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VA Is Changing GI Bill Payment Amounts for Some Online Classes

VA Is Changing GI Bill Payment Amounts for Some Online Classes
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This article by Jim Absher originally appeared on Military.com, the premier resource for the military and veteran community. Learn more about GI Bill benefits, and download a member-exclusive GI Bill whitepaper, at MOAA's GI Bill page.

GI Bill students enrolled in courses that combine distance and in-class learning will soon get paid a full housing allowance thanks to a change by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The change impacts "hybrid courses," which the VA defines as any course that combines both classroom training and distance learning, often conducted online.

Effective Aug. 15, hybrid courses are considered residence training for GI Bill purposes, triggering the Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA) to be paid accordingly. Until now, a student enrolled in hybrid classes was eligible for only half the national average MHA, a much lower payout than the full residence rate in almost all cases, unless their class met these stringent requirements:

  1. The course must have had at least one classroom session every two weeks.
  2. The total amount of classroom sessions for a term must have been equal to at least the credit hours multiplied by the weeks in the academic session. For example: A three-credit hour class meeting over a 12-week quarter was required to meet in-classroom for at least 36 hours over the entire quarter.

Effective Aug. 15, however, all GI Bill recipients taking hybrid courses using the Post-9/11 GI Bill are paid the MHA amount for the location where they take the majority of their classroom training.

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In the past, to receive the MHA rate for the location of their training, students would have to be enrolled:
  • Solely in classroom training;
  • In a combination of classroom and online training;
  • In a hybrid course that met the rules above.

Students who aren't enrolled as a greater than half-time student do not receive any housing allowance, no matter what the situation or location. That is not changing.

The change to hybrid class housing payments is not retroactive; it applies only to classes that began on or after Aug. 15, 2019.

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