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As a Student Using My Step-Dad’s Post 9/11 GI Bill, Just What Benefits Do I Get?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I’m a freshman in college in Louisiana and I am using my step-dad’s Post 9/11 GI Bill. What exact benefits do I get? I saw some people talk about tuition, book costs, and housing allowance and I just wanted to know what all I will get and when. I just used most of my money buying books and paying for tuition, so I was wondering how long until I would get this money back. Thanks! – Jamie

A: As a student using Post 9/11 GI Bill transferred benefits, the VA would pay your tuition and eligible fees directly to your school towards the beginning of a semester. Also toward the beginning of each semester, you would get a book stipend of around $500, if you are classified as a full-time student. It calculates at $41.67 per credit and it does have a $1,000 per academic year cap, but you can usually get it for two semesters per year.

Monthly, you would also get a housing allowance based on the zip code of your school and the number of credits you are taking. Across the U.S., it averages around $1,300, however in Baton Rouge for example, it is $1,353 per month.

Your housing allowance is usually paid a month in arrears to you by the VA, so the amount due in September for example would come most likely sometime in October – November at the latest. Also know that it can take longer to get your first check of the semester than it does for the other months in the term.

The money you paid for books you would not get back directly, but you are compensated each semester with your book stipend. That amount may or may not be enough to pay for all your book costs.

As far as tuition, once your school gets paid from the VA, they would either credit your account at school or pay you back directly for what you paid in tuition.

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