Using Your GI Bill For Graduate School

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Many people do not know that they can use their GI Bill to get a post-graduate degree. Your benefits are paid in the same manner as someone who is attending any other college program. The main difference is in the way your training time is determined. If you are taking undergraduate classes your training time is determined as follows:

  • 0-2 hours - 1/4 time
  • 3-5 hours - less than 1/2 time
  • 6-8 hours - 1/2 time
  • 9-11 hours - 3/4 time
  • 12 hours and above - full-time

For graduate training the VA will pay your benefits based on what the school reports your training time to be. So, if you are taking 3 graduate hours and the school tells the VA that you are considered a full-time student, that is what the VA will pay you.

Graduate Benefits Under the Post-9/11 GI Bill

Tuition and Fees

The Post-9/11 GI Bill can pay your full resident tuition at a public school. If you are attending a private or foreign school it will pay up to $26,381.37 per academic year, this amount increases to $27,120.05 on Aug. 1, 2023. Many schools participate in the "Yellow-Ribbon" program which can waive a portion of the difference in the tuition you are charged and the amount covered by the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Be sure to ask your school if they are planning to participate in the program.

The amount of tuition & fees covered by the GI Bill is determined by your Post-9/11-GI Bill entitlement percentage which is based on the number of months you have served on active duty after Sep.10, 2001. For example, if you have served 24 months active duty after Sep.10, 2001 your GI Bill percentage is 80%. If you are attending a public school as an in-state resident and the tuition is $10,000 a semester you would have 80% of your tuition and fees or $8,000 paid by the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Active duty time can also include Title 10 mobilizations for reservists & guard members.

Housing Allowance

The Post-9/11 GI Bill also pays a Monthly Housing Allowance based on the ZIP code of the location of the school you are attending - not your home ZIP code. This stipend currently averages $1,801 a month, but can exceed $2,700 depending on where you go to school. Students taking 100% of their courses online are eligible for a monthly stipend equal to half of the national average stipend, which is currently $850.75.

Housing allowance payments are based on the amount of creditable active-duty service after Sep. 10, 2001.

For example, if you have 24 months active duty after Sep. 10, 2001 your GI Bill benefit tier percentage is 80%. If you are attending a school which has a Monthly Housing Allowance of $1000/month you would receive 80% of your housing allowance or $800/month.

This stipend is based on the DoD's Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) for an E-5 with dependents. This stipend does not require students to live on campus.

NOTE: Service members currently on active duty, their spouses using transferred benefits and those taking courses on a half-time basis or less do not qualify for Monthly Housing Allowance..

Book and Supply Stipend

You may receive an annual book stipend of up to $1,000/year with the Post-9/11 GI Bill. This stipend will be paid at the beginning of each term. It is paid proportionately based on the number of credits taken by each student at $41 per credit hour.

Graduate School Benefits Under the Montgomery GI Bill

For graduate level training, the training time is determined by the college - for example, if a 2 hour class is considered full time in a graduate program at your school, the VA will pay you the full time rate. 

See the current Active Duty Montgomery GI Bill rates.

Keep Up With Your Education Benefits 

Whether you need a guide on how to use your GI Bill, want to take advantage of tuition assistance and scholarships, or get the lowdown on education benefits available for your family, can help. Subscribe to to have education tips and benefits updates delivered directly to your inbox.

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GI Bill Benefits