Changes to the Post 9/11 GI Bill Impacting Students

Although fairly comprehensive and greatly improved from the previous Montgomery GI-Bill, the Post-9/11 GI-Bill will be undergoing some changes. Payable on  October 1, 2011, the bill has been expanded to include Active Service performed by National Guard members under title 32 U.S.C. for the purpose of organizing, administering, recruiting, instructing, or training the National Guard; or under section 502(f) for the purpose of responding to a national emergency. Other changes for Active Duty members and their transferees include a limit on the net cost for tuition and fees, prorated based on the eligibility tiers (40%-100%) previously established for Veterans and the creation of a national rate for those active duty members enrolled in a private or foreign school pursuing a degree . The bill pays all public school in-state tuition and fees, with private and foreign school costs capped at $17,500 per academic year (the academic year begins August 1).

For Veterans and their transferees, the changes consist of the following:

  • Simplified tuition and fee rates for those attending a public school with a national maximum for those enrolled in a private or foreign school
    • Pays all public school in-state tuition and fees;
    • Private and foreign school costs are capped at $17,500 annually;
    • The Yellow Ribbon Program still exists for out-of-state fees and costs above the cap.
  • Allows VA to pay MGIB (chapter 30) and MGIB-SR (chapter 1606) ‘kickers’, or college fund payments, on a monthly basis instead of a lump sum at the beginning of the term
  • Prorates housing allowance by the student’s rate of pursuit (rounded to the nearest tenth)
    • A student training at a rate of pursuit of 75% would receive 80% of the BAH rate
  • Break or interval pay is no longer payable under any VA education benefit program unless under an Executive Order of the President or due to an emergency, such as a natural disaster or strike.
    • This means that when your semester ends (e.g. December 15th), your housing allowance is paid for the first 15 days of December only and begins again when your next semester begins (e.g. January 10th) and is paid for the remaining days of January.
    • Students using other VA education programs are included in this change. Monthly benefits will be pro-rated in the same manner.
    • Entitlement that previously would have been used for break pay will be available for use during a future enrollment.
  • Allows reimbursement for more than one “license or certification” test (previously only one test was allowed).
    • However, entitlement is now charged
  • Allows reimbursement of fees paid to take national exams used for admission to an institution of higher learning (e.g., SAT, ACT, GMAT, LSAT)
  • Allows those who are eligible for both Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (chapter 31) benefits and Post-9/11 GI Bill (chapter 33) benefits to choose the Post-9/11 GI Bill’s monthly housing allowance instead of the chapter 31 subsistence allowance.
  • NOAA and PHS personnel are now eligible to transfer their entitlement to eligible dependents

One of the major changes that will be in effect as of  October 1, 2011 allows students to use the Post-9/11 GI Bill for  Non-college degree (NCD) programs offered at non-degree granting schools. Payment will be the actual net costs for in-state tuition and fees or $17,500, whichever is less. There is also payment up to $83 per month for books and supplies. Additional changes include on-the-job and apprenticeship training, paying a monthly benefit amount prorated based on time in program and up to $83 per month for books and supplies; flight programs, which pay the actual net costs for in-state tuition and fees assessed by the school or $10,000, whichever is less; and correspondence training, which pays the actual net costs for in-state tuition and fees assessed by the school or $8,500, whichever is less.

Housing allowance is now payable to students (other than those on active duty) enrolled solely in distance learning. The housing allowance payable is equal to ½ the national average BAH for an E-5 with dependents. The full-time rate for an individual eligible at the 100% eligibility tier would be $673.50 for 2011. It also allows students on active duty to receive a books and supplies stipend.