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The Marine Corps requested an advance decision concerning whether: (1) lump-sum educational assistance benefits should be made to an reenlisted member prior to the end of his first enlistment; and (2) loan forgiveness and educational assistance benefits can be received within the same period of service. GAO found that: (1) a member of the uniformed services is eligible for financial assistance for an academic year, up to 4 years, if the member completes at least 2 years of his term of enlistment; (2) a member may elect to receive 60 percent of his educational benefits in a lump sum if he reenlists at the end of the term in which he earned the benefits; (3) if a service member reenlists early, the 60-percent lump-sum benefit payment is not available until the member completes his original term of enlistment; and (4) since there is no authority which limits a member to only one educational benefit, both loan forgiveness and educational assistance benefits are available for the same period of service. Accordingly, the member may not be paid educational benefits in a lump sum until he completes his initial 4 years of service.

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