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Does Changing Degree Plans Affect How Much My Grandaughter Gets from Her Post 9/11 GI Bill?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: My son-in-law, on active duty 14 years, transferred his benefits to his wife and also his daughter. His wife is receiving benefits for her schooling, however, his daughter, a sophomore, has had only one course paid. She has recently been suspended for non-payment and was told the VA denied her benefits. She owes $1,127 before she can enroll for the summer term. She is in need of 3 courses to get her AA. Last term she was told the VA would not pay for a course which was not needed for her degree. She started to get her degree in one field, but subsequently changed. Does this affect what she can get paid? Can you tell me what gives?

A: There are two things you have to know about the VA and you already found out one of them – they will not pay for courses that are not creditable to the degree plan they have on file for her. The purpose of the GI Bill is to train the recipient in a skill or trade that can be used to make a living. Therefore courses not listed on a degree plan are not required to learn that skill or trade, hence the VA will not pay for them.

It is a way they use to help people manage their GI Bill benefits instead of wasting them on courses that may be fun to take, but do absolutely no good when it comes to training for a career.

The other thing you have to know is the person using the GI Bill has to keep the VA informed of changes. It sounds like your granddaughter started with one degree plan and then switched to a different one, but failed to inform the VA of the change. So she is taking classes under one degree plan while the VA still has her first degree plan on record and of course the classes she is taking are not matching up at the VA – hence why the VA is not paying for her classes.

What she needs to do to get back in the good graces with the VA is to submit VA Form 22-1995 - Request Change of Program or Place of Training. That will get her back on track with the VA.

Then she will have to pay what she owes her school and chalk it up to experience in using the Post 9/11 GI Bill.

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