College can be expensive, especially for a veteran returning to school later in life. They might have family, housing and many other financial obligations to worry about. Thankfully, veterans also have a number of VA educational benefits they can take advantage of, including housing stipends based on Basic Allowance for Housing levels.
Covering College Housing Costs
Basic Allowance for Housing, or BAH, has long been an important benefit for service members and their families. This monthly housing allowance helps cover housing expenses like rent and mortgage payment.
Under the Post-9/11 GI Bill, Eligible veterans and other service members can obtain a monthly housing allowance based on the location of their school. At present, the stipend averages about $1,200 per month but approaches almost $3,000 in some of the nation’s costlier corners. It’s important to remember that the stipend is based on school’s ZIP code and not the service member’s home ZIP code.
Veterans do not have to live on campus in order to utilize this monthly housing benefit.
Housing Stipend Eligibility
Active-duty service members and veterans who aren’t full-time students aren’t eligible for the housing stipend. The benefit also does not apply to veterans who are taking all of their courses online or in some distance format.
To qualify for these benefits, a veteran must have served at least 90 days in the service on or after Sept. 11, 2001. A veteran can also be eligible if he or she was honorably discharged due to a disability after 30 days of the start of duty.
These monthly housing payments only apply to training at higher learning institutions. Online programs do not qualify unless the student is also enrolled in physical courses as well. The benefits cover about 36 months of study.
To sign up for the Post-9/11 GI Bill, submit an application to the Department of Veteran Affairs. The VA will review the application and issue the applying veteran a Certificate of Eligibility.