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Under the Post 9/11 GI Bill, Can I Start a Semester at One School and Midway Switch to Another School?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: If I started college at a school and the Post 9/11 GI Bill has paid that college for a semester, and decide I want to go to another school, can I transfer right away or wait until that semester is up and then transfer?

A: Technically you should be able to send in a VA Form 22-1995 – Change of Place or Training Program – and everything would be hunky-dory, but I advise against doing it mid-semester. You could be opening yourself up for a lot of headaches. Why?

When you use the Post 9/11 GI Bill, the VA pays your tuition and fees directly to your school at the beginning of the semester. You get a book stipend also at the beginning of a semester, calculated at $41.67 per credit, and a housing allowance monthly based on the number of credits you are taking and the zip code of your school. That is three separate payments.

If you switch mid-semester, it can affect the calculation of your housing allowance and book stipend because both are driven off of the number of credits you take and the housing allowance also off the zip code of your school.

If your new school’s zip code rate is lower or you take less credits, my concern is you could get into an overpayment situation where you owe the VA money and you don’t want that. If you do, the VA would stop your payments until you either pay the overpayment or arrange for payment.

That’s not to even mention the mess it could cause by your school having to refund the VA for tuition for the remaining part of the semester and the VA paying your new school for what is left of the semester.

The bottom line is don’t do it; you may regret it if you do. I can see too many places where things could get really screwed up. Wait until you are almost at the end of the semester and then send in your 22-1995 to make a clean switch for the next semester.

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