the MGIB program, he can actually take advantage of either GI Bill later on, but if you elect to turn down the MGIB program at first, you can't ever get the chance back. There are many recruits who see this as opportunity to get MGIB benefits and switch over to Post 9/11 GI Bill a few years after, making the most of each benefit plans.

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