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Can I Really Get the Full Post 9/11 GI Bill Housing Allowance By Taking One Class On Campus?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I am currently enrolled strictly online and get 1/2 of the housing allowance. I was told that transferring to a 1 day-per-week classroom instruction gets the whole amount, but I can’t find any evidence if this is true. I gave up a ton of overtime to do school and the 1/2 is not as helpful as I anticipated. Anybody know whether there is truth to this?

A: It is one of those little known Post 9/11 GI Bill secrets that is true. As you know, online-only full-time students get a maximum of $714.50 per month. However, by adding in one class per semester creditable to your degree plan, you qualify for the full authorized Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA) amount. Crazy huh!

The qualifying classes aren’t about how many times per week they meet, but the fact they are classroom classes you attend on campus and that they are creditable to your degree plan. If not, then the VA would not pay for them, and you would not qualify for the higher MHA.

By attending a class per semester on campus, your MHA is calculated based on the zip code of the school where you physically attend class and on the total number of credits you are taking including both your on campus and online classes.

The way to make this work is by coordinating the classes you want to take on campus (your secondary school) with your online school (your primary school) – the school that would be issuing your degree.

Your primary school sends your secondary school the classes you want to take from them. Once finished with the classes, your secondary school sends your primary school a transcript of your credits and your primary school posts the credits to your degree plan. Everyone is happy – especially you because you doubled your MHA with very little additional effort on your part. If you have a school close to you, and can work out the classes you would take from them with your online school, this is worth looking into.

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