Using Your GI Bill For Graduate School

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While using your GI Bill to get a post-graduate degree, your benefits are paid in the same manner as someone who attends any other college program. The main difference is in the way your training time is determined. If you take 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, on the other hand, the Department of Veterans Affairs will pay your benefits based on what the school reports your training time to be. So, if you take 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 attend a private or foreign school, it will pay up to to $27,120.05. This amount increases to $28,937.09 on Aug. 1, 2024. 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 it plans to participate in the program.

The amount of tuition and 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 since Sept.11, 2001. For example, if you have served 24 months on active duty sine Sept. 11, 2001, your GI Bill percentage is 80%. If you attend 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 reserve and National 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 attend -- not your home ZIP code. This stipend currently averages $2,109 a month ($2,355.00 in 2024-2025) but can exceed $3,000 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. Half is currently $967.40. It goes up to $1,177.50 in 2024-2025.

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

For example, if you've served 24 months on active duty since Sep. 10, 2001, your GI Bill benefit tier percentage is 80%. If you attend a school with a monthly housing allowance of $1,000 a month, you 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 the monthly housing allowance.

Book and Supply Stipend

You may receive an annual book stipend of up to $1,000 a 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.

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 

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GI Bill Benefits