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With 18 Months of Entitlements Left, Do I Have Enough for Grad School?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I’ve been attending school full-time, but will be starting a graduate program that will be 9 credits per semester and 6 in the summer. It is considered 3/4 time, even though due to the overlapping courses, there’s no way to do full time. How will this effect my housing allowance and total benefit (rate of pursuit) under the Post 9/11 GI Bill? I’m currently full time and getting full housing allowance. I have 18 months of benefit left for grad school, at 100% and don’t want to run out.

A: Entitlement use and the housing allowance are somewhat two separate subjects, so I’ll address them separately. Right now, if you qualify for 100% of the Post 9/11 GI Bill and have a rate of pursuit of greater-than-half-time (and not taking all online classes), you get the full housing allowance. To get the greater-than-half-time rate of pursuit, you need to take at least 51% of the number of credits your school considers to be full-time.

So as long as you  are over the 51% mark, you will get the full housing allowance. For right now, either you qualify for it or you don’t; there isn’t a partial payment (generally speaking).

However, with the passage of the GI Bill 2.0, that will change starting on August 1st. After that date, your housing allowance will be directly tied to the number of credits you are taking in relation to what the school considered to be full-time.

As far as entitlement use, it is based on the number of days of school per month at your rate of pursuit. So a full-time student uses one month of entitlement for each full month of school. If you are going ¾ time, then you would use ¾s of a month of entitlement for each month of school or about 22.5 days each month. So with 18 months of entitlement left, and continuing at the same rate of pursuit, you would go to grad school for about 22.5 months before running out of benefits.

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