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Education Benefits: Monthly Housing Allowance

Soldier student in a dorm.

Your Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA) is generally the same as the military Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) for an E-5 with dependents. Your MHA is based on the ZIP code for your school. MHA rate increases based on BAH increases are effective August 1 (the beginning date of the academic year).

MHA Rate Expectations

Type of School MHA Rate
Foreign School $1,611.00
Schools in US Territories E-5 with dependents OHA Rate for school location
Exclusively Online Training (No Classroom Instruction) $805.50
Attending classes at ½ time or less NOT PAYABLE
Active Duty Trainee (or transferee spouse of servicemember) NOT PAYABLE

There are some exceptions to MHA. To determine your MHA for most circumstances, click here.

GI Bill Monthly Housing Allowance FAQ

When Will I Receive An Increase Or Decrease In My MHA Based On BAH Changes?

As you may know, the Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA) payments you receive for the Post-9/11 GI Bill are based on the military's Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) rates for an E-5 with dependents. The Department of Defense adjusts the military BAH rate every calendar year (or January 1) based on changes to housing costs across the country. Rates can either go up or down.

Public Law 111-377 (the Veterans Educational Assistance Improvement Act of 2010) amended the effective date for the adjustment of the MHA you receive under the Post-9/11 GI Bill from the beginning of the calendar year (January 1) to the beginning of the academic year (August 1).

If the BAH increased for your area, you will not see an increase until your September payment for August training. If the BAH decreases for your area, your MHA amount will not decrease unless you change schools or have more than a six-month break in training.

Do I Get Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA) While Enrolled In Distance Learning?

The effective MHA rate for those enrolled solely in distance learning is $805.50 a month.  This amount is 1/2 the national average BAH rate.

My Check Is Less Than The Amount I Was Told The Monthly Rate Would Be. Why Did That Happen?

The most common reason a check may be less than the monthly rate is that checks are prorated based on the number of days in the month for which you are enrolled.

For example: Your full time rate is $800.00; however your term starts on August 19th and continues through December 14th. Payment for the month of August would include the 19th to the end of the month. (All months are based on 30 days, so months with more or less than 30 days would not affect the rate). Thus your payment for the month of August would be approximately $320.00. Payments for September, October, and November would be $800.00 each month and payment for December would be approximately $373.36 (prorated from the 1st to the 14th).

Here are other reasons your check might be short:

  • An overpayment was deducted from your payment
  • You reduced your training time after your original enrollment
 
GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at www.benefits.va.gov/gibill
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