Does the GI Bill Restrict the Subjects I can Study?

The GI Bill is a government act that provides veterans with more opportunities for the future. Originally introduced as a way to support veterans who served in World War II, the bill also provides support for soldiers who enlisted in more recent years. The entitlement you get, which refers to the total amount of financial benefits you receive, depends both on which service you enlisted and the number of years you were in service. Though the bill allows you to study many different topics, it does have some restrictions on what you can study.

What is the Bill?

Original called the Serviceman’s Readjustment Act, the bill went into effect in 1942. The law covered a number of different topics. It allowed veterans to seek out low cost home loans, obtain business loans and get funding to pay for college or vocational training. The program also allows veterans to add funds to the entitlement they receive. Every time they add a dollar to the entitlement, the government will add an extra $8. You can use your entitlement for a period of 10 years after retiring or leaving the military, and you may apply for an extension of your benefits, too.

Who Qualifies for the Bill?

This bill is available to anyone who enlisted in the military. The Post 9/11 version of the bill is open to anyone who became an active duty member of the military following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2011. You must show that you were on active duty for at least one month or longer after enlisting to take advantage of your entitlement. The bill is also open to the spouses and dependents of service men and women who died in action or suffered injuries while enlisted in a branch of the military.

What Does It Cover?

The bill covers most of the educational expenses that you face as a student. You can use your entitlement to pay for vocational school, community college or any other accredited college or university, including some schools located in foreign countries. Students can also draw money from their funds to pay for their housing and textbooks. This bill allows veterans to get as much as $21,000 or more to pay for private college, and the bill will cover the total cost of fees and tuition associated with attending a public or state school.

Course Restrictions

While you can use the GI Bill to pay for almost any type of school, there are limits on the classes you can take. According to the United States Department of Veteran Affairs, you cannot use the money to pay for classes in bartending school, self-improvement classes, radio courses or independent study courses that do not earn you course credit. You will also not receive any money to use towards classes that you audit. If you are part of a military tuition assistance program, you will not have the option of using the bill to pay for your educational expenses either.

Whether you spent four years in the army before leaving or you spent more than a decade as a marine, the government provides you with assistance that you can use towards earning a college degree. The GI Bill can help you pay for tuition, textbooks and even housing, but the bill restricts some of the classes you may take.