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If I’m Using the GI Bill, Why Is My School Asking Me for Money?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I have my active duty GI Bill and I just started school. I was under the impression that the money went straight to the school but now they are asking me for money. Who and how do I go about receiving the payments? Any help on this matter would be greatly appreciated thank you.

A: Being you referenced your “active duty GI Bill”, I think you are using your Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB). Under that program, the money comes to you and you are responsible to pay your own tuition, fees, books and other education-related expenses. Right now, the MGIB pays up to $1,648 per month (if you had at least three years of service and are a full-time student).

However, if you are using the Post 9/11 GI Bill, then the VA pays your tuition and fees directly to your school. Monthly you get a housing allowance and at the beginning of each semester, a book stipend.

Being you asked how do you get receive payments, I’m not sure that you had sent in VA Form 22-1990. If you did, then you should have received your Certificate of Eligibility and handed in a copy of the certificate when you enrolled in school. That way your school knows you are a GI Bill student. If you are using the MGIB, then they know to bill you; if using the Post 9/11 GI Bill, they know the VA will pay them.

However, even if you are using the Post 9/11 GI Bill, they could still ask you for money, especially if you are paying non-resident tuition. The Post 9/11 GI Bill only pays up to the resident tuition amount; the difference is your responsibility to pay.

Or your school could have you pay your tuition up front and then credit it back to you once the VA pays them. Without more information as to which GI Bill you are using, I can’t give you a better answer.

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