Many people assume their Montgomery GI Bill is meant just for a traditional 4-year degree. Fortunately the MGIB is far more versatile. Those who have a private pilot's license and meet medical requirements can use the Montgomery GI Bill to pay for flight training. Students attending vocational schools and technical schools are also eligible to use the MGIB, if they meet certain requirements.
Those who dream of running a small business will be pleased to know the Montgomery GI Bill covers courses offered by the Small Business Administration at Small Business Development Centers across the U.S. The GI Bill also pays for classes offered by the National Veterans Business Development Corporation.
The GI Bill even covers testing for certifications and licensing, and such testing is paid for regardless of outcome--if you perform badly the first time out, you may retake the test or recertify, again, paid for with the MGIB. The bottom line; The Montgomery GI Bill is not restricted to typical degree programs; there is a wide variety of choices available for those who need something less traditional. Check with the school to learn if they are eligible.
While on active duty, you may be tempted to use your GI Bill education benefits towards online education programs. While you can indeed use the GI Bill in such a way (provided the institution meets GI Bill requirements) it's a good idea to see what other education program your branch of the service offers to help offset your tuition costs.
The Air Force, for example, offers tuition assistance for online coursework. If you applied to a school using Air Force tuition assistance, you could be eligible for up to $250 per credit hour. Why use your MGIB when your service offers free money for college? There are a few caveats in any case--in the Air Force, you aren't allowed to pursue a degree lower than one you currently posess if you want tuition assistance. Check with your local education office to see what kinds of free money you are entitled to as an active duty member before using up your GI Bill education benefits.
"Alternative" Education: GI Bill Friendly!
Veterans who want degrees may use GI Bill money to pay for their schooling. In some schools, including DeVry University, you may be eligible to enroll for classes right after basic training-- according to the university.
If you are still in the military, wanting to use your Montgomery GI Bill benefits while on active duty, be certain to check with your commander before committing to any coursework. Some career fields have strict rules concerning off-duty education for people who are in their first year of service, and your supervisor must be informed, regardless.
For those no longer on active duty, getting your MGIB benefits for an online school is much the same as any four-year school. Remember to make several copies of your discharge paperwork (DD214) to submit with your GI Bill application, and be sure to check with your school before sending; some prefer to submit Montgomery GI Bill paperwork via the institution. A 'certified' copy of your DD214 sent along with your MGIB form will help expedite the process, regardless of how it is sent. Check with your last base orderly room, First Sergeant or Personnel Specialist to learn how to get additional 'certified' copies.