This question I get asked a lot when talking to veterans thinking about going to school on the Post 9/11 GI Bill. And it is a great question because it does vary considerably depending on several factors, such things as:
- Tier Level
- Resident vs. Non-Resident Status
- Yellow Ribbon Program
Your tier level depends on how much eligible time you acquired while serving. Minimum coverage of 40% starts with as little as 90 days of service on a Title 10 order after September 10, 2001; three years of eligible service after that same date gets you to the 100% tier. But that can be misleading if you are at 100% tier and think that all of your tuition would be paid. In some situations that line of thinking is flawed.
Resident Vs. Non-Resident Status
Under the current law, the Post 9/11 GI Bill can pay tuition and eligible fees up to the resident undergraduate rate at a public school or up to $19,198.31 per year at a private school. So if you are a non-resident or going to graduate school, you would have some tuition left to pay, as non-resident and graduate tuition rates are considerably higher than resident undergraduate rates.
However, there is legislation in Congress right now that if passed, would level the playing field; it would require schools to charge veterans going to school under the GI Bill resident rates regardless of their residency status, if the school wanted to continue receiving money from the VA. This legislation does have a lot of support in both the House and Congress, so it stands a good chance of passing.
Yellow Ribbon Program
As a feature of the Post 9/11 GI Bill, the Yellow Ribbon program can be a big help financially for students attending a private school, graduate school or currently paying non-resident tuition rates.
Under this part of the Post 9/11 GI Bill, a participating school can pay up to 50% of the difference between what they charge and what the GI Bill pays; the VA pays an equal amount. This leaves nothing for you to pay out-of pocket.
Of course, if your school has a lesser percentage than 50% in their Yellow Ribbon Agreement with the VA, then you could be left with a small amount left to pay out-of-pocket.
If you are thinking about enrolling in a graduate program at a Yellow Ribbon School, be sure to ask if your major covered? If not, the Yellow Ribbon Program would not help you.
By doing your homework before selecting a school , you can maximize your GI Bill benefits and keep your out-of-pocket costs to a minimum. Shopping around for a school pays!
Photo courtesy Teemu008