The GI Bill was born from decades of improvement and expansion of the original Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944. The bill gave middle class servicemembers the chance at creating better lives for themselves once they entered life after service. Yet, while the GI Bill is one of the most important benefits for veterans, there are many things about it that remain a mystery. Fortunately, AFBA has outlined some key facts every former servicemember should know about the GI Bill. 

1. The GI Bill does not have to be applied to continuous schooling. 
A common misconception is that once veterans begin receiving the benefits from the GI Bill, they must continue receiving them. However, former servicemembers can start and stop using GI Bill benefits as needed, according to This means that veterans who want to attend school but do not have the time or ability to complete a degree in consecutive years can draw from their GI Bill benefits as needed.

2. There is a time limit on GI Bill benefits. 
However, former servicemembers must be timely about activating their GI Bill benefits. reported that once a servicemember separates from Active Duty, he or she has 10 years to begin receiving benefits if he or she is under the Montgomery GI Bill and 15 years under the Post 9-11 GI Bill. This countdown restarts after every re-entry into service. 

3. The Post 9/11 GI Bill opened new doors. 
While the Montgomery GI Bill was hugely beneficial to veterans, those servicemembers who entered the Armed Forces within 90 days of the 9/11 attacks have even more opportunity under the Post 9/11 GI Bill. Not only can their benefits still be applied to higher education, they were also expanded to include vocational schools and other nontraditional education, such as "correspondence courses, flight training and apprenticeships," as reported by The Post 9/11 GI Bill was also expanded to cover the cost of books and supplies up to $1,000 a year, tutoring up to $100 per month and the cost of a certification, licensing exam or work study program for up to $2,000.

4. GI Bill funds can be used for schools overseas. 
Former servicemember with goals to study abroad are in luck. The GI Bill funds can be applied to schools overseas. Qualifying veterans can receive up to $21,084 in tuition and fees. These funds will go directly to the educational institute they intend to attend. Any remaining costs must be covered by the veterans personally or with financial aid.

5. Your GI Bill funding is directly related to your time on active duty and the number of credits in which you are enrolled. 
Veterans should be aware that the amount of time they served and how many credits they are taking per semester will affect funding they receive from their GI benefits. The determining factors are slightly different between the Montgomery GI Bill and the Post 9/11 Bill. To find out how much you are personally qualified to receive, contact you military financial advisor. 

6. If you don't pay attention, you could end up with debt. 
The VA pays a certain amount to a veteran's financial aid office every semester. However, if the amount paid is more than the amount due, the veteran is responsible for paying the overage back to the VA. Former servicemembers should always check to make sure that the cost of their tuition per semester is the amount the VA is paying.

Everyone deserves the opportunity to better themselves by pursuing a higher education degree, especially veterans who have served for their country. The GI Bill provides an excellent opportunity for former servicemembers to make the most of their life after service.