If you are a veteran, the Post-9/11 GI Bill can help you pay some or all of the costs of higher education. Those who served on active duty on or after September 11, 2001 may receive tuition assistance, a housing allowance, and an allowance for books and supplies. There are some limits to what’s covered, but you have options if the benefits don’t cover your entire tab. Here is what you need to know.
How much does the GI Bill give you for college?
The exact amount you receive through the GI Bill depends on whether you attend a public or private school, how long you have served, and how many credits or hours of training you take. Under the Post-9/11 GI Bill, veterans who have served at least 36 months of active service are eligible for the full benefit. However, you can still receive a percentage of the full benefit if you have served less than 36 months.
The maximum benefit covers the full cost of tuition and fees at state public schools or up to $ 26,043 per academic year at a private or foreign institution. Students also receive up to $ 1,000 per year for books and supplies, a housing allowance based on the cost of living in the area, and a potential one-time payment of $ 500 to cover moving expenses.
What does the GI Bill cover?
The Post-9/11 GI Bill covers many tuition fees, including:
- Tuition and fees: The US Department of Veterans Affairs will pay full tuition and fees at a public college, but it caps benefits if you attend a private institution.
- Money for housing: Pupils who attend more than part-time receive a housing allowance at the end of each month. The amount is based on the cost of living where the school is located.
- Books and supplies: GI Bill recipients also receive up to $ 1,000 at the start of each school term to pay for textbooks and supplies.
- Moving expenses : Students who must leave a rural area to attend university may be eligible for a one-time payment of $ 500 to cover moving costs.
What does the GI Bill not cover?
The Post-9/11 GI Bill may not cover all of your higher education expenses in some cases. Here are some examples of what it won’t cover:
- The total cost of the private or foreign school: Tuition assistance is capped at a national maximum of $ 26,043 per academic year in private and foreign institutions. The VA updates the limit every year.
- The total cost of an education in some cases: If you served less than 36 months, you will receive a percentage of maximum benefit. For example, if you served between 90 and 180 days, you will be entitled to 50 percent of the post-September 11 GI Bill benefits.
- Additional education: The Post-9/11 GI Bill covers up to 36 months of university or professional training. If you need more time because you changed schools, changed programs of study, or obtained a graduate degree, then you will need to cover the costs.
- Closure of the college: Your benefits will not reset if your school closes or if the VA no longer approves the school.
How long does the GI Bill last?
Under the Post-9/11 GI Bill, if you have served at least 36 months of active service, you are entitled to coverage for up to 36 months of college or vocational training. The 36 months of coursework or training will not have to be consecutive, but if your service ended before January 1, 2013, you will need to use all of your benefits within 15 years of separation. There is no deadline if your service ended on or after January 1, 2013.
How to pay for college after the benefits of your GI bill run out
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to using the GI Bill, so you should research your options and how to maximize your benefits. Start by speaking with a VA advisor, which can provide free educational and vocational guidance. They’ll also know where to turn when your GI Bill benefits are exhausted. Other options may include federal and state financial aid, scholarships, or student loans.
Federal financial assistance
It is a good idea to complete the Free Federal Student Aid Application (FAFSA) before each school year. The federal government and colleges use the information on this form to offer federal grants, scholarships, work-study opportunities, and student loans. GI benefits will not count as income on the FAFSA, which may help you qualify for federal financial assistance. You can use the extra dollars to cover financial gaps if the GI Bill does not pay your full participation fee.
Veterans Affairs Yellow Ribbon Program
The Yellow Ribbon Program can help close the gap between the benefits of the post 9/11 GI Bill and out-of-state tuition, graduate school tuition, or costs at private institutions. You will need to qualify for the Post-9/11 GI Bill at the maximum benefit level to be eligible, and your school will need to participate in the program, although it may cap the number of students who can receive the benefit each year. or the maximum amount foreseen per student.
Several states offer additional tuition and education benefits for veterans. For example, Massachusetts and Montana waive tuition fees for all veterans who meet the eligibility requirements. Head toward the VA office in your state for more details. You can usually find education and training information in the benefits section, or you can call the office for assistance.
There are many private scholarships designed for veterans and children of veterans. You can find them using scholarship search engines, which allow you to tailor your search to suit your needs. Grants are often merit-based and do not need to be repaid.
If GI Bill’s benefits and grants and scholarships don’t cover all of your tuition, consider taking out a student loan. You’ll have a choice of federal student loans, funded by the US Department of Education, or private student loans, which you can get from banks or online lenders. Federal loans tend to come with lower interest rates, more protections for borrowers, and more forgiveness options, so pursue them first. Your FAFSA form will determine if you qualify for federal student loans and how much you can borrow. If you need to take out a private student loan, compare the loan terms between several lenders before making a decision.