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Can the Dependent of a 100% Disabled Veteran Receive Both Scholarships and Chapter 35 GI Bill Benefits?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Can someone with 100% permanent and total disability that has a brilliant and disciplined child expect to receive full tuition, room &board, books & supplies as a needs-based scholarship to an elite Ivy League type of college, but otherwise has no other money for any other expenses, receive Chapter 35 to cover anything else, like spending money? Would such a college drop their full tuition needs-based scholarship if they discover that the incoming student has Chapter 35 benefits? What if the student starts school on their 18th birthday, completes their undergraduate degree in 36 months, and then decides to take 9 months of graduate school, would Chapter 35 be used for those costs? Thanks.

A: From the VA standpoint, your child could receive Chapter 35 benefits, however, I don’t know that is a good idea. Depending on the rules of the needs-based scholarship, s/he could indeed jeopardize his or her scholarship, especially if the Chapter 35 benefits was not disclosed in the application and one of the requirements is declaring other forms of monetary assistance. To me, it wouldn’t be worth taking a chance of losing that kind of scholarship for some spending money.

But if there isn’t anything in the application process that specifically prohibits using GI Bill benefits in conjunction with the scholarship, then why not. Because the scholarship is needs-based, my hunch is your child might not qualify for the scholarship if s/he were to disclose Chapter 35 eligibility.

However, I’m with you on the second part of your question – using Chapter 35 benefits to help pay for graduate school. Right now, Chapter 35 pays up to $1,003 per month to go to school full-time. While that is not a lot when looking at graduate school tuition rates, it would certainly help.

Your child has up to 44 months of Chapter 35 benefits s/he can use, but they have to be used by age 26.

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