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Maximizing Education Benefits from the Military GI Bill

Newsroom | Articles Jan. 11, 2024
Military service member in front of laptop

The GI Bill has been lighting the path to education and training for veterans and active-duty service members since its inception in 1944. LSU Online & Continuing Education understands the significance of this remarkable program and how it transforms lives.  
Whether you're a veteran, service member, or spouse, let us help you understand your GI Bill benefits, choose the right educational institution, and maximize the benefits you've earned. 

Understanding Your GI Bill Benefits 

The GI Bill is a powerful tool designed to support the education and career goals of veterans and active-duty service members. To fully utilize your benefits, it's helpful to understand the different GI Bill programs and eligibility criteria. The GI Bill offers several programs, including the Post-9/11 GI Bill, the Montgomery GI Bill, and the Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP). Eligibility for these programs depends on your length of service and other factors, and it's crucial to know which one aligns with your goals. 
The GI Bill benefits cover a range of educational expenses, from tuition to training costs. You can learn more about your benefits and choose a school on the VA Benefits website. 

Researching Eligible Institutions 

Choosing the right educational institution is essential in making the most of your GI Bill benefits. Select an institution that aligns with your personal and career objectives. Consider factors such as program offerings, location, and support services tailored to veterans and active-duty service members. 
You can discover the colleges, universities, and online programs that accept GI Bill benefits on the VA benefits website. However, LSU Online & Continuing Education offers convenient access to the entire LSU family of institutions. You can explore a wide range of programs designed to meet the needs of military members and veterans. Our online degrees, certificates, and courses are flexible and convenient, allowing you to pursue your education while accommodating your unique lifestyle. 
View the programs offered through LSU Online & Continuing Education.

How to Maximize Your Education Benefits 

Consider other resources and opportunities to get the most out of your GI Bill benefits. These include managing housing allowances and stipends to ensure a smooth financial transition during your education. Additionally, take advantage of school-specific veteran and military resources, like LSU's Department of Veterans Affairs and the William A. Brookshire Military and Veterans Student Center. These resources can provide valuable support and assistance, helping you overcome any challenges that may arise during your educational journey. 
Exploring employment opportunities is another way to maximize your benefits. Many institutions offer career services that can help you connect with job opportunities and leverage your education for a successful transition into the workforce. 
While the GI bill is one useful opportunity, don't limit yourself to that alone. Explore all your options based on your current status, and consider the following tactics: 

1. Evaluate Your Status 

Your eligibility for various benefits depends on your status, whether you're an active-duty service member, Guard, Reserve, Retiree, Dependent, or more. Service-connected disabilities and VA-assigned disability ratings may open doors to additional grants or scholarships. 

2. Tap into State Resources 

State governments offer resources and information for veterans seeking assistance with education, training, or career advancement. Leveraging your state-level veteran authority resources can provide essential support. 

3. Explore Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs) 

Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs) offer many grants and educational scholarships. Each VSO has its unique approach, so explore their official websites to discover your options.  

4. Tuition Assistance Programs 

Take full advantage of active-duty Tuition Assistance programs offered by each branch of service. In-state tuition may be available for those on active duty for more than 30 days, regardless of residency. You can also utilize tests and Credit For Prior Learning to reduce in-class time for subjects you're already experienced in. 

5. Retired or Separated Military Members 

If you plan to attend college after your military career, try starting classes while you're still in service. The military Tuition Assistance (TA) programs can provide a head start.  
When you're no longer in the military, explore state tuition programs and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year of enrollment. Governments and universities use this information to determine how much need-based aid you're eligible for. Military-specific scholarships may also require these details. Importantly, your GI Bill benefits do not count as income, potentially increasing your qualifying aid amount.  
To maximize your GI Bill benefits, consider that students who attend all classes online receive a reduced Post 9/11 GI Bill housing stipend compared to those who attend at least one in-person class. Decide in advance if you want to combine online and in-person classes to make the most of your benefits. You can save your housing allowance to put toward more classes when your benefits are used up.

Leverage the GI Bill with Your School 

Understanding the intricacies of your GI Bill benefits in relation to your school can significantly enhance your educational journey. For instance, if your school allows more credit hours than what the GI Bill defines as full-time attendance, you could take additional courses. This can speed up your program and lead to an earlier graduation. Planning strategically can impact how you use your GI Bill benefits. 

LSU Online Supports Military Education Benefits 

Your military GI Bill benefits are a valuable resource that can open the door to a brighter future. LSU Online is here to help you navigate your educational path, maximize your benefits, and achieve your personal and career goals. Explore our programs and discover how LSU Online can support you throughout your journey.  
If you have any questions or need further assistance, please don't hesitate to reach out to an Enrollment Coach. 

Learn More About Military Support



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