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With the Post 9/11 GI Bill, What Do the In-State Maximums Mean?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I’m confused by the difference between Maximum Charge per Credit Hour and Maximum Total Fees per Term and what each means. I think I’m missing a real “duh” answer here, but I must confess I don’t fully comprehend.

For example Utah has a $63,576.60 max. total fee per term. So does that mean if I go to a school in Utah that is $30,000 a semester I can pay all that through the new GI Bill? And is there a limit to how much the GI Bill pays out? I mean I go to school in Utah that is $30,000 a semester and if I attend said school until I earn my degree that’s $240,000 (hypothetically speaking). The GI Bill covers all that?

A: The Post 9/11 GI Bill maximum charge per credit hour is the maximum amount the VA will pay your school per credit for the credits you are taking each term. The amount is based on the most expensive public school undergraduate program in each state.

For example, Utah’s per-credit maximum is $208.86. If your school charges more per credit, then you have to pay the difference, or use the Yellow Ribbon Program to help pay the difference. If your school charges less than the maximum, the VA will pay what your school charges. You do not get the difference between what they pay and the maximum.

As far as maximum total fees, the VA will pay up to the fees maximum for your state, for mandatory student charges, excluding tuition. If your fees are less than the maximum, the VA will pay the actual costs your school charges.

Some states have several colleges that teach high-fee courses, such a engineering, aviation and medical courses, so they end up with higher fee maximums than other states having a lesser density of high-fee schools. If you are not taking a high-fee course, your fees will be considerably less than the maximum.

Generally speaking, the limit the VA pays is up to 48 months of entitlement, up to the tuition and fees maximum per term established for your state. The Yellow Ribbon Program is the exception as the VA amount exceeds the state maximums. The 48 months is the maximum combined months of entitlement, if you qualify for two or more GI Bills.

What is interesting to note is you can take a course in South Dakota and the VA pays up to a maximum of $93.40 per credit. If you take that same course in Texas, they pay up to $1,471 per credit. Interesting!

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