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Is It Possible to Expend Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits Only One Semester At a Time?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Is it possible to expend GI Bill benefits one semester at a time vice “expend all remaining”? Specifically, I’d like to use my daughter’s 12 months of transferred benefit by paying for one semester (4 months) in each of her first three years of college. Is there a way to do this without manipulating her total months of eligibility in the system (i.e., reduce from 12 to 4 prior to start of school year)?

A: Yes, veterans or dependents using transferred Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits can start and stop at will. I don’t know where you are getting the “expend all remaining”, unless it is from the school, but it is not something the VA forces you to do.

If you are going to help your daughter use her GI Bill benefits intermittently, then it is critical her school knows which semesters she is on the GI Bill and which ones she is not. Why? Because for the school to get paid by the VA for her tuition and fees and for her to get paid her housing allowance and book stipend, her school has to send in a Certificate of Enrollment. That gets the payment process started for all involved.

And the way to ensure her school knows if she is on GI Bill benefits or not for a particular semester is to hand in a copy of her Certificate of Eligibility (COE) for the semesters she wants to use GI Bill benefits when she registers and for her to inform the school that for the next semester she will not be on the GI Bill even though she has benefits left to use.

Otherwise, her school may just assume she will be using her GI Bill benefits as long as she has some left. Although they shouldn’t do that if she has not turned in a COE for that semester.

The key here is communication with the school.

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