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Tuition and Fee and Housing Allowance Refinements to the new GI Bill
The Post 9/11 GI Bill was welcomed by veterans and political leaders as a much needed update to what was essentially a “peace time” oriented Montgomery GI Bill. A key element of the bill was the coverage of a complete undergraduate education up to the top in state public tuition and fee rates. In addition, the bill provided the Yellow Ribbon provision, which allowed military focused schools which had tuition above the cap to participate in voluntary program which could offset or eliminate costs to the veteran.
Another welcome addition was the provision of a housing allowance based on an E5 with dependents. Combined, these elements have greatly expanded educational opportunity for veterans and the bill has received wide acceptance and praise; however a series of adjustments were recently approved to further enhance or simply the benefits. I’ve outlined two of these below.
The calculation of benefits to be used at a private or foreign school is no longer based on the top public school tuition and fee rates. This eliminates the vastly different benefit rates a veteran might be eligible for based on the location of their school.
For example; under the original rules, students attending schools in the District of Columbia would be eligible for up to $265.83 per credit and per term fees of $310. Compare this to students in Texas who would be eligible for up to $1,549 per credit in tuition and $12,130 per term in fees. In extreme circumstances this could have provided $34,379 for the D.C. student vs. $282,920 to the Texas student for a bachelor’s degree.
Under the new simplified rules, eligible students still get 100% of tuition and fees for all in state public schools. The change is that a student attending private or foreign schools now have a standardized annual cap of $17,500 for combined tuition and fees; $70,000 over a four year degree. Private schools with tuition and fees above this amount may still participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program to cover some or all of the remaining costs.
For Kaplan University, our military undergraduate tuition rates are under these limits.
The Basic Housing Allowance for Online Students
Under the original Post 9/11 GI Bill, fully online programs were not eligible for the Basic Housing Allowance. This received a great deal of attention, which isn’t a surprise, as the DoD reports that 70% of active duty class enrollments are into distance learning courses. Beginning in October, eligible online students would be entitled to 50% of the Basic Housing Allowance benefit. The BHA is based on the rate for an E5 with dependents. Currently this would provide online students with approximately $673.50 per month. It’s not the full housing allowance many veterans who have chosen to attend online school’s had hoped for, however, it certainly is a welcomed added benefit.
These are just a couple of the changes currently being phased in over the coming months. To learn of others, click here to an outline of all changes provided by the VA.http://www.gibill.va.gov/benefits/post_911_gibill/Post911_changes.html
The information provided above may not apply to you and is provided for informational purposes. There are many factors that determine your eligibility, if any, for these or other benefits. Please contact the VA to determine for your specific benefits. http://www.gibill.va.gov/
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