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Is Flight Time in a Flight Training Program Covered By the Post 9/11 GI Bill?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I recently spoke with an education counselor at Embry Riddle about attending their Professional Pilots program. He informed me that while the class time was covered through the Post 9/11 GI Bill, the actual flight time was not. The website is pretty vague about the issue, is there any truth to this and if so what are the stipulations?

A: Flight training using your GI Bill benefits is tenacious at best. Many servicmembers would like to use their GI Bill benefits to learn how to fly as an avocation, but that is not what the GI Bill is about. It is meant to enable you to get an education that you can use for a career.

So the basic VA stipulation for commercial flight training is you must (usually) already have your private pilot’s license and medical certificate before enrolling in a flight training program. I said “must (usually)” because in some flight training programs, getting your private pilot’s license is part of the program, but the number of programs set up that way are few and it all depends on how the school writes up their curriculum.

As far as how much the VA will pay for flight training, it depends on the type of program you pursue. If you are in a four-year degree-producing program, then just like any other bachelor’s degree program, they pay full resident-rate tuition/fees at a public school, or up to $17,500 per year at a private school. In either case, you would also get the book stipend and housing allowance. The fees that the VA pays are the normal fees the school charges all students. So with that said, most likely your flight time is not covered.

If you take a non-degree producing flight training program using your Post 9/11 GI Bill, then the VA pays a maximum of $10,000 per year and you do not get either the housing allowance or book stipend and your flight time isn’t covered.

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