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Why Did the VA Change Its Flight Training Policy in Regard to the Post 9/11 GI Bill?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: As far as flight training, I was told from private pilot onward, the VA will only pay $10,000 a year. When I asked a flight school about this today, I was told the VA went back on their word and now they’re saying you must first obtain a Private Pilot’s certification out of your own pocket. If this is true…What a joke if it is. Why are they changing up things and out right lying to us? They told us Private would be covered and now they’ve backed out.

A: The purpose of the GI Bill is to train you for something you can do for a career. Therefore the VA views (and has always viewed) private flying as an avocation (something you do for fun) and not as a vocation (something you do for a job).

So I think your flight school told you what you wanted to hear to get you enrolled and then blamed the VA for changing their policy, when in fact they did not. The $10,000 per year limit you referred to (actually it is $10,970.46 for this academic year) applies to non-degree programs like and ratings and certifications.

However, if you want your Post 9/11 GI Bill to pay more of your flight training costs, then get into an Aviation Degree program that many colleges and universities offer. These are four-year programs, so the VA views them just like they do any four-year degree.

Because they are degree-producing, the VA would pay 100% of the tuition costs if you attend a public school, or up to $19,198.31 per year if you attend a private school. And many of these programs do include getting your private pilot’s license. In addition, you get a monthly housing allowance and a book stipend per semester.

So in my opinion, the party that lied to you was not the VA – I think it was your flight school.

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