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Will the GI Bill Pay For Courses Not Part of a Degree Plan?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: My husband is currently using the Post 9/11 GI Bill and he receives the housings allowance. I understand that he needs to be at least a half-time student to continue to receive the housing allowance, but I have a question about the specifics.

He intends to remain full-time next semester, but wants to take a couple of courses that might not be working towards a specific degree. In order to retain 100% of the housing allowance do the courses he is enrolled in need to be part of a declared degree program or general education? Will the GI Bill pay for courses that are not part of general education or working towards a degree? Thank you.

A: Just so everyone reading this blog post is on the same sheet of music, I have to clarify something you said – “ . . . he needs to be at least a half-time student to continue to receive the housing allowance . . .”. That statement is not true. He has to be a greater-than-half-time student – he needs to take at least 51% of the number of credits his school considers to be full-time. Half of that number or 50% would not authorize him the housing allowance.

OK, with that out of the way, now onto your question. To keep getting 100% of his Post 9/11 GI Bill housing allowance, yes, all of his courses, must pertain to his declared degree plan. Not only would courses not in his degree plan affect the number of credits that would apply to his housing allowance eligibility, but the VA also would not pay the tuition and any eligible associated fees connected with the non-degree plan courses.

Also, starting this fall the housing allowance amount criteria will change. As a result of the GI Bill 2.0 passage, the housing amount will be prorated according to the number of credits taken. While the requirement is still at least 51% of the number of credits the school considers to be full-time, the less the number of credits, the less in housing allowance. For example, if he is taking 7 credits (and his school considers 12 to be full-time), he would get 7/12th of the full-time housing allowance. Right now, he would get the full amount with 7 credits.

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