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If You Reach Your Tuition Cap in the First Semester, Do You Get Anything for the Second One?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Hi, my daughter has been utilizing my husband’s GI Bill benefits for tuition and housing allowance at a private university. Last year, her freshman year, the benefits were paid at a higher rate, but this year she was subject to the cap–$14,000 in her case, because she’s eligible at the 80 percent rate. The VA paid the entire $14,000 for the fall term, and she received housing allowance during that term. My concern is this: will she continue to receive the housing allowance for the rest of the year–winter and spring terms–even though her VA benefits have been used toward tuition in one term? I haven’t seen her housing allowance yet, so I’m concerned. Thanks for your help.

A: You are right. Before the GI Bill 2.0 change, tuition for private school students was paid at the resident public school in-state rates. After the change, private school tuition was limited to $17,000 per year, or in your daughter’s case, 80% or $14,000. But because she used up her yearly amount in tuition in one semester, she (or you) will have to pay all of her tuition for the other two semesters.

I can’t say for sure, but I don’t believe she will get the housing allowance or book stipend for the other two semesters either. If she maxed out on tuition, I’m assuming she maxed out on the other Post 9/11 GI Bill pay features also.

If each semester of her tuition is costing a year’s worth of what the Post 9/11 GI Bill will pay, I think I would be looking at transferring to a different school. Unless her school specializes in something very unique and not taught elsewhere, I would think she could get just as good of an education at a lot less expensive school. With the money it is costing, I hope the end result is worth it.

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