Use Military Benefits to Earn a BSN Online

Going back to school is a serious decision for anyone. Cost is a common concern, but military benefits can make it affordable for service members to achieve their education and career goals.

The GI Bill has been helping military personnel and veterans pay for college since it was signed into law in 1944. For registered nurses (RNs) eligible for GI Bill benefits, this may mean reducing or eliminating the cost of earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Taking advantage of these benefits begins with choosing the right school.

What Are Some Basics of GI Bill Benefits?

GI education benefits help cover the cost of education or training. Before applying to a program, it is important to find out if the school is approved and accredited.

The University of Southern Indiana (USI), for example, is approved for GI Bill benefits. USI's RN to BSN program is also accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), a sign of quality and integrity.

The GI Bill offers numerous options for education benefits, and some service members may be eligible for more than one. The GI Bill Comparison Tool can simplify the process of exploring schools and potential benefits.

What Do GI Bill Benefits Cover?

Eligibility for benefits varies depending on factors such as military status and length of service. There are more than a few other details to consider. Prospective students will want to understand the specifics to determine which benefits are the best fit. A look at a few options follows:

Post-9/11 GI Bill: Those who served after September 10, 2001 may be eligible for benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill. This program may cover up to 100% of tuition and fees for eligible in-state students who attend a public school such as USI. Service members may qualify for the maximum benefit if they meet one of the following requirements:

  • At least 36 months of active duty (total)
  • At least 30 continuous days with discharge due to service-connected disability

At a minimum, those with 90 days to six months of service may be eligible for up to 40% of the maximum benefit. Other Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits include:

  • A monthly housing allowance
  • Up to $1,000 a year for books and supplies
  • A one-time payment of $500 if relocation from a rural area is required

Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB): Individuals who enlisted in the military may be eligible for MGBI benefits. The MGBI includes two options:

  • Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty (MGIB-AD): Veterans and servicemembers with at least two years of active duty may qualify for up to 36 months of benefits. Total benefits may pay up to $1,994 a month, depending on type of training, length of service and other factors.
  • Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR):Eligible members of the Selected Reserve may qualify for up to 36 months of education and training benefits. Like the MGIB-AD, reserve members must meet certain requirements. This includes, for example, a six-year obligation to serve in the Selected Reserve signed after June 30, 1985.

Extra benefits may be also be available. Examples include a college fund known as the "kicker" and Top-Up benefits.

The GI Bill can help keep costs under control for RNs who want to earn their BSN. Still, the process of returning to school while managing the demands of everyday life can be stressful. At USI, students can contact the Veteran, Military and Family Resource Center for help with managing the details of their benefits.

Learn more about the University of Southern Indiana's online RN to BSN program.


Sources:

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: Education and Training: History and Timeline

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: GI Bill Comparison Tool

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: Education and Training: Post-9/11 GI Bill

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: Education and Training: Montgomery GI Bill

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: Education and Training: Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty (MGIB-AD)

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: Education and Training: Montgomery GI Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR)

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: What Is the College Fund ("Kicker") and Am I Eligible?

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: Education and Training: Tuition Assistance Top Up

USI: Veteran, Military and Family Resource Center

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