If you’re a veteran thinking about enrolling in or returning to college, you probably know about the GI bill, the education benefit program run by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Understanding your benefits
But did you know you know that the VA offers other educational benefits programs? The VA website notes that veterans “may be eligible for several types of VA education and training benefits, but there are many things to consider before you apply for a GI Bill program. For most participants, the Post-9/11 GI Bill is the best option. Other students would benefit more from the Montgomery GI Bill.”
Learn more and compare VA education benefits on the VA’s website.
Selecting a school of program
The VA also offers resources to help you select a school or program, determine the cost of your chosen school, and compare it with other schools. You can assess your aptitudes and interests with CareerScope® to choose a career direction, or visit the VA’s school decision resources to learn more.
Once you’ve identified schools or programs that you’re interested in, take the time to do your research. Here are some questions to ask if you contact or visit a college or university:
- Can I transfer credits from my military training or from other schools? Ask any schools you are considering whether they will recognize your past coursework or training and/or accept your transferred credit.
- How much will it cost and what benefits can I receive? Once you have chosen a program of study you can use the GI Bill Comparison Tool to compare Tuition and Fees, Housing Allowance, and Book Stipend rates between schools.
- Is there a central point of contact for veterans? Hands-on, in-person assistance with navigating the educational process makes the academic journey much more manageable. Check to see if the school you are considering has a Veterans Certifying Official.
- Are there campus services? Look for access to mental health and medical support, disability services, academic accommodations, and career services.
- Is there a strong veterans’ voice? You may feel most comfortable, and get the most support, at a school with a strong veterans’ student group, such as a Student Veterans of America organization.
- Is there a space for veterans’ gatherings? A designated location for student veterans offers a dependable and supportive environment where trust, and camaraderie can be found and fostered in an academic environment.
If you’re already enrolled in school under the Post-9/11 GI Bill, you can check out your estimated monthly housing allowance using the GI Bill Comparison Tool. Note that on August 1, 2018, the VA began calculating monthly housing payments using the zip code of the campus you physically attend for most of your classes, which may be different than the actual school location.