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Am I Understanding the Resident/Non-Resident Tuition Correctly As It Applies to the Post 9/11 GI Bill?

Q: Thank you in advance for taking the time to review and answer my question. I already have my B.A. and would like to pursue my M.S., but I’m worried about the cost of tuition. The out of state tuition rate for the school I want to attend is $9,408 per semester ($784 per credit X 12 credits). The current rate for the MGIB is $1,648 for 2014. If I only receive this money while I am enrolled in school, there is no way I’d be able to fully pay for grad school. So, as long as I’m enrolled in a Grad program, will I receive the $1,648 per month? Last, if I decide to switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill, will I automatically be considered a resident of the state and not have to pay non-resident tuition fees? As I understand it, the Post 9/11 GI Bill will pay all in-state tuition fees, but if I’m not a resident of the state, will I be charged by the University as being non-resident? If so, the GI Bill would cover the in-state resident tuition and I would have to come up with the rest of the cash to cover the non-resident tuition. Am I understanding this correctly? Again, I thank you for looking into my question.

A: Yes, the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) would pay you as long as you are enrolled in a grad school program and have unused remaining entitlement left on your GI Bill. In other words, if you have exhausted all of your entitlement, but are still enrolled in grad school, your MGIB payment would stop at the end of the semester that you ran out of entitlement. I just wanted to clarify what you had said about getting paid as long as you were enrolled in a grad school program; you have to have entitlement left when you start that semester.

Under the MGIB, you would get about $6,592 per semester, so yes you would have a shortfall of about $2,816 per semester.

As far as the Post 9/11 GI Bill, yes it does pay up to the resident rate, but that does not mean you would get charged the resident rate as a non-resident (at least not yet – more on that in a moment). You would still have a shortfall between your school’s out-of-state tuition rate and what the Post 9/11 GI Bill would pay. I can’t tell you what that shortfall would be because I don’t know which school you plan to attend.

However, under the Post 9/11 GI Bill, there is also a feature called the Yellow Ribbon Program where if your school has an YRP agreement with the VA, they can pay up to half of the difference in tuition and the VA would pay an equal amount. The caveat is “up to half” meaning your school could have a lesser percentage in their agreement. Then there would be a small amount left for you to pay after the VA paid their share.

Back to the non-resident/resident tuition issue. Some states already charge veterans the in-state rate regardless of their residency. Check with your school to see what their policy is right now. More states and schools will be going to this policy as Congress is looking at passing a bill that if a school does not give veterans the in-state rate, they would not be a VA-approved school and therefore could not accept GI Bill students.

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