What You Should Know About The Post-9/11 GI Bill
May 23, 2012 by Joel Laos | 2 Comments
The Post-9/11 GI Bill is an amazing program that far surpasses anything like it in the history of veterans educational benefits. There are some aspects of the program students may not be aware of that can make it an even better program than initially expected. This article includes details of the program that were communicated to Denver Seminary directly from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Tuition & Fees Coverage:
Based on Denver Seminary's current tuition rates your tuition and fees are covered 100% (assuming you are vetted at the 100% level) for degree-seeking students. Effective August 1, 2011 all private schools are subject to an annual cap of $17,500 (covers a maximum of 37 credits per academic year, at 2011-12 tuition rates). Effective October 1, 2011 this program also becomes available to non-degree students.
- Denver Seminary does not currently participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program, because our tuition rates are less than the VA's $17,500 cap if the student takes no more than 37 credits per academic year.
Each institution is required to report the net amount of tuition and fees to the VA each semester. Therefore if a GI Bill recipient is also receiving any institutional aid (scholarships, grants, discounts, etc.) the amount of tuition and fees reported will be the difference between the actual amount charged and the amount of institutional aid awarded to the student.
Rate of Pursuit:
If you have 36 months of eligibility, you are not necessarily limited to finish your education in 36 months.
- If you are enrolled in a 4-month semester as full-time (which is a minimum of 9 credits at Denver Seminary), you would use up 4 months of your entitlement (in other words, taking classes for 1 academic year may not use up 1 year of your entitlement.....2 semesters only use up about 8 months since they are about 4 months each).
- If you are enrolled in a 4-month semester as less-than-full-time, you only use up your entitlement based on the percentage of full-time you are enrolled in. For example, if you are enrolled in 5 credits per semester you are at a 55% rate of pursuit (since 5 credits is 55% of our 9 credit full-time status).
- If you are registered for more than the full-time minimum, you do not use your entitlement at more than a 100% rate of pursuit. For example, even though 12 credits is 133% of our 9 credit full-time status, you do not use your entitlement at a 133% rate of pursuit. If you are registered for more than 9 credits during a semester you still are at a 100% rate of pursuit.
- Note: Definitiions for enrollment status (i.e. full-time, half-time, etc.) do not change for the summer semester. Full-time is still 9 total credits and half-time is still 5 total credits.
Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH):
The monthly housing allowance benefits are prorated based upon rate of pursuit, rounded to the nearest multiple of 10 (effective August 1, 2011).
Example: If you are registered for 7 credits your rate of pursuit is 77% (full-time is 9 credits) and you will receive 80% of the applicable BAH rate
Effective October 1, 2011, the BAH will be payable to students (other than those on active duty) enrolled solely in distance learning, at one-half the national average BAH for an E-5 with dependents.
Please see the "Break Pay" section below for how the BAH is handled over breaks and intervals.
Active duty service members (including spouses) are not eligible for the BAH.
The VA will pay an annual book stipend of $1,000, paid proportionately based on enrollment. Students must be taking at least 5 credits per semester to be eligible.
Effective October 1, 2011, the book stipend can be paid to students on active duty.
Effective August 1, 2011 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 situation such as a natural disaster or strike.
Example: Your semester ends December 15th. Your housing allowance is paid for the first 15 days of December only. Your next semester begins January 10th. Your payment for January, received in February, will be for January 10th and the rest of January.
Entitlement that previously would have been used for break pay will be available for use during a future enrollment.
The VA will only pay fees that are directly associated with tuition (any fee that is directly charged to your student account). Therefore the program will not cover additional associated expenses such as trip costs (airfare, lodging, etc.) for off-campus courses (e.g. the annual Israel trip).
Dropped Classes / Overpayments:
If you drop any classes after the VA sends payments (even if it is during the drop period), the VA defines the tuition difference as an overpayment and bills the student directly for the amount.
- During this time the VA will stop BAH and book stipend payments, and may even withhold other associated benefits (if applicable) to recover the overpayment. If this happens the school can refund the overpayment directly to the student so that he/she can pay it back to the VA, however it is the student's responsibility to request this refund directly from the .
Tuition and fees payments are sent directly to the school and applied to your account. Book stipends and the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) are sent directly to the student. Therefore once a student is set-up to receive this benefit through Denver Seminary's Financial Aid Office, he/she will be financially cleared to begin classes.
Individuals utilizing benefits while on active duty will be subject to the same benefit level determinations as veterans, based upon the amount of aggregate active duty service accrued (effective March 5, 2011).
Effective August 1, 2011, individuals who are also eligible for Vocational Rehabilitation benefits are allowed to choose the Post-9/11 GI Bill's monthly housing allowance instead of the subsistence allowance.
Changes/updates to this program are published at http://gibill.va.gov/benefits/post_911_gibill/Post911_changes.html.
Activating Your Benefit:
- Apply online and/or verify your eligibility at www.gibill.va.gov
- After you have enrolled in school, send a copy (scan/email or fax is acceptable) of your Certificate of Eligibility letter to the Denver Seminary Financial Aid Office. The School Certifying Official (SCO) will electronically certify your enrollment with the VA and update that certification every 2 weeks with any registration changes.
For additional information please visit www.gibill.va.gov or text "GIBill" to 99702.
Thank you for your service!