For the first time since its inception, the GI Bill has given service members the option to transfer their benefits to others. As with anything in the military, there are qualifications and procedures to follow. With a little bit of information, the process can be easily done. The new regulations for GI transferability are easy to follow.
First a service member needs to know who they can transfer their benefits to. A spouse or dependent child qualifies. Their eligibility will be verified through DEERS. DEERS is the acronym for Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System. Dependents have to be in the DEERS system to qualify for any benefits, medical, PX privileges, ID cards and now educational benefit transferability.
A spouse that is eligible can use the benefits as soon as they are transferred to them. The service member may still be on active duty and the wife can use the Post 9/11 GI bill. It gives them 36 months of educational benefits. This will help to pay for tuition, books and other needs associated with going to school. If the service member is no longer on active duty the spouse may also qualify for an additional monthly living stipend. The spouse only has 15 years after the service member retires to use this benefit.
A dependent child has to meet requirements before using the benefits. They must be 18 or have a high school diploma. The benefits can be transferred before they meet these requirements, but they will have to wait to use them. They are also eligible for the 36 months and possibly a monthly living stipend. A child has no time limit to use this benefit, but they must use it before they are 26 years old.
When transferring the service member can only transfer what is left. If they have used a portion of the benefits, what remains is all they can transfer. They can also transfer to both spouse and children. They will share the remainder of the benefits. For example, if a service member has used six months of the benefits to pursue a degree, then they have 30 months left to transfer to a spouse and children to share.
All of the forms are available online. A service member can fill out the needed documentation and submit it over the internet. They will be able to log into their account at https://www.dmdc.osd.mil/TEB/ and see who is eligible to have the education benefits transferred to them. They can then select and submit who to transfer. Many educational counselors are recommending that a service member transfer to anyone they can possible want to at first. They are unable to transfer multiple times.
More information and updates on the GI Bill transferability can be found at http://www.defenselink.mil/home/features/2009/0409_gibill/. As with any new program there are bound to be issues and things that need to be smoothed over. Keep up to date with the latest changes and procedures. This program has been the most requested benefit by service members. It is a great stride forward that they can now transfer their educational benefits.
Online Education and Today’s Service Members
Online education is a flexible option that benefits many people for whom traditional, campus-based learning is not a practical option. Since they are often facing the immediate possibility of relocation or deployment, active duty service members in the United States Armed Forces are one of the major groups that online education can benefit.
Learning While on Duty
Much of the learning active duty soldiers once did was a result of service training and the vocations undertaken while serving. Campus-based schooling was not a practical option, because of the highly nomadic nature of a military career. Online education has helped to make higher education opportunities more accessible to active duty personnel, since courses can be taken anywhere there is internet access. Many courses have recorded lectures and flexible schedules, so lectures and exams can be viewed or taken at convenient times. This makes studying when far away from home, whether on the ocean aboard an aircraft carrier, deployed in a foreign country, or stationed at a base anywhere in the United States or across the world.
Many online distance learning institutions offer self-paced courses as well. These courses are the most versatile and accessible for soldiers studying while deployed forward. Even institutions that do not offer self-paced programs often make their online distance learning courses convenient for those who may not be able to make regularly appointed class times.
Online distance learning institutions, in addition to their flexibility, are often more affordable than traditional campus-based schools as well. This allows soldiers to make the most of their GI Bill tuition and fees benefits as they study. Many traditional, campus-based private colleges are more expensive than the GI Bill’s tuition benefits, based on public state schools, can cover. This is not the case with the predominant majority of online schools.With the Post-9/11 GI Bill, soldiers are also eligible to receive a housing stipend for educational purposes even if they are studying at a distance learning online school.