By Debbie Gregory.
While the Post-9/11 GI Bill offers a very generous post-service education benefit, a special provision of the program allows career service members the opportunity to share their education benefits with immediate family members. The Post 9/11 GI Bill is the only one which allows transferring education benefits.
Now that the Post 9/11 GI Bill allows servicemembers and veterans to transfer their benefits to their spouse or children, it begs the question: is that a good idea?
The first consideration is the value of using the GI Bill for a parent’s education. On average, a college graduate earns about $25,000 more per year than a high school graduate. If you run the numbers, just 10 years of this increased income would yield an additional $250,000. Especially if your children are young, the extra income an adult would add over the course of a number of years would more than likely cover the cost of a child’s college education.
If you were to save your GI Bill benefits and transfer them to a dependent, you would not only have a lower lifetime income, you’d only be able to use the benefit to put one child through school on the GI Bill.
Of course if you have older children or already have a degree, this scenario doesn’t apply.
The other thing to take into consideration is possible changes to the GI Bill. There have been a number of different versions over the years, and more than likely, it will continue to evolve over time.