Often

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Dear GI Bill Student,

Schools across the country are in the process of or have already moved from in-person courses to online courses in the interest of public health due to COVID-19 concerns. For GI Bill students, this change in training modality raises questions and concerns about the impact to their GI Bill benefits and importantly, housing allowances.

What is the impact, if any, to GI Bill recipients when their schools are either closed or has directed their students to take classes online as a result of precautions taken due to COVID-19?

The answer will depend on the type of action taken by the school, the timing of the action, and the current program approval.

  • If a school temporarily closes due to an established policy based on an Executive order of the President or due to an emergency situation, VA may continue benefit payments (including the Monthly Housing Allowance under the Post-9/11 GI Bill) for up to 4 weeks during a 12-month period. This authority, and limitation, are codified in statute (38 U.S.C. § 3680(a)(2)(A).
  • If the school remains open (virtually, rather than physically), and students are transitioned to pursuit solely through online classes, then benefit payments will be impacted as follows:
    • If the switch from training in-residence to online classes occurs during the term, and the program has been approved by the State Approving Agency for delivery through an online modality, then benefit payments (including the Monthly Housing Allowance under the Post-9/11 GI Bill) will remain unchanged for the remainder of that term.
    • However, for any subsequent terms pursued solely online, the Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA) under the Post-9/11 GI Bill will be reduced to one-half of the national average of DoD’s Basic Allowance for Housing rates for an E-5 with dependents. The limitations on MHA rates are codified in statute (38 U.S.C. § 3313(c)(1)(B)(iii).
    • Lastly, if the program has not been approved by the State Approving Agency for delivery through an online modality, benefit payments will completely stop (including the Monthly Housing Allowance under the Post-9/11 GI Bill) when students begin training online.
If you have questions about your specific circumstance, please contact the Education Call Center at: 1-888-442-4551 between 8 AM and 7 PM Eastern Time, Monday-Friday.



Respectfully,

Education Service

Any thoughts on this? Curious to see how this plays out with my voc rehab benefits. My school just transitioned to online only but I can't move to a cheaper area since would have to uproot my kids and wife. Then move back, reenroll in schools, pay more broker's fees, find another place, etc, just a nightmare in general!
 

MusicDOc124

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Any thoughts on this? Curious to see how this plays out with my voc rehab benefits. My school just transitioned to online only but I can't move to a cheaper area since would have to uproot my kids and wife. Then move back, reenroll in schools, pay more broker's fees, find another place, etc, just a nightmare in general!

Chances are that your courses will be able to proceed online in some form being only 1 month left of actual learning for my schools followed by 1 more exam. I've had undergrad classes when I was in college that the final exam would be waived if you already had an A, or if something came up they would just hold more weight on previous exams, etc. Especially if your school already uses blackboard like most, then there are plenty of opportunities for professors to post work sheets, lectures, etc, with availability in email - possibly still with some sort of office hours depending on school policy.

With all of that already in place, an established school should be able to be approved where you would receive the full amount.

Summer is up next, and many people take summers off as it is, including pre-med. As non-trads, this could easily differ, but chances are when you'd begin in fall, you'd be back in person. If not, then we have many more major issues happening with COVID-19.

I hope you dont have to move or anything.
 

BC_89

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My program announced yesterday that starting Monday we will be doing our lectures via online / pre-recordings from this weekend. We only have about 6-7 weeks of the semester left but my VRC had stated that nothing is going to change this term as far as BAH goes. Fortunately, I have hospital & community rotations from May - July that balance up to full-time student status and will have no effect on my BAH. It sounds like for anything to really take a toll on anyone using Voc-Rehab (myself included) would be if the COVID-19 reports get worse by the time August rolls around.

I personally am not to concerned about the statements put out for veterans using VR&E until mid-summer. By then I believe our current pandemic would have calmed down a bit.
 
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Often

GOAT
Mar 4, 2019
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Chances are that your courses will be able to proceed online in some form being only 1 month left of actual learning for my schools followed by 1 more exam. I've had undergrad classes when I was in college that the final exam would be waived if you already had an A, or if something came up they would just hold more weight on previous exams, etc. Especially if your school already uses blackboard like most, then there are plenty of opportunities for professors to post work sheets, lectures, etc, with availability in email - possibly still with some sort of office hours depending on school policy.

With all of that already in place, an established school should be able to be approved where you would receive the full amount.

Summer is up next, and many people take summers off as it is, including pre-med. As non-trads, this could easily differ, but chances are when you'd begin in fall, you'd be back in person. If not, then we have many more major issues happening with COVID-19.

I hope you dont have to move or anything.
Yeah in my med school the "semester" ends at the end of June with only a week until the Fall block, with clerkships starting soon after. Hoping that they release some guidance, I'm gonna be so mad if I get the online learning MHA rate starting in July, won't even cover 1/3 of my rent if that switch happens.
 

esob

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The real question is if this will impact Ch 31 students. So far we have asked a few VRC's directly and the answer at this point is "we don't know." However, as long as your school doesn't make any changes to your enrollment it won't matter, bc that's what the VRC's go off of.
 

BC_89

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Yeah in my med school the "semester" ends at the end of June with only a week until the Fall block, with clerkships starting soon after. Hoping that they release some guidance, I'm gonna be so mad if I get the online learning MHA rate starting in July, won't even cover 1/3 of my rent if that switch happens.


Housing Allowance will be protected under the GI Bill

Which tells me that although Chapter 31 is excluded from this (still pending), I imagine it will eventually follow the same guidelines.
 
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BC_89

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I created a new thread (although I probably should have merged it) pertaining to Voc-Rehab housing allowances. You now have nothing to worry about despite being moved to online classes.

 
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