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When Using the Post 9/11 GI Bill, How Do I Apply for the Housing Allowance?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I started school on December 13th by online classes Full Time in my Master’s program. I have 100% Post 9/11 GI Bill. How do I apply for the housing assistance? Does the school automatically contact the correct people when they bill for tuition? I’m so confused on where I’m supposed to go or who I’m supposed to contact. Thank you!

A: The housing assistance will come automatically, but it is usually after-the-fact meaning the VA is normally a month behind in paying it. When you enrolled as a Post 9/11 GI Bill full-time, online-only student, your school sent in your Certificate of Eligibility and a Certificate of Enrollment, so the VA knows you enrollment status.

As an full-time, online-only student, you will get $673.50 per month in housing allowance. The VA pays your tuition and fees directly to your school, and you will also get a book stipend once a semester (up to the $1,000 per year limit), which brings me to my question for you – why is your school billing you for tuition?

Under the Post 9/11 GI Bill, the VA will pay your tuition if you are attending a public school up to the resident rate. If you are attending a private school, they will pay up to $17,500 per year in tuition. Normally if you attend online, there isn’t the resident/non-resident issue, so your tuition should be covered.

If it is not for some reason, inquire if your school is a Yellow Ribbon school and if your program is covered by their agreement. If it is, your school can pay up to half of the difference between what the VA pays and what your school charges. The VA pays an equal amount which leaves you with very little left to pay.

You might already be doing this and it just so happens your school is not a Yellow Ribbon school or their percentage of pay is low anyway; if you are not doing this, it won’t hurt to ask or look at changing to a school that is part of the Yellow Ribbon Program.

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