GI bill

  1. BLUF: Will the GI bill cover expenses for two MSN degrees? What is the cap on GI bill (is it monetary value, time limitation, or both)?

    Background: My career goal since RN school has been CRNA. I've been a nurse for 10 years (ICU experience early on, but not recent) and I'm currently AD AF. My plan is to transition to reserve next year, return to bedside to accomplish the ICU req. for CNRA school, and use the 9/11 GI bill for primary funding. So CRNA school would still be at least 2 years out, if not longer. So my thought process was to optimize that time span to pursue an online MSN. While I understand it won't help with the anesthetic component of CRNA school or shorten the program, I feel it would still be beneficial. At the very least, it gives me a back up plan instead of putting all of my eggs into the CRNA basket. On the flip side, it may give the anesthesia board the impression that I'm indecisive.

    Extra: Not interested in AFIT, MSN must be online as I'm TDY a LOT and I'm deploying AGAIN, single/no kids/financially stable; I do intend to speak with someone about this but using this as a resource too because I can

    Question: CRNA is my ultimate goal, so should I save the GI bill for that or will it assist with both? I know that I won't get housing currently since I'm AD and that's fine. All I really need covered is tuition for both programs. Any input or advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!
  2. 7 Comments

  3. by   jfratian
    I think you should talk to your local education office. A key question is whether or not you declined the Montgomery GI bill when you joined. That might be helpful in paying for the online classes while on active duty. Don't use tuition assistance, since it incurs additional time. You should wait until you leave active duty to use the 911 GI bill, which pays for tuition based on a complex formula that is based on the prevailing in-state public tuition for 3 years, plus BAH and BAS. You want to be able to go to school full-time while on the 911 GI bill.

    I believe the total benefit for both GI bills together is 4 years.
  4. by   jfratian
    I think the extra education is never a bad thing. I can't see how getting an MSN makes you indecisive. I think, 'I like learning new things and I believe in lifelong learning' is a fine response.

    MSNs in Education, leadership/management, and informatics can all be done quite easily online.
  5. by   Pixie.RN
    Quote from jfratian
    MSNs in Education, leadership/management, and informatics can all be done quite easily online.
    Just a note — these types of degrees aren't 100% online; both my degrees in nursing education and informatics required capstone projects done in person in a facility with a preceptor while meeting a required number of hours. So there is a bit of offline effort!

    OP, I used TA until the point where my ADSO would go beyond the two years I had remaining for my initial active duty contract. I actually started using my GI Bill during the last year that I was active duty. I never declined the Montgomery GI Bill, and in doing the math, using the MGIB would pay slightly more than the Post 9/11. Once you decline the MGIB in favor of the Post 9/11, you can't go back. The MGIB pays a flat fee to the student each month, no BAH, and the student pays tuition from that money. The Post 9/11 pays tuition directly to the school, and you receive BAH at a rate of E-5 with dependents. With Post 9/11 you also receive a book stipend.

    Each type of GI Bill pays benefits for 36 months. But one reason I chose to use the MGIB is because after you exhaust your MGIB, you may be eligible for 12 additional months of Post 9/11, bringing the total to 48 months.

    My husband is using his Post 9/11 for medical school, and it's a pretty easy process. I have also had good experiences using the MGIB. I finished my MSNs and still have 13 months of MGIB remaining, and I will qualify for 12 additional months under Post 9/11. Definitely an amazing benefit!
  6. by   usafrn833
    Thank you for the replies! I'm quite positive I turned down the MGIB when I joined, so I believe the only thing available for me is 9/11. My intention was to use this for CRNA school when I will be a full time student. I'm in my last year of my ADSC and wanted to optimize on the time I have, since CRNA school is still a few years off, but not if it will blur things for me when that time comes. Especially since most CRNA programs are 30-36 months in length. It sounds like I should just wait. I've already taken two classes required for most CRNA programs (chem and statistics) and I didn't use TA. I just paid out of pocket so I wouldn't owe more time. I'm definitely going to discuss this with the education department but figured I'd get some good feedback here too. Thanks!
  7. by   jfratian
    Plenty of programs allow capstone projects to be done remotely. You just need to get your preceptor approved by the school in advance. All of the online nursing schools allow it. Many of the traditional brick and mortar schools allow it. It is definitely possibly to get informatics, leadership/management, and education MSNs done 100% remotely.
  8. by   Pixie.RN
    Quote from jfratian
    It is definitely possibly to get informatics, leadership/management, and education MSNs done 100% remotely.
    Remotely, yes; online, no. There is typically real-world work that goes into capstone projects, whether it's a process improvement in a facility or some kind of precepted teaching experience in a school. It's not just papers and discussion posts at that point (though both of my capstone courses had that as well. Both of my mentors were remote, though. There is a ton of flexibility, but you can't always do it all from your desk.
  9. by   andreahm
    I would wait if I were you, especially given the length of the CRNA program. My perspective is a little different because I was enlisted while AD (reservist now) so tuition assistance didn't come with any additional obligated service but my last semester in I wasn't eligible for TA anyway since my EAOS date came mid-semester and I paid out of pocket rather than dip into my Post-9/11 while still active because it really seems like you just aren't getting your money's worth to start using either GI bill until you leave the service or go reserve since the benefit is based on months and not number of credits.

    Also I wouldn't feel too bad about turning down Montgomery. I actually paid into it but when the time came, I chose to go with Post-9/11 (thus losing my Montgomery benefit) because in my situation Post-9/11 paid way more. It all depends on your school and living arrangements and both benefits have their pros and cons.