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Is It True That I Have to Maintain a 2.5 GPA or the GI Bill Would Not Pay for My Schooling?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: My dad gave his Montgomery GI Bill to me to pay for my school. He told me that I had to maintain a 2.5 GPA or else none of it will be paid for. But I talked to someone from the VA office here on campus and he told me that the GI Bill will pay for all of my classes, even if I fail, and that they’d even pay for me to retake the class, just as long as I went to class. Basically I had to “earn” my F. I guess I really just want to know what exactly the requirements are for me to keep the GI Bill, because without that paying for school, I won’t be able to stay in the university.

A: The last part of your last sentence in your question – “because without that paying for school, I won’t be able to stay in the university.” should be reason enough to do as well as you can. I think your dad knows the rules for grades to keep using your Post 9/11 GI Bill. He may have embellished it just a bit to spur you to do better. Oh, by-the-way, since you are using transferred benefits, you have the Post 9/11 GI Bill and not the Montgomery GI Bill.

What you heard from the VA office is true, your GI Bill will pay for your classes even if you fail and they pay for you to retake them, but only under certain conditions – the part s/he left out.

It gets much more complicated than this, but in general, if you receive a failing grade, you may have to pay benefits back if the reason you failed was within your control, such as out partying and not applying yourself to your coursework.

However, if your reason for failing was not your fault – mitigating circumstances – then you most likely would not have to pay anything back. Mitigating reasons would be like an extended illness that prevented you from attending classes.

The VA can however, terminate paying your GI Bill benefits if you do not show signs of progress, meaning you are failing many classes. They can then resume paying you benefits once again after you have proven the reason for not making progress have been eliminated.

Also, keep in mind that if you have to retake a class, that class is costing you twice the entitlements than if you would have passed the class in the first place, meaning that if you fail too many classes, you won’t have enough benefits to get you to your educational goal.

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