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Will Accepting Grants or Scholarships Impact My Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I want to enroll in a for-profit institution that offers grants for military members. Will accepting the grants impact my Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits?

A: It could; it depends on if their grants are dedicated toward paying tuition or not. Many people don’t know that the VA is the last payer when it comes to multiple forms of financial aid.

If your grant is “fenced” money that can only be used for tuition, then there will be less or even none left for the VA to pay. However, they still charge you the same entitlement regardless of how little or how much they have to pay. For a semester, they would likely deduct four months of entitlement.

With that said, you’ll still get the same amount in Post 9/11 GI Bill housing allowance and book stipend regardless of what the VA pays toward your tuition. Housing allowance is based on the zip code of your school and the number of credits you take. It is paid at the E-5 with Dependents pay grade. The book stipend calculates at $41.67 per credit per semester; there is a $1,000 per year cap on it, but it is usually enough for a couple of semesters per year.

So if your grant has to be applied toward tuition, in my opinion it is not the best use of your Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits. However, if your grant is given to you to spend as you wish, then it is just extra money in your pocket as that scenario would not have any effect on what the VA Pays toward tuition.

So it comes down to the type of grant as far as if it affects your Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits or not.

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