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Can I Get the Monthly Housing Allowance While Using the Montgomery GI Bill?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I am currently using my Montgomery GI Bill for online college. I saw a thing saying online students would start getting BAH at half the rate of an E-5. Am I eligible to receive BAH and since I’m using my Montgomery GI Bill will I be able to use the Post 9/11 GI Bill when I’m done with the Montgomery GI Bill?

A: If you are using the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB), then you get one payment per month up to $1,564 as a full-time student. Out of that amount, you have to pay tuition, fees, books and other education-related expenses. MGIB users are not authorized a monthly housing allowance or BAH as you call it (although BAH is something entirely different from the housing allowance).

However, if you are eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill and you decide to switch, you would get a monthly housing allowance.

If you are taking all online courses, then you are limited to a maximum housing allowance of $674.50 per month. However, if you are taking classroom classes on campus (or at least one class per semester that applies to your degree plan if the rest are online), then you would get a housing allowance calculated based on the zip code of your school and the number of credits you are taking.

Whether you go the online-only or classroom on campus route, you would still get a book stipend once per semester (up to the $1,000 per year cap) and the VA would pay your tuition directly to your school.

If you are eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill, then yes, you could get an additional 12 months of benefits once you have exhausted your MGIB.

However, if you decide to switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill with MGIB benefits left, then all you would get under the Post 9/11 GI Bill is the same number of months you had left under the MGIB and not the 12 additional months.

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