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How Can I Get Three Months of Post 9/11 GI Bill Housing Allowance to Pay for Future Tuition?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I’m eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill 100% and used it for my first year of school. During that time I got a phenomenal job and stopped taking classes to focus on the job. Now that I’m settled in the job I have enough time to do about a class (maybe 2) per semester. If I use the GI Bill to pay for these classes, will that cut into my 36 months? Is there any way to get it to pay just the tuition without taking a full class load. I don’t want to quit my job just to take classes, but I would like to *slowly* finish my degree without paying $4,000. I also don’t want to use up all my GI bill just to slowly take classes. The other option I could think of would be this – how can I get approx 3 months of housing costs at 100%, I can just save that money for future tuition. Is that a possibility? What the minimum course load I would need to pull that off?

A: In most cases, anytime you are getting GI Bill benefits, you are using up entitlement. How much you will use up depends on how many credits your school considers to be full-time verses how many credits you are taking per semester. If they use 12 credits as their full-time, and you are taking a one 3-credit class, then you would use up 3/12ths of a month of entitlement for each month you are in school or about 7 ½ days per month.

But, keep in mind, that you would not be taking enough credits to be eligible for the housing allowance. You have to take at least 51% of a full-time credit load to get any housing allowance at all, which in the above example would be 7 credits. In that case, you would get 7/12ths of the full housing allowance authorized for the zip code of your school if you are taking classroom classes. The housing allowance for online-only students is figured differently.

To get the full housing allowance for three months, you would have to take a full credit load for ¾ of a semester which would be hard to pull off – it would be easier to take a full load for one whole semester. In addition, you would get up to $41.67 per credit in a book stipend for that semester and get your tuition paid at your Post 9/11 GI Bill percentage level.

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