FAQs for GI Bill

FAQ: Post-9/11 GI Bill®

The Post-9/11 GI Bill® outlining education benefits for service members became effective Aug. 1, 2009, and was updated with the Post-9/11 Veterans Education Assistance Improvements Act of 2010. Here are answers to some Frequently Asked Questions about the benefits.

Q: What does the Post-9-11 GI Bill cover?
A: Approved training under the Post-9/11 GI Bill includes graduate and undergraduate degrees, vocational/technical training, on-the-job training, flight training, correspondence training, licensing and national testing programs, entrepreneurship training, and tutorial assistance. All training programs must be approved for GI Bill benefits.

Q: How much money will I get under the new GI Bill?
A: At California University of Pennsylvania, your benefits may cover the cost of in-state tuition and fees. Payment is made directly to the University. Your payment and tuition amounts may vary depending on the amount of active duty served. Please see the breakdown below. 

  • For students who study on campus, the monthly housing allowance is equal to the basic allowance for housing (BAH) amount payable to an E-5 with dependents in the same ZIP code as the school. (Cal U's ZIP code is 15419.) For main campus or Southpointe students only, this is $1,704 per month, based on 100% eligibility for Post-9/11 benefits and full-time enrollment (12 or more credits per semester).
  • For Cal U Global Online students, the housing allowance is equal to one-half the national average BAH for an E-5 with dependents. Learn more about the basic housing allowance.
  • The annual books-and-supplies stipend of up to $1,000 is paid proportionately, based on the number of credits for which the student is enrolled.
  • A one-time rural benefit payment is available for eligible individuals.

NOTE: Housing allowance and the books-and-supplies stipend are not payable to individuals on active duty. Housing allowance is not payable to students pursuing training at half-time or less.

        Active Duty Completed

Percentage of Maximum Benefit Payable

         At least 36 months

       100%

         At least 30 continuous days (must be discharged due to service-connected disability)

       100%

         30 - 36 months

       90%

         24 - 30 months

       80%

         18 - 24 months

       70%

         12 - 18 months

       60%

          6 - 12 months

       50%

         90 days - 6 months

       40%

 

Q: I tried to log in to the WAVE system, but it says I don't have a record on file. Why does this happen?
A:  WAVE contains information on veterans and service members who are actively receiving benefits under the Montgomery GI Bill® - Active Duty and Selected Reserve ONLY. The most common reasons for not having a WAVE record are:

  • Your application for benefits has not yet been processed by the VA.
  • You are receiving Tuition Assistance Top-Up.
  • You do not need a monthly verification of enrollment for any reason.
  • You are receiving benefits under REAP.
  • Your award was made in the past. WAVE records will generally be removed about six months after your award.

The most common reason for not having a record in WAVE is that your application has not yet been processed. This can take six to eight weeks during busy times (for example, at the start of each semester). You typically will have a WAVE record the day after your application is processed, with no action needed on your part. Then you can verify your enrollment and receive payment normally.

If the reasons above have not explained why you do not have a WAVE record, or if you are still unable to access WAVE after six weeks, contact VA to determine the problem using the "Ask a Question" tab (in the Questions and Answers section of the website) or by calling 1-888-GIBILL-1 (1-888-442-4551).

Q: Can I transfer my education benefits to a spouse or dependent?
A: You may be able to transfer these benefits to an eligible spouse or dependent. Learn more here. [LINK to http://benefits.va.gov/gibill/#Transfer%20of%20Benefits]

Please note that the Post-9/11 GI Bill does NOT currently allow those who retired before August 2009 to transfer their unused education benefits.

Q: What happens to the $1,200 buy-in for Chapter 30 (MGIB)?
A: Individuals who entered active duty after June 30, 1985, OR who served a combination of at least two years of active duty service and four years of selected service after June 30, 1985, may qualify to receive a refund of the $1,200 deduction for the MGIB (Chapter 30) under the Post-9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33).

Individuals must have made an irrevocable election to use Chapter 33 by relinquishing benefits under Chapter 30 and had entitlement remaining as of the date of relinquishment of Chapter 30.

  • Only individuals who actually made the contributions may receive the refund.
  • Individuals must be receiving a housing allowance at the time entitlement exhausts to receive the refund.
  • Individuals receiving transferred benefits are not entitled to the Chapter 30 refund.

The amount of the refund will be equal to the number of months and days the individual had remaining under Chapter 30, divided by 36 months and multiplied by $1,200.

For example, if an individual has 20 months and 15 days of entitlement remaining under Chapter 30 prior to relinquishing the benefit in lieu of Chapter 33, then the individual would receive $683.33 as a refund. (The calculation is 20.5 divided by 36, multiplied by $1,200. We converted the days of entitlement remaining into a decimal by dividing the number of days remaining into 30 days.)

Q: What happens if I am less than honorably discharged?
A: To qualify for Post-9/11 GI Bill education benefits, a veteran must have received an honorable discharge or been discharged due to a service-connected disability.

A veteran who did not receive an honorable or medical discharge still may qualify for benefits if he/she can prove that a physical or mental condition not already characterized as a disability and not a result of the veteran's own misconduct interfered with the performance of his/her duty.

A veteran may petition the Secretary of his/her military branch to approve a hardship waiver, or a veteran may apply to have his/her discharge upgraded, usually after six months. Contact your local Veterans Service Organization (VSO) for more information.

Q: I am a part-time student. How do my benefits change?
A: The Post-9/11 GI Bill pays generous benefits for part-time students.

Tuition payments are based on the number of credits for which a veteran is enrolled per academic term. Fee payments are the same regardless of the veteran's level of enrollment.

A living allowance is paid to students who are enrolled more than half time. A student enrolled one unit above exactly half time will qualify for the full living allowance (e.g., if full time is 12 units, half time is exactly six units. A veteran would need just seven units to qualify for a living allowance). The current BAH rate for Cal U is $1,704 per month, based on 100% eligibility of Post-9/11 benefit and full-time enrollment (12 or more credits per semester).

The books-and-supplies stipend will be $41.67 for every credit enrolled, but no more than $1,000 per academic year. For example, a student enrolled in 12 units will receive $500 for that academic term.

Q: What happens if I drop a class or all of my classes?
A: If a student drops one or more courses or withdraws from school, VA will immediately stop paying education benefits for those classes and the student may be billed for the education benefits he/she already has been paid for that term. To minimize overpayments, students are strongly encouraged to notify the VA of a withdrawal immediately.

The VA will bill a student in this situation, unless circumstances beyond the student's control prevented the student from continuing in school or caused the student to reduce credits.

These mitigating circumstances are presumed to exist the first time a student drops six or fewer credits. After the first drop, a veteran must prove to the VA that mitigating circumstances were the cause of the drop/withdrawal.

Examples of mitigating circumstances include:

  • Mental or physical illness or injury afflicting the student during the enrollment period.
  • Illness or death in the student's immediate family.
  • Unavoidable change in the student's conditions of employment, including unavoidable geographical transfer.
  • Immediate family or financial obligations beyond the control of the student that require him/her to leave school to obtain employment.
  • Discontinuance of the course by the school.
  • Unanticipated active military service, including active duty for training.
  • Unanticipated difficulties with childcare arrangements the student has made for the period during which he/ she is attending classes.

If the VA rules that mitigating circumstances do not exist, the student will be charged for any education benefits he/she received for that academic term, including tuition/fees, living allowance and books-and-supplies stipend. 

Q: If I plan on changing schools, what do I need to do?
A: If you change schools after starting to use the GI Bill, complete and submit a "Request for Change of Program or Place of Training," VA Form 22-1995, through the VA's online benefits program, called VONAPP. If you are using the DEA (Chapter 35) benefit, you'll need to submit a VA Form 22-5495.

Q: Is my school a VA-approved school?
A: Since 2010, all of California University of Pennsylvania's academic programs are approved through the SAA and the VA. Contact the Office of Military and Veterans Affairs for more information.

The VA keeps an updated list of approved education programs called the WEAMS list. [LINK to http://inquiry.vba.va.gov/weamspub/buildSearchInstitutionCriteria.do ] When you visit the site, broaden the Program Type to "all types," but remember that only institutions of higher learning are eligible for Post-9/11 GI Bill-type benefits.

Q:  Do I have to call the VA every month to verify my enrollment, like I did under the old GI Bill?
A: The VA does not have a system for verifying enrollment with the Post-9/11 GI Bill, so there is no need to worry that you missed your WAVE call with the new GI Bill.

Q: My school has signed on to the Principles of Excellence and I would like to file a complaint. How do I do so?
A: You may submit a complaint if your school or employer is failing to follow the Principles of Excellence.  The VA will review complaints about:

  1. Recruiting/marketing practices.
  2. Accreditation.
  3. Financial issues.
  4. Student loans.
  5. Post-graduation job opportunities.
  6. Change in degree plan/requirements.
  7. Quality of education.
  8. Grade policy.
  9. Release of transcripts.
  10. Transfer of credits.
  11. Refund issues.
  12. Other complaints.

Learn more

For more information, please visit the Department of Veterans Affairs website here: http://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/feedback.asp

For questions specific to California University of Pennsylvania, contact the Office of Military and Veterans Affairs at veterans@calu.edu