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Center for Military Veterans, Service Members and Families

Frequently Asked Questions for Military and Veterans

Q: What is the Post 9/11 GI Bill?

A: The Post 9/11 GI Bill, also referred to as Chapter 33, offers veterans who have served after Sept. 10, 2001, a chance to pursue higher education. This comprehensive educational benefits package was made available as of Aug. 1, 2009. Visit the GI Bill website for information on eligibility.

Q: Who qualifies?

A: Those having served at least 90 days of continuous active duty after 9/10/01; or those having served at least 30 days of continuous active duty after 9/10/01 discharged due to a service-related disability.

Q: How much will a veteran receive from the federal government?

A: The amount of financial assistance is dependent upon the state in which the particular institution or program is located. The amount made available to an individual is capped at the highest in-state, undergraduate tuition and fees rate. A veteran’s length of active duty service after Sept. 10, 2001, determines the benefit eligibility as follows:

  • 100 percent - At least 36 months
  • 100 percent - At least 30 continuous days and service-connected disability discharge
  • 90 percent - At least 30 months
  • 80 percent - At least 24 months
  • 70 percent - At least 18 months
  • 60 percent - At least 12 months
  • 50 percent - At least 6 months
  • 40 percent - At least 90 days

Q: What is the Yellow Ribbon Program?

A: Veterans who have served a minimum of 36 months of active duty after Sept. 10, 2001, are eligible for the Yellow Ribbon Program. This program enhances your educational benefits by covering tuition and fees at higher-cost institutions. Visit the GI Bill Yellow Ribbon Program website for information on eligibility.

Q: Are there any additional benefits aside from tuition assistance?

A: Under the Post 9/11 GI Bill, veterans may receive a monthly housing stipend determined by the zip code of the chosen institution of higher learning. However, those enrolled at a half-time status, enrolled solely in an online program and individuals currently on active duty are not eligible to receive the housing allowance, although they still receive tuition assistance. Participants will also receive up to $1,000 per academic year to help cover the costs of books, supplies and any additional fees. Active duty members do not qualify for the stipend.

Q: For how long are individuals entitled to the benefits?

A: Generally veterans are entitled to 36 months of the educational benefits. Individuals who elect to enroll in Chapter 33 after previously receiving benefits from the Montgomery Bill (Chapter 30) are only entitled to the number of months they had remaining under Chapter 30.

Q: Does the Post 9/11 educational benefit expire?

A: Yes, veterans must utlize their benefits within 15 years of the date of discharge or release from active duty of at least 90 consecutive days if released before January 1, 2013. 

B: No, if you were discharged or released from active duty of at least 90 consecutive days on or after January 1, 2013, you will have "forever" to use your 36 months of the Post 9/11 educational benefit.

Q: Are non-matriculated students eligible?

A: No, veterans must be enrolled in a degree program in order to use these educational benefits. Those who are non-matriculated or who are auditing a class are not eligible for Chapter 33 or Yellow Ribbon funds.

Q: Will The University of Southern Mississippi recognize my military educational experience?

A: Yes. USM recognizes transfer credits from your military education and other colleges and universities.

Q: I may be eligible to attend the University of Southern Mississippi using VA Benefits. Who do I need to contact for this information?

A: You may call the USM Center for Military Veterans, Service Members and Families at 601-264-4629 or email VAFREEMississippi

Q: What do I need to do to get my educational benefits started at USM?

A: The first step is to apply for admission to the University. Once you are accepted, you would need to contact the Center for Military Veterans, Service Members and Families, to secure the application to start a file. Application Checklist | Apply Online

Q: Do I need to bring any paperwork with me?

A. If you are a veteran and eligible for Chapter 30, Montgomery G.I. Bill, you need to bring your DD-214. If you are eligible for Chapter 1606, Montgomery G.I. Bill – Reservists/National Guardsmen, bring a Notice of Basic Eligibility (NOBE), DD-2384 form. This form may be obtained from the educational officer in your unit.

Q: How can I find out if I have any benefits left?

A. Contact the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs at 1-888-442-4551 or you may visit the website for directions and instructions.

Q: How can I continue my educational benefits each semester?

A. You must notify the USM Center for Military Veterans, Service Members and Families each semester that you wish to request educational benefits.

Q: When should I recertify each semester for educational benefits?

A. As soon as you are registered for classes for the semester/term.

Q: Can I take any course that I want?

A. The Department of Veterans Affairs requires that a student who uses educational benefits to pursue a degree must follow a curriculum plan or guide. Therefore, you must follow that plan and only take courses that will lead to graduation under that plan.

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