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What is the Order of Use for GI Bill Benefits and Scholarships?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I am using my father’s Post 9/11 GI Bill to fill in what my scholarships do not cover in school. I received 21k in scholarships and the tuition is 31k. My school just took an entire semester’s tuition out of the GI Bill and did not use my scholarships. What is the order of use for GI Bill benefits and scholarships?

I also am qualified for the Yellow Ribbon program? I was originally told by the VA coordinator at my school that my scholarships are supposed to be used first, then the Yellow Ribbon program, and that what ever tuition that is left unpaid would be covered by the Post 9/11 GI Bill. I got a bill in the mail the beginning of October and saw the entire mess unfold that I explained above. I am trying to get this settled with my school but they will not give me any straight answers about it.

A: It sounds like your school doesn’t know the rules of order for the Post 9/11 GI Bill. The VA is the last payer, so your school should apply your scholarships first, which would have reduced your tuition bill to $10,000. If you are attending a public school and paying resident tuition, the VA would pick up the rest of the unpaid difference. If you are paying out-state tuition, then the VA would pay what is left up to the resident tuition amount unless your scholarships paid it all.

If you are attending a private school, then the VA would pay the $10,000, but then it would only pay up to $7,000 the next semester as under the new rules, it will only pay up to $17,000 per year for attendance at private schools.

However, this is where the Yellow Ribbon Program would kick in, Your school could pay up to half of the amount left that your scholarships and GI Bill would not pay and the VA would pay an equal amount.

Now would be a good time to get your VA certifying Official at your school involved. S/he almost got the order right in that the person knew the scholarships should have been used first. However, s/he had the GI Bill and Yellow Ribbon Program order reversed.

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