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Do I Have to Attend School Full-time to Get VA Education Benefits?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I meet the service requirements for REAP and/or the Post 9/11 GI Bill. I’m not clear if either of these programs provide benefits for students studying part time. I would like to go back to school, but will likely only take 2-3 classes per semester since I am working full time. Do I need to attend full-time to take advantage of VA Education Benefits?

A: No you don’t need to attend classes full-time to get the benefits of REAP or the Post 9/11 GI Bill. Your benefits will be reduced on a pro-rated basis against what is considered full-time (usually 12 credits). So, if you are carrying a 7-credit load, your benefits would be reduced by 7/12th. If your term is 5 months, your benefits would be reduced 7/12th of 5 months or about 3 months. You still get the same amount of schooling out of your 36 months, it will just take you longer to use it up.

With the Post 9/11 GI Bill, you won’t get the housing allowance if your rate of pursuit is considered half-time or less. Usually 7 credits will put you at more than a half-time rate. If you are only taking 2 or 3 classes per term, make sure they add up to at least 7 credits to get your maximum benefit.

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