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How Will It Affect My Housing Allowance?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I am looking to use my Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits. I have a full-time job working mostly weekends so I want to go school 1/2 to 3/4 time. I am trying to balance work and school and I what to know what I’m losing out on by going ½  to 3/4 time? Will I only get 36 months of half-time and not finish my degree? How will it affect housing allowance?

A:  To get the Post 9/11 GI Bill housing allowance, you need to be classified as a greater-than-half-time student. So if your school considers 12 credits to be full-time, you need to carry at least 7 credits per term to get the housing allowance. It would literally pay you to get above half-time status as the housing allowance averages about $1,000 per month. If your school is on either the East or West Coast, it is twice that amount. If in the Midwest, then it is less than the average.

As far as entitlement use, you have up to 15 years from your discharge date to use up your 36 months of Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits. Entitlement use is calculated on your rate of pursuit, so if you were going to school full-time, you use one month of entitlement for each month of school. If you are carrying 7 credits (and your school considers 12 to be full-time), then you use up 7/12 of a month for each month you are in school or about 17.5 days each month.

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