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Can I Get Both Scholarships and the Post 9/11 GI Bill Housing Stipend?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Hello, I am currently a Post 9/11 GI Bill user at the 100% rate. I just found out that I have been offered a scholarship for next year’s Fall semester. The scholarship covers full tuition and gives me a stipend for living expenses. However, the stipend is less than my GI Bill monthly stipend would be. My question is whether receiving the scholarship’s stipend will change my ability to receive the GI Bill monthly stipend? Ideally I would like both. Is this possible?

A: It is possible to get both housing stipends, however, I question whether it is a good use of your Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits and here is why. If your tuition is paid through your scholarship, then the VA will not pay anything for your tuition as they are the last bill payer and there won’t be anything left to pay. So all you are getting out of your GI Bill entitlement is the book stipend paid at $41.67 per credit and your housing stipend.

The question you have justify to yourself is if that is how you want to “spend” your GI Bill entitlement. If it was me, I would take the scholarship and not use my Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits for that semester. You can start and stop your New GI Bill at will, so it is not as if you have to use it for every semester; you have up to 15 years from your date of discharge to use up your benefits before you lose what you have left.

My advice is to use them smartly. I know it is tempting to get both housing stipends, but there may be a time in the future where you wish you had some benefits left to use. Think through it and make your decision.

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