The Department of Veterans Affairs has announced increases in the Post 9/11 GI Bill® for August 2017. According to the VA official site, for the Fall 2017 semester and throughout the 2018 academic year, “the maximum annual reimbursement for those attending a private or foreign school increased from $21,970.46 to $22,805.34”.
There is also an increase in the housing allowance specifically targeted at those who participate in online-only training with no classroom attendance. That monthly housing allowance will increase to $840.50 per month, effective August 1, 2017 through July 31, 2018.
The Department of Veterans Affairs official site reminds GI Bill users that while housing allowances may change in January of a given year, the GI Bill housing allowance payouts are not affected until September for college terms beginning on or after August 1.
The GI Bill covers all tuition and fees for in-state students attending public schools. For those attending private colleges or foreign colleges, the Post 9/11 GI Bill covers “up to $22,805.34 per academic year National Maximum” according to the VA official site.
There is also a GI Bill payment option for those who elect to attend non-degree granting colleges or schools. Those who choose this will be covered for “Actual net costs for in-state tuition & fees not to exceed $22,805.34 during the academic year”.
If you are new to using the Post 9/11 GI Bill, it is important to know that for classroom attendance, the housing allowance is calculated based on the zip code of the school you’re attending rather than your physical address. Additionally, if you are taking online-only classes, your housing allowance is calculated at a fixed rate (see above) rather than a by-zipcode method.
For some using the GI Bill, the full amount is not available, but a percentage of it. This applies to those who joined the military on or after 9/10/2001 and served fewer than 36 total months of active duty. The amount of the percentage depends greatly on the number of months served.
For example, those who served 90 days or more, but fewer than six months would be entitled to 40% of the usual GI Bill benefits. On the opposite end of the scale, those who served 30 months but fewer than 36 months would be eligible for 90% of the GI Bill benefit.
Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter for Air Force Television News