Editor’s note: This article by Jim Absher originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.
If you're planning on going back to school this fall you may have several questions: will the dorms be open; will classes meet online or in person; how much will your GI Bill payments be? While many of these questions remain unanswered, one thing we do know is how much your GI Bill will pay you.
2020/2021 GI Bill Housing Rates
The Post-9/11 GI Bill pays full tuition and fees at public schools, and also pays most students a Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA) that is equal to the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) for an E-5 with dependents. The amount is determined by the ZIP code of the location where students attend the majority of their classes.
Prior to the COVID-19 epidemic, students attending all their classes online only received ½ the national average BAH as their MHA. That changed, however, last spring when most colleges shut down classroom sessions and moved to all-online courses.
An emergency law passed as a result of this switch to online courses temporarily authorized that students who were affected by their classes moving from in-person to online sessions to be paid as if they were attending classroom sessions, and therefore continue to receive their MHA as originally authorized. This increased MHA is effective through Dec. 21, 2020.
That means that for the upcoming fall term, GI Bill students will continue to get the higher MHA payments as they did last spring, even if their classes are only taught online.
[RELATED AT MILITARY.COM: Your 2020 Basic Allowance for Housing Rates]
Students enrolled in a foreign school will see their MHA increase from $1,789 to $1,833 each month. Those who are enrolled in a totally online degree program or course of education will still only be eligible for ½ the national average BAH which will go from $894.50 to $916.50 on Aug. 1.
[RELATED AT MILITARY.COM: Details on Monthly Housing Allowance payments.]
2020/2021 GI Bill Tuition Payment Amounts
While students using their GI Bill to attend public or foreign schools will have their full tuition paid by the VA, those who are going to private schools have their tuition payments capped at a national maximum amount as dictated by law. For the 2020-2021 school year which runs from Aug. 1, 2020 - July 31, 2020 that amount will be $25,162.14, up from $24,476.79 last year.
Your School Switches From Letter Grades to Pass/Fail
If your school switches their grading system to pass/fail as a result of the current situation, your GI Bill payments will be unaffected.