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The Post-9/11 GI Bill®
The Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008 (the “GI Bill®”) expands the educational benefits available to many veterans who served on or after September 11, 2001. This new legislation, effective August 1, 2009, provides financial support for education and housing to individuals with at least 90 days of aggregate service on or after September 11, 2001, or individuals discharged with a service-connected disability after 30 days.
Are you Eligible?
To find out if you are eligible for Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits, please visit the Vets.gov for a Certificate of Eligibility.
Students eligible for Post-9/11 GI Bill® benefits will receive a percentage of the following benefits based on length of service:
- Tuition and fees, payable directly to the school, up to the highest in-state undergraduate tuition and fees up to annual maximum tuition contribution of $25,162.14
- A monthly housing allowance, payable to the student, based on the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) for an E-5 with dependents bases on the zip code where a majority of classes are taken.
- A yearly books and supplies stipend of up to $1000 paid proportionately based on enrollment.
Why do I sometimes receive monthly housing allowance checks in different amounts?
Your monthly housing allowance is paid directly to you at the beginning of each month for the previous month. Possible explanations for varying check amounts include:
- A break pay check (in many cases, you will receive a partial allowance for breaks between terms) Effective August 1, 2011: Break pay is eliminated except for periods where a school is closed due to an Executive Order of the President or due to an emergency situation. These payments are limited to 4 weeks in any 12 month period.
- A partial payment month (at the start and end of the term)
- Rate change between calendar years
- Delay because of re-certification at the start of the term
Here is the formula for calculating what your monthly allowance check should be for any given month:
- Individuals who first use Post-9/11 GI Bill program on or after January 1, 2018 will receive monthly housing allowance based on DoD’s reduced basic housing allowance (BAH) for monthly housing rates= $3,234.
- Those that began using benefits prior to January 1, 2018 will continue to receive a higher monthly housing rate based on the VA rate= $3,326.
- The Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act, also known as the “Forever GI Bill”, was signed into law on August 17, 2017, and brings significant changes to Veterans’ education benefits.
- The law requires the monthly housing allowance (MHA) under the Post-9/11 GI Bill program to be calculated based on the zip code of the campus where the student physically attends the majority of classes, rather than the location of the school where the student is enrolled. This applies to the first enrollment in an educational program on or after August 1, 2018.
- Courses exclusively online (No Classroom Instruction) will receive $916.50 per month.
- *Note: If your “rate of pursuit” of study is equal to or less than 50% (meaning you are a part-time student) or if you are on active duty, you are ineligible for the monthly housing allowance. For most programs, students must be enrolled in at least 7 credits to receive a prorated monthly housing allowance.
Benefits between Academic Terms
If you are enrolled at the same school and the break between terms is less than 8 weeks, you will receive break pay. Breaks are paid automatically by the VA unless the student is ineligible because of active duty status, withdrawal from all courses during the preceding term, or if the student requests no pay for a break.
Summer term break pay operates somewhat differently. If the break between spring and summer or between summer and fall does not exceed 8 weeks and the terms before and after the break are not shorter than the break, then you will receive break pay. If the break between two summer sessions is 30 days or less, you will receive break pay between sessions.
Receiving Your First Check
The most frequent question we receive is, “When is my payment going to arrive?” If you are concerned, first check with us at [email protected] to ensure that your certification has been processed on our end. If it has, call the VA at 888-442-4551 to confirm that they’ve received your certification. If they have not, contact us again and ask that we resubmit your certification.
If they have received your certification, unfortunately there’s not much we can do to expedite the processing and disbursement of funds on the VA end. If you have financial concerns, you should contact your school’s financial aid office for assistance. Central administration cannot address individual student financial issues.
Transfering from Other Schools
You will need to complete and submit a Request for Change of Program or Place of Training, VA Form 22-1995 to the VA. The form can be accessed electronically on the VA website. In addition, please provide your certificate of eligibility to us at [email protected] and complete the Columbia Veterans Request for Certification form.
If you have a question about a specific fee and whether it will be covered, please contact your school's financial aid office.