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Many people believe that once you apply for benefits you have to remain enrolled in school to get the full benefit. Thankfully, that's not true. You can use the GI Bill Entitlement for any period of time. You could take time off and re-apply to use your entitlement again at a later date. You can also use your entitlement as you progress in your educational goals. If you use your benefits wisely, your GI Bill benefits can help you finish your Associates Degree, continue on with your Bachelor's Degree, and later complete your Master's Degree.
Depending on the student’s situation, Chapter 33 benefits can include payment of tuition and fees, a monthly housing allowance, a stipend for books and supplies and possibly college fund “kicker” payments. Each type of payment is issued separately, with some payments made directly to the school and other payments directly to the student.
This depends first of all on the type of benefits that the student is using: In all cases, entitlement refers to the number of months and days that a student can use benefits for - as found on their Certificate of Eligibility. Most students start with 36 months, but it depends on their length of service. The term "months" can often be confusing. The "36 months" of benefits does not mean you have only 36 months to use it, nor does it mean you must use it all in one 36 month period.
For non-Chapter 33: Entitlement is charged based on the dates that the student is enrolled. If the student is enrolled from September 1st – September 30th, they use 30 days of eligibility, regardless of how many credits they are attending.
For Chapter 33: Entitlement is charged based on the rate of pursuit. The (ROP) is calculated by dividing the number of credit hours enrolled, by the number of enrolled credits hours considered to be full-time. The resulting percentage is rounded to the nearest tenth to get the rate of pursuit. (This actually allows student to stretch out their entitlement if they are training part-time).
If the student is enrolled full-time for 30 days, s/he will use 30 days of entitlement.
If the student is enrolled ¾ time for 30 days, s/he will use 24 days of entitlement. (Although ¾ is 75%, you would round up to 80%)
If the student is enrolled 1/2 time for 30 days, s/he will use 15 days of entitlement. (50% rate of pursuit)
Rate of pursuit - Undergraduate Students (Chapter 33):
VA benefits are paid based on training time. In a standard semester, VA measures training time as follows. The Chapter 33 housing allowance is paid if the rate of pursuit is more than 50%.
Undergraduate student enrolled in 9 credits: 9 ÷ 12 credits (full-time measure) = 75%, rounded to the nearest tenth would be 80%
Rate of pursuit - Graduate Students (Chapter 33):
A graduate student enrolled in 6 credits: 6 ÷ 9 (full-time measurement) = 67%, rounded to nearest tenth would be 70%
The housing allowance is paid if the student’s rate of pursuit is more than 50%. The rate of pursuit determines whether a student receives or doesn’t receive the housing allowance. If pursuit is more than 50% the student receives the housing allowance. If the rate of pursuit is 50% or less, then the student doesn’t receive the housing allowance. A monthly housing allowance is paid directly to the student at the beginning of each month, for the previous month. The housing allowance is prorated by the student’s length of service percentage. Active duty personnel receiving Chapter 33 benefits are not eligible for the housing allowance.
The books and supplies stipend is a lump sum payment (paid for each term attended). It is paid directly to the student when the school’s enrollment certification is processed. The book stipend pays $41.67 per credit certified, up to 24 credits for the academic year. The maximum stipend is $1,000 per academic year. Active duty students are not eligible for the book stipend unless they are enrolled in a degree program while on active duty.
In general, the Veteran's Administration will pay the lesser of the net Tuition & Fees or the individual’s annual cap rate for all Chapter 33 Students.