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If I Take 9 Credits This Semester, Is It Worth Losing My Post 9/11 GI Bill Monthly Housing Allowance Money?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: My school requires a student to take 12 credits hours per semester to be considered a full-time student. I have not been able to fill up my schedule yet to be considered full-time due to non-availability of classes I need. How much BAH can I expect to receive if I only end up with two online courses and one on campus equaling to 9 credits at the University of Texas at El Paso located in El Paso, TX. Secondly, if I decide it’s not worth losing the rest of the BAH forever, what happens to those benefits for that semester if I decide to drop my classes and wait for next semester to have a full time schedule?

A: You can expect to get $0.00 BAH because the Post 9/11 GI Bill does not pay BAH … it pays a Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA). I’m a stickler for the terminology because BAH and the MHA are so very different and by referring to one, when you mean the other, just causes confusion among both parties.

If you were taking at least 12 credits, what the University of El Paso considers to be full-time, you would get $1,167 per month in MHA. But because you are only carrying 9 credits, you would get 9/12ths that amount or about $875.25.You would also get less in book stipend money too as it is calculated at $41.67 per credit hour per semester.

I’m not sure what you are referring to when you said “if I decide it’s not worth losing the rest of the BAH forever . . . .” Over the course of the semester, you would end up losing the equivalent of one month’s of MHA. While at the onset it looks like you would lose that amount “forever” in the sense that you could never get it back, you really would not. Why?

Because if you are taking only 9 credits per semester, you are only using up 9/12ths of a month of eligibility for each month you are in school that semester. So instead of using 120 days of eligibility (for a normal 16-week semester), you would only use up 90 days. So in theory, you would have an additional month of eligibility to use and get back that amount you “lost”. You might be able to use that month by taking a certification or licensing course along the way before your Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits expire.

If you drop the courses, and it is after your school’s official drop period, you lose that eligibility and then you really have lost those benefits forever. Stay the course – it would all work out in the end.

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