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Can I Take Classes Both Online and On-Campus At Two Different Schools?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I understand that starting in August, the revamped Post 9/11 GI bill will pay partial bah for online students. I did not know that people were taking one on-campus class to get the bah if they were taking the bulk of theirs online. My question is if I take one on-campus and the rest online, does it have to be at the same school as I am taking online? If I am taking at least 1/2 time online and sign up for a class at the local college, will that get me the regular bah rate? Or do all my classes have to come from the same school? Thanks for your time.

A: No, not all of your classes have to come from the same school. As a matter-of-fact in many instances, online schools don’t have a brick-and-mortar campus where you could take an on-campus class.

The real key to taking one on-campus class per term and getting the full Post 9/11 GI Bill housing allowance, is the class has to count toward your education goal or degree plan. The way it usually works is you designate your online school as your “parent school”. Your on-campus school is designated as your “secondary school”. Once you decide which class will qualify, your parent school contacts your secondary school telling them which class you will take. You enroll in your secondary school for that class. Once the class at your secondary school is done, they send a transcript of the class to your parent school where it gets posted to your parent school degree plan. If the class will not count toward your degree, then the VA will not pay for it.

Just so everyone is clear, the VA uses a BAH calculator to establish housing allowance amounts, but the Department of Defense is the only one actually paying BAH. They are different in that the VA pays everyone eligible at the pay grade of an E-5 with dependents.

Comments  (13)

I have heard a lot of different things for those students attending the University of Phoenix have yet to get a clear concise answer. I just transfered from ITT Tech to University of Phoenix. My question is, I was getting paid $2,019 on the 30th of every month while going to ITT Tech because it is a quarterly school. However University of Phoenix is not a semester or quarterly school they have one physical on campus class once per week each class is 5 weeks long. Now I am confused, does this mean I will get paid almost 2 weeks LATER than usual? For example, lets say at ITT Tech I was full-time 100% 9/11 benefits, I attend from June 1st-June 30th I get $2,019 on June 30th for the whole month. But now going to University of Phoenix my class is from lets say July 1st-August 7th. Does this mean I would not recieve a direct deposit payment of $2,019 for the month of July until August 21st or would it be more like August 14th? Please answer if you can I really am concerned about this.

posted by Shane A.
10:17 pm on June 15, 2011

I really can’t give you a concise answer. I would assume the lag rate from when you finish to when you see your money would be approximately the same, but that is just a guess. I wouldn’t be real concerned about a two-week difference of when I get paid as much as I would if I’m going to get paid the same amount?

Is your University of Phoenix school in the same zip code as your old ITT Tech school? Housing payment amounts are driven by the school’s zip code. If the U of P is in the same zip code or even city, it should be about the same as what you were previously receiving, however, if your new school is in a different state or city, the amount could be more or less.

posted by Ron Kness
9:51 am on June 21, 2011

Great blog. Thank you for sharing this blog to us. Keep posting more.

posted by Roderick Parker
12:03 am on October 26, 2011

I am going to the university of Maryland University Campus all online right now receiving my half BAH rate. When I get back home I plan to attend 1 on site class with UMUC at their campus and the rest of my classes online…how do I find out what formula they use for both online and on site classes for my housing allowance? I will be taking a full semester, just splitting them up 1 on site 3 online

posted by Casey Walters
6:30 pm on December 24, 2011

By taking one on campus class and the rest online, and taking enough classes to have a rate of pursuit classified as full-time, you will get the full amount of housing allowance authorized for the zip code where your school is located.

posted by Ron Kness
11:00 am on January 2, 2012

I am taking online classes, which is one every 5 weeks, in January I plan to apply for one campus class. What is consider full time to get full time benefits? I am confused on this part, and where do I go or call to know I will receive full time bah?

posted by jose
5:05 pm on October 11, 2012

Just to clarify my previous question, I have 6 credits on schedule right now online, I understand full time is 12 credits, If I want to receive full time benefits by taking online classes and going to a campus, will I have to take another 6 credits on a campus?

posted by jose
5:24 pm on October 11, 2012

You have to take another six credits, but they all don’t have to be on campus.

posted by Ron Kness
8:04 pm on October 12, 2012

Contact your school as the number of credits can vary from school to school.

posted by Ron Kness
8:04 pm on October 12, 2012

I recently enrolled in a full-time program through Norwestern University at a satelite campus in Miami. I noticed that my BAH rate corresponds to the Evanston, IL, rate where the main campus is located, rather than the higher Miami BAH rate where I am actually attending classes. Am I entitled to the Miami rate? If so, is this an issue I should take up with the VA, or with the certifying official at the university?

posted by Victor
3:16 pm on October 29, 2012

Most likely not and here is why. Some schools with both a main campus and satellite locations only certify their main campus as far as the Post 9/11 GI Bill is concerned. Being you are receiving the Evanston, IL rate, that appears that is what happened here. Also, the Miami campus is not showing up in the Weam’s School Search which is suppose to show all of the VA-approved schools.

I would take up the issue with the VA Certifying Official at your school, however if your school in Miami does not have its own approval, he may not be able to help you. The difference between the two rates is $228 per month – $1,635 for Evanston and $1,863 for Miami. Goo luck!

posted by Ron Kness
12:20 pm on November 11, 2012

Can anyone tell me how much the BAH rate is for full time status if you live in Dallas, TX area?. I am trying to go back full time on campus at UOP and want to know how much the VA will pay for the DFW rate? thank you much!!

posted by Afy
12:13 pm on May 4, 2013

You can look it up yourself by going to the BAH Calculator. Enter in the zip code and select the Pay Grade of E-5 from the drop down menu. Use the figure from the E-5 with dependents as how much you would get. Also keep in mind that amount is for a full-time student. If less than full-time, then you would have to prorate it according to the number of credits taken.

However for those who don’t know the zip code for Dallas, the housing allowance amount comes out to $1,611 per month.

posted by Ron Kness
6:16 pm on May 5, 2013
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