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Will the Post 9/11 GI Bill Pay Any or All of My Flight Training Tuition and Fees?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I want to attend Arizona State University with the 9/11 GI Bill. I want get my BS in Aeronautical Management Technology (Professional Flight). The flight training costs $68,088 in addition to tuition. The only thing I can find as far as the 9/11 GI BILL goes is that it pays 100% of tuition and fees for public schools. Will the GI Bill pay any or all of my tuition and fees? I see that ASU is a Yellow Ribbon School so obviously 100% of tuition is not paid. Any light you can shed is greatly appreciated.

A: You are correct. Because you are in a degree producing flight training program, the Post 9/11 GI Bill will pay 100% of your tuition at the resident rate, meaning the tuition an Arizona resident would pay. If you are a non-resident, then most likely all of your tuition would not be covered.

And that is where the Yellow Ribbon Program comes in. For out-state or private school students, the Yellow Ribbon program can help pay the difference between what the school charges in tuition and what the Post 9/11 GI Bill will pay. Depending on your school’s agreement, they can pay up to 50% of the difference and the VA will pay an equal amount, so in theory, your tuition is covered.

However, most likely the bulk of the additional $68,088 will be your cost to pay. The VA pays tuition and other eligible fees, fees that your school classifies as normal and customary and that it charges most students. If some of those fees are included in your additional amount, they may be paid for by the VA. Most likely, the aviation specific charges will not be covered.

However, it could be worse. If you were in a non-degree flight training program, the VA would only pay up to $10,000 per year in tuition, but because you are taking the degree-producing route, more of your costs will be paid for. Taking the four-year degree route shows the VA you are serious about doing this for your career and not pursuing it as an avocation.

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