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How Do I Get My GI Bill to Cover All Costs Incurred While Attending the University of Utah?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Good Evening, I have a few questions regarding my plan to attend the University of Utah. I am currently active duty USMC and a resident of Pennsylvania. I understand it as I am not qualified to receive full coverage of tuition and all due to my residency in PA? What, I’m asking, essentially is what do I have to do to use my GI bill to cover all costs incurred while attending the University of Utah? Would I have to transfer my residency a year prior to enrollment? Is there a simple way to do this as active military? These questions are very prevalent to my current plan. Most of my civilian friends from before the Marine Corps live in the area, and some of my mail gets sent to them, AT&T wireless bill for example. Would that be enough to change my legal residence to Utah and receive full compensation for attendance? Thank you for your time. Respectfully.

A: Actually, depending on your degree major, you may not have to do anything to change your residency. One great feature of the Post 9/11 GI Bill is the Yellow Ribbon Program. It is particularly useful if you have to pay out-state tuition or you plan on attending a private school.

How it works is your Post 9/11 GI Bill will pay your tuition and eligible fees up to the residency rate for the State of Utah. Then, if your major is one of the programs covered by the University of Utah, your school can pay up to 50% of the difference between what they charge and what your Post 9/11 GI Bill pays. The VA can pay an equal amount, so between the two, most of your unpaid difference will be paid, leaving you very little if anything left to be paid out-of-pocket.

As far as your housing allowance, that will be determined by the zip code of your school and by how many credits you are taking, so that has nothing to do with your residency, as does your book stipend. That pays you $41.67 per credit up to a maximum of $1,000 per year, so residency has no effect on that payment either.

So if your program is covered by the Yellow Ribbon Program, your non-residency factor should have very little to do with your Post 9/11 GI Bill payments. Be sure to ask if your program is covered or not, because while the U of Utah is a Yellow Ribbon school, not all of its programs may be included in their Yellow Ribbon Agreement with the VA.

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