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What Are the Rules On the Housing Allowance?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Hello, I am a veteran and use my GI Bill to pay for online college. I am moving and would like to start receiving BAH. I was told that I need to go full-time and take at least one ground campus course. I was also told that both my online class and my ground campus class must end on the same date to receive BAH. I can’t find a school that does this, so I was wondering if I could drop out of my online school after my current class is over and enroll into the college that has ground campus classes. Would my GI Bill cover this next school? If so, what exactly do I need to do to accomplish this?

A: Either what you were told, or what you interpreted from what you were told, isn’t quite correct. First, you don’t have to go to school full-time to get the Post 9/11 GI Bill housing allowance.

You do, however, have to maintain a rate of pursuit of greater-than-half-time. For example, if your school considers full-time to be 12 credits, then you have to take at least 7 credits to get the housing allowance.

What you heard about having to take at least one class on campus per term to get the housing allowance is true. If you take only online classes, you will not get the housing allowance, but one on-campus class per term pertaining to your degree plan qualifies you for the payment.

Also, what you heard about both online and on-campus classes having to start and end at the same time is not true. As I said earlier, you have to maintain a greater-than half-time status to get your housing allowance, so you will only qualify for the period of time when your classes add up to the required number of credits to maintain that status. So if you have a class start later or end earlier than the rest (and that class drops you below the greater-than-half-time rate), then you would not get housing allowance for the period of time you were below the number of credits required – only for the period of time you were at or above the line.

As far as changing schools, yes your Post 9/11 GI Bill would cover that. Just go to the VONAPP website and submit VA Form 22-1995, Change of Program or Place of Training form.

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