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Will I Incur Post 9/11 GI Bill Penalties If I Switch Programs and Schools?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Hello Mr. Kness, I have a two-part question. The first one is am I going to incur any penalties if I decided to withdraw from the school that I’m currently enrolled in? Do I have to pay the Housing Stipend that was given to me? I realized that my current school is not the right school that will give me the skill sets that I need in order to pursue my career. The second question is I finally found the right school that I believe will give me the proper skills that will be helpful to me. The problem is that it is not a degree course and it is an online school. Will the updated GI Bill be able to pay for this one? Thank you for your time. (currently using the Post 9-11 Bill)

A: The VA has a policy that you can use one time to drop six credits with no questions asked, so you could invoke that policy for part of your credits. For the rest of your credits, the VA will determine if your circumstances to drop were mitigating or non-mitigating.

If you are dropping just because your school isn’t “right” for you, you may end up paying money back. It would be far easier if you just finished out the semester and then submit a VA Form 22-5495 – Change of Program or Place of Training towards the end of the semester and switch to your new school for the new semester. That way you could make a clean break from one school to the next and not have to worry about paying anything back.

Yes, the Post 9/11 GI Bill will most likely pay for your non-degree online course. Just be sure your new school is VA-approved. Some of your payments will change though. By taking a non-degree course, your book stipend will go from $41.67 per credit to $83 per months. You’re your housing allowance will be reduced to a maximum of $673.50 per month as an online-only student.

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