What Housing Benefits are Available Through the GI Bill?

The GI Bill is a bill introduced after World War II that lets those who served their country seek benefits later, including getting help paying for housing while in college. Many former military personnel have a hard time figuring out how the program can help them or even how to enroll in the program. While you can talk to a representative from the Veterans Affairs office, you can also learn more about this program and how you can use it before heading to the VA office.

Can You Get Money for Living Expenses?

Though introduced in the 1940s, this bill went through a number of changes over the years. The Post 9/11 version is the most recent version of this bill. It allows former military personnel to get money that they can use for all types of living expenses. You may apply for a voucher that covers the cost of textbooks and other supplies that you need from the campus bookstore, funds that help you purchase a new computer or even financial assistance that will help you pay rent on an apartment or for a dorm room on campus.

How Much Can You Get?

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the government bases the amount of money you can get off the amount of time you served and the number of courses you take. The bill generally gives you the same amount of assistance that any E-5 military worker would receive. As long as you take at least half the number of courses needed to enroll as a full-time student, you qualify. A full-time student is someone who takes 12 credit hours every semester. If you take six credit hours, you qualify for half the amount of assistance that a full-time student would get.

How Do You Get Help?

To get your housing benefits through the GI Bill, you must visit the Department of Veterans Affairs office in your city. The representative you meet with will go over the requirements of the bill, show you all the paperwork you need to complete and ensure that you understand the help you will get. That representative may even help you fill out that paperwork to apply. Once the government receives all your paperwork and determines that you are a former active duty member of the military, you’ll learn when you will get your money and how much you will get.

Limits of the Program

The great thing about this bill is that it applies to all types of educational programs. If you attend a program offered through a foreign school, you can get around $1,500 in help. Those who attend online programs may qualify for around $700 to $800 in assistance. Before you sign a new lease or arrange to move into a dorm room though, you should look at the limitations of this bill. The bill does not offer rent or dorm room assistance for those who are on current duty status, those who transfer their assistance to a spouse or those taking fewer than six credit hours of classes.

Paying for college is expensive, especially when you factor in the cost of all your living expenses. If you served in any branch of the armed forces though, you may qualify for some housing benefits and other assistance through the GI Bill.