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Is It True I Can Only Go to School For Free Under the Post 9/11 GI Bill in South Carolina?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I am a child of a veteran and am attending college for free due to the GI Bill. My dad told me that I can go to college for free only in South Carolina. Is that true? Does the bill only pertain to children attending in-state (their own state) schooling? And also, should I be receiving a check as well?

A: What your Dad is telling you is somewhat true in that the Post 9/11 GI Bill only pays tuition at a public school up to the resident rate. So if you went to a school out-of-state, you might have to pay the difference between what your GI Bill pays and what your school charges in non-resident tuition.

I say “might” because if you are eligible for the Yellow Ribbon Program (100% Post 9/11 GI Bill eligible and it sounds like you are if it’s paying your way now), and your school has a Yellow Ribbon Agreement with the VA, your school could waive up to half of that tuition difference and the VA would pay an equal amount, leaving you left with nothing to pay. However, if you attend a non-Yellow Ribbon school, then you would have to pay the difference.

The GI Bill is a federal program, so it pays regardless of which state your school is in; just make sure your school is VA-approved.

Your last question raises a red-flag though. Yes, you should be receiving two payments: one each month you are in school in the form of a housing allowance and another one each semester as a book stipend.

Depending on the zip code of your school, you should be getting around $1,400 per month – that is the amount for schools in the Charleston zip code. Yours should be close to that amount.

The book stipend runs $41.67 per credit per semester. However there is a $1,000 annual cap, but it is enough for a couple of 12-credit semester per academic year.

The real question is where is this money going. The VA is either sending a check to the address on your VA Form 22-1990e or depositing it into the Direct Deposit account based on the information on the same form. Whose information is on your form?

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