Funding Your MBA with the Post-9/11 GI Bill

Deciding to pursue an MBA is a major decision that requires not only a significant amount of time and effort but also a considerable financial investment. Business school tuition and fees can be exorbitant, and the cost of living while attending school can add up quickly. However, for veterans who have served in the military in recent decades, the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill provides valuable funding for advanced degree programs.


The Post-9/11 G.I. Bill was signed into law in 2008 and went into effect on August 1, 2009. It provides financial assistance to eligible veterans who served in the military for at least 90 days after September 10, 2001. The bill covers up to 36 months of tuition and fees, a monthly housing allowance, and a stipend for books and supplies. Additionally, the bill provides benefits for qualifying dependents.

Benefits of the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill

The Post-9/11 G.I. Bill offers a range of benefits to veterans pursuing higher education. One of the most significant benefits is the coverage of up to 100% of tuition and fees, up to the highest in-state public school tuition and fees in the state where the veteran is enrolled. Additionally, veterans may be eligible for a monthly housing allowance based on the zip code of their school and the number of credit hours they are enrolled in. The monthly housing allowance is calculated based on the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) rate for an E-5 with dependents. The bill also provides a stipend for books and supplies of up to $1,000 per year.

Transferring the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill

In addition to these benefits, the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill also offers the option for veterans to transfer their benefits to their spouse or children. To be eligible for the transfer of benefits, the veteran must have served for at least six years and commit to serving an additional four years.

Eligibility for the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill

To be eligible for the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill, veterans must have served at least 90 days of active duty service after September 10, 2001, and received an honorable discharge. Eligibility is based on a tiered system that takes into account the length of time the veteran served. For example, veterans who served for at least 36 months are eligible for 100% of the benefits, while those who served for less than 36 months but more than 30 months are eligible for 90% of the benefits.

Educational Requirements

In addition, veterans must also meet certain educational requirements to be eligible for the bill. To be eligible, veterans must be enrolled in an accredited institution of higher learning, such as a university or college. The program must lead to a degree or certificate, and veterans must be pursuing a graduate degree.

Making the Most of the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill

While the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill offers a range of benefits to veterans, it's important to make the most of these benefits to ensure they are sufficient to cover the cost of business school. Here are some tips for maximizing the benefits of the bill:

Choose an Affordable School

The Post-9/11 G.I. Bill covers up to the highest in-state public school tuition and fees in the state where the veteran is enrolled. As such, it's important to choose a school that is affordable and within the budget of the bill. When choosing a school, veterans should consider the cost of living in the area, as well as the tuition and fees. It may be more cost-effective to attend a school in a less expensive area, even if it means attending a lower-ranked institution.

Look for Additional Scholarships and Grants

While the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill provides significant financial assistance, it may not cover all of the costs associated with business school. Veterans should look for additional scholarships and grants to help cover any remaining costs. Many universities offer scholarships specifically for veterans, and there are also numerous private organizations that provide scholarships to veterans.

Apply for Financial Aid

Veterans should also apply for financial aid through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is used by schools to determine a student's eligibility for federal grants, loans, and work-study programs. Even if veterans think they may not qualify for financial aid, they should still submit a FAFSA, as they may be eligible for some form of assistance.

Take Advantage of the Yellow Ribbon Program

The Yellow Ribbon Program is a provision of the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill that allows universities to voluntarily enter into an agreement with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to cover additional tuition and fees that exceed the maximum amount covered by the bill. Under the Yellow Ribbon Program, the school and the VA split the cost of the additional tuition and fees. Veterans should research schools that participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program and consider applying to these institutions.

Consider Working Part-Time

While attending business school can be time-consuming, veterans may be able to work part-time to help cover their living expenses. Many schools offer work-study programs that provide students with part-time employment on campus. Veterans can also look for part-time work off campus, such as in retail or hospitality.


The Post-9/11 G.I. Bill provides a valuable opportunity for veterans to finance an MBA at a top business school. The bill offers a range of benefits, including coverage of tuition and fees, a monthly housing allowance, and a stipend for books and supplies. All veterans should strongly consider taking advantage of this wonderful VA benefit.

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