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I’m Not Getting State TA or BAH, So What Will My GI Bill Cover?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I am currently in the South Dakota National Guard and will be returning to school. I have enrolled with Colorado Technical Institute online and I was told that since my BA degree will be all online, that my state TA will not cover any of the cost of my tuition. It looks like I will not receive any kind of BAH as well. I just need to know WHAT WILL my G.I. Bill do for me?

A: I’m a little confused by the information in your question. If you are in the Guard, I’m assuming you have the Montgomery GI Bill – Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR) which is normally what National Guard members and Reservists have. If that is the GI Bill you are using, it doesn’t pay a housing allowance – only the Post 9/11 GI Bill.

If you had enough active duty time for the Post 9/11 GI Bill and that is the GI Bill you are using, it does pay a housing allowance, but not to online-only students. You would have to take at least one on-campus class applying to your degree plan per term, to qualify for the housing allowance.

As far as your state Tuition assistance (TA), it is true – it only pays if you attend a state-supported public school in South Dakota. Most of the other states do the same thing; they want to keep the money in the state.

So if you are using the MGIB-SR, it will pay you about $330 per month for 36 months to go to school (Yeah, I know it is a paltry amount, but it is what it is). You will have to pay all your own education-related expenses, such as tuition, fees, etc.

If you are using the Post 9/11 GI Bill, then it will pay your tuition and eligible fees, up to the in-state maximum for state where your online school is headquartered and you would get up to the $1,000 per year book stipend.

You would not get the housing allowance, unless you took one class per term on campus. It can be at any accredited campus close to you. Just make sure your class applies to your degree plan.

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