GI Bill Makes Online School an Option for Veterans

In 1944, the original GI Bill of Rights—also known as the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944—helped veterans readjust to civilian life by enabling millions to attend college, receive job counseling, and get home loans backed by the Veterans Administration. In August of 2009, a new Post-9/11 GI Bill went into effect, and will enhance the quality of life for a new generation of military veterans.

The Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits individuals who served at least 90 days of active duty after September 11, 2001, or who received an honorable discharge for service-related disability after 30 days. It pays for tuition and fees up to the amount of maximum in-state tuition for a public institution, as well as a monthly housing allowance and a stipend for books and supplies. Online schools and non-college training programs may also be eligible for coverage.

Currently, veterans who choose to attend online school exclusively will not receive a housing stipend, but the House Veterans' Affairs Committee anticipates a fix to this and other areas of concern, most likely to be implemented about a year from now. Among other things, the fix proposes a living allowance for GI Bill participants who live too far from a university to take in-person classes. For now, provided at least one of your classes can be considered "in-residence," you may be eligible to receive a housing benefit.

If your goal is to attend online school, you can still benefit from the Post-9/11 GI Bill's other provisions even if you'd rather not wait for the proposed fix to take effect. Approved programs under the GI Bill include both undergraduate and graduate degrees, as well as vocational and technical training, tutorial assistance, and licensing and certification test reimbursement. To find out which programs are approved for GI Bill benefits, visit the GI Bill website at www.gibill.va.gov.