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Would My Class Count as an On-Campus or Online Class for Post 9/11 GI Bill Housing Allowance Purposes?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I’m considering a school that has an unusual setup. Classes meet on-campus once per month for three to five days at a time. You end up with the same amount of classroom time as you would if the setup was more traditional, it’s just all lumped together at once. There is no online component to the classes. Between each monthly classroom session you are completing reading, writing and research assignments on your own. How would these classes qualify for the New GI Bill housing stipend? Would they count as on-campus classes or online classes? Thanks — Emily

A: Hmmm … interesting Emily. Before answering your question though, let’s consider what the VA classifies as classroom training. It defines it as “In-residence training for undergraduate students consists of regularly scheduled standard class sessions (at least once every two weeks). The total number of hours of classroom instruction (based on 50 minutes of instruction per hour) must equal, or be greater than, the number of credit hours awarded for the course multiplied by the number of weeks in the term.

Without knowing how many hours you meet per week when you are in class, I don’t know if you meet the total hour requirement which would be 48 for a 3-credit course per 16-week semester. The part that could trip you up is if you don’t meet the requirement to meet at least every two weeks. Not meeting this requirement could then classify it as an online class for Post 9/11 GI Bill Housing Allowance purposes.

Or because you said you are meeting the total hour requirement, your school may have received special disposition from the VA to have it classified as a regular on-campus class for housing allowance purposes.

Your best bet is to talk to your school’s VA Certifying Official and ask that person how the class is classified from a VA perspective. The difference in housing allowance could be significant – up to 50% less if it is classified as an online class verses an in-residence class.

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