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Will Other Tuition Assistance Affect My Payments from the GI Bill?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I’m a veteran with 100% eligibility for the Post 9/11 GI Bill, preparing to attend a grad school that has the Yellow Ribbon Program. I’m employed by a DoD agency that provides tuition assistance to civilian employees up to $5,120/year. Can I accept tuition assistance from my agency without any offset from my GI Bill or Yellow Ribbon? Thank you for your assistance!

A: The VA only pays actual costs, so yes you would have an effect on how much you would get paid from your GI Bill and Yellow Ribbon Program. As a matter-of-fact, Question 22 of VA Form 22-1990 (GI Bill Application Form) asks”

FOR CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES OF THE U.S. GOVERNMENT ONLY: ARE YOU RECEIVING, OR DO YOU ANTICIPATE RECEIVING, ANY MONEY (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES TRAINING ACT) FROM YOUR AGENCY FOR THE SAME PERIOD FOR WHICH YOU HAVE APPLIED TO THE VA FOR EDUCATION BENEFITS? IF YOU WILL RECEIVE SUCH BENEFITS DURING ANY PART OF YOUR TRAINING, CHECK “YES.”.”

This would be the same rationale as servicemembers who use the Tuition Top-Up program to pay for costs not covered by Tuition Assistance (TA). Because TA pays most of the costs, the amount paid by Top-Up (which comes out of the servicemember’s GI Bill) uses up GI Bill entitlement at a much slower rate.

If you are paying grad school tuition, it won’t take long to use up the $5,120 provided by your employer. Then you could switch over and use your GI Bill entitlements/Yellow Ribbon Program to pay for the rest of the academic year.

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