Q: I receive the Post 9/11 GI Bill and I’m still waiting for my BAH payment. I registered in November, where’s my money?
A: The VA always makes BAH payments starting the first week of the month following the month of enrollment. In the case of the Spring 2014 (15-week) term, you would start receiving payments the first week of February (Direct Deposit)/early second week of February (Check payments, allowing mail time).
Please keep in mind, this schedule of payments assumes a minimal backlog at the VA for processing enrollment. The later you register for courses (mid-late December/January) the more risk you have that you may not start receiving payments until March (with backpayment for January) because of processing times.
Q: I recently completed the Post 9/11 GI Bill Pre-Certification Form. Why do I need to tell you whether or not I have applied for Financial Aid?
A: Effective August 1 some of the reporting requirements to the VA changed in terms of tuition and fees. At Brookdale (and all schools) we are now required to deduct any Financial Aid, Scholarships or Waivers that are applied to tuition and fees specifically. An example of Financial Aid that falls in to this category would be the TAG Grant, used specifically to be applied to Tuition Assistance (not to be confused with military Tuition Assistance or TA, this is Financial Aid).
For individuals that indicate they will be applying for or have applied for Financial Aid, your tuition and fees will initially be reported to the VA as $0.00 tuition and $0.00 fees and the number of credits for which you are enrolled will be reported to the VA to start your BAH and books and supplies stipend. After the add/drop period (end of September) we will submit the actual tuition and fees that are reportable to the VA. Please keep in mind, it is important for you to realize that if you traditionally receive a refund of PELL grants or students loans this may be delayed and you should plan accordingly. We are unable to release excess funds to you until your tuition and fees have been offset by payments made on your behalf by the GI Bill. We have developed this system to ensure you are not charged with overpayments by the VA and that your BAH/books/supplies money is not held up.
Q: I received my BAH for January and something doesn’t add up. I didn’t receive the full BAH. Is my payment wrong?
A: No, when it comes to BAH, the amount per month is based on attending a full month of classes (ie. 31 days continuously). The VA does a calculated break down of the BAH per day allotment for each day you are in class. For the Spring 15-week term you would be paid for 9 days (semester began January 22, month ends January 31, 9 days total) and for the Spring 11-week term you would be paid for 9 days (semester begins February 19, month ends February 28, 9 days total).
Q: I have heard it can take 8-12 weeks for me to receive my benefits, is this true?
A: Yes. Currently the VA is experiencing a high volume of claims for the Spring semester. You should anticipate a processing time of approximately 8-12 weeks once your courses are reported by Brookdale to the VA. Currently, our office is certifying courses every other week. Students should budget accordingly and anticipate a delay in receiving their benefits if they did not register early. If you are collecting the Post 9/11 GI Bill, you are required to complete and submit the Pre-Certification Approval form before we submit your courses to the VA. This form can be found here.
Students should check their Brookdale Student Email periodically to ensure more follow up is not needed from them. We will communicate with you via email if further information is needed. A delayed response, or failure to respond, will result in a delay in your benefits being processed. Please go to: www.brookdalecc.edu and click on “MyBrookdale Portal” at the top of the page. If you are unsure of your login information, please follow the instructions listed for initial login informaiton.
Q: I have heard there were some major changes to the GI Bill effective in August and October of 2012. Is that true?
A: Yes. President Obama signed several changes into effect as of August and October 2012. Some highlights of these changes include:
- As of August 1: Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) will no longer be paid based on a minimum pursuit of 51% (or more) of full-time credits. The old 7 credit rule that most students have been able to pursue will no longer be applicable. Instead the VA will calculate your BAH based on whether or not you are full-time (12 or more credits in most 15-week terms) or less and use this percentage to calculate the percentage of BAH you will receive (taking your percentage of eligibility fo this benefit into account).For example, you are eligible for 50% of the Post 9/11 GI Bill. You decide to take 12 credits during the semester. As a full-time student, that puts your credits at a 100% full-time pursuit, and you will receive 50% of the BAH payment.**Warning: A little more complicated!** Another example would be if you are taking 9 credits, or 3/4 time based on VA standards. According to the most recent information published (February 2011), the VA will calculate that you are eligible for 80% of full-time status (they will round your rate of pursuit to the nearest 10%). In this case, you will be eligible for 50% (your actual eligibility for the benefit) of an 80% rate of pursuit.
- As of August 1: Students using any GI Bill program will no longer receive break pay or interval pay in between terms. Students will be paid based on actual term start and end dates.
- As of August 1: Students eligible for VA Vocational Rehabilitation and the Post 9/11 GI Bill may opt to receive the monthly BAH payment instead of the set rate of VA Vocational Rehabilitation subsistence allowance.
- As of October 1: Students enrolled in distance education (online courses) only will be eligible for a housing allowance paid at 50% of the current national rate (of course your eligibility and number of credits is also used to calculate what you will receive). If you are eligible for 100% of the Post 9/11 GI Bill and go to school full-time this would make you eligible for $673.50 per month (as of January 1, 2011).
Q: I have served 4 years in the US Army (Active Duty) from September 1, 1998-October 1, 2002. Will I get 100% of the Post 9/11 GI Bill?
A: No. The Post 9/11 GI Bill specifically calculates your Active Duty time on September 11, 2001 and after. In this example, you would have approximately 12.5 months of eligibility which would make you eligible for 60% of this benefit.
Q: When can I apply for the Post 9/11 GI Bill?
A: You were able to apply for the new GI Bill as of May 1, 2009. The VA is accepting paper (postal mail) and VONAPP (online) applications for this benefit. It is recommended that you apply online (VONAPP) as this can save 2-3 weeks of application processing time and allows you to have a confirmation of your application submission. To apply online, please go to: http://www.gibill.va.gov/apply-for-benefits/application/. To use your benefits at Brookdale you must apply online. Paper applications mailed to the VA will not be accepted.
Q: When does the Post 9/11 GI Bill become effective?
A: The Post 9/11 GI Bill went into effect as of August 1, 2009. You can select the date that you would like to start receiving this benefit (as long as it is after August 1, 2009).
Q: I am currently receiving Chapter 30 benefits. I have used 24 months of my 36 months of benefits. What should I do?
A: Under the new Chapter 33 GI Bill you will only be eligible for the remainder of your 36 months of benefits (ie. 12 months) should you choose to switch over the new Chapter 33 GI Bill as of this point. You do, however, have the option of exhausing your current GI Bill benefits through the entire 36 months and opting to switch to the new GI Bill (Chapter 33) for up to a 12 month extension after you have fully exhausted your current benefit. You should think about your educational plan (ie. do I plan on using benefits for longer than 36 months, will I transfer to a four-year school?), and what percentage of the new bill you are eligible for (benefit payments at 40% of eligibility are much different than those at 100% eligibility).
Q: What does the Post 9/11 GI Bill cover? Do I need to make payments for my tuition to Brookdale?
A: The Post 9/11 GI Bill includes payment for your tuition and fees directly to Brookdale, a monthly housing stipend and an annual book/supplies stipend (both stipends paid directly to you). In order to determine how much of these benefits you are eligible for, you will want to find out what percentage of eligibility you have (for example: an individual with at least 36 months of active duty after 9/11/01 will be eligible for 100%, an individual with 90 days to 6 months of active duty would be eligible for 40% of the benefit), Finally, the selection of online/distance education courses can effect your eligibility for the Housing Allowance, specifically. You should determine whether or not online courses are right for you. In order to receive the Housing Allowance, you must be enrolled at a “rate of pursuit” of 51% or more, and in at least 1 “in residence” (in classroom) course.
If you are eligible for 100% of the benefit, and a full-time student, for example, 100% of your tuition and fees will be paid to Brookdale. Additionally, you will receive 100% of the monthly Housing Allowance (Spring 2014 and Summer 2014 rates $1986.00 per month, as of August 1 2014, $2232.00per month) and 100% of the $1,000 annual book stipend (paid per credit, per term, up to $1,000 annually).
Q: I did not contribute $1,200 to the GI Bill. Can I still get the Post-9/11 GI Bill?
A: Yes, if you have met the service requirements for the Post 9/11 GI Bill you would be eligible for the new GI Bill, even though you did not contribute $1200 to the GI Bill.
Q: I did pay into the $1,200 buy-in for the Montgomery GI Bill. Will I get any of this money back?
A: Any individual who paid the $1,200 buy-in for the MGIB and elects to use the Post 9/11 GI Bill will be refunded a proportional amount if, and after, all entitled benefits under the Post 9/11 GI Bill are used. Individuals who do not use all their entitlement under the Post 9/11 GI Bill will not receive a refund of contributions paid to the MGIB.
Q: I am eligible for the GI Bill and would like to transfer my benefits to my child and/or spouse. Can I apply for this now? How do I apply?
A: If you are a member of the Armed Forces on August 1, 2009, the Department of Defense (DoD) may offer you the opportunity to transfer benefits to your spouse or dependent children. Please go to: http://www.defenselink.mil/home/features/2009/0409_gibill/ for the most up-to-date information from the Department of Defense and http://www.gibill.va.gov/GI_Bill_Info/CH33/Transfer.htm to access the GI Bill portion of the VA website.
You will initially need to apply using the Department of Defense site to gain approval to transfer your benefits. Once this permission is received, you will need to apply directly through the VA website, using form 22-1990e. Please provide our office with a copy of the 22-1990e that you submit as we can place a special hold on the student’s account to ensure they are not dropped for non-payment while this is processed. Once received, we will also start submitting enrollment information to the VA. Please follow up with the Certificate of Eligibility once you have received this information. We will use it to complete the student’s file with our office. The Certificate of Eligibility typically takes approximately 12 weeks to be received once your application has been submitted to the VA.
Q: I am currently on Active Duty. Can I use the new Post 9/11 GI Bill?
A: Yes, you can use the Post 9/11 GI Bill on Active Duty provided you have completed at least 90 days of service (excluding basic entry level and skill training). Your tuition will be paid based on how long you have served. However, the tuition payment cannot exceed the amount not paid by military tuition assistance (TA) and/or the total amount of tuition and fees. You will not receive a housing allowance or the book and supplies stipend while on Active Duty.
Q: I have a service-connected disability. Should I use the Post 9/11 GI Bill, or Vocational Rehabilitation?
A: If you are eligible for both the Post 9/11 GI Bill and Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (Chapter 31), you should speak with your Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor to determine which benefit is most beneficial to your situation.
Q: Will I receive a retroactive payment under the Post 9/11 GI Bill for classes I have taken before August 1, 2009?
A: No. The post 9/11 GI Bill only covers classes taken on or after August 1, 2009.
Q: I received my Certificate of Eligibility after the term began and my courses were certified later. Will I receive “back pay” for the months in between the start of the semester and when the VA knew I was attending courses?
A: Yes. As is always the case, the VA will provide you “back pay” for time you have been enrolled, even if your course certification takes place after the term commences.
Q: Will I receive the Basic Alliance for Housing if I am enrolled in all distance learning (ie. online, television) courses?
A: Before October 1, 2011, if you were enrolled in an entire schedule of distance education courses you would not receive the Housing Allowance portion of the GI Bill.
If at least one of your courses is considered “in residence” (ie. you are required to physically attend a classroom at Brookdale for the course), you are entitled to the Housing Allowance if you are taking enough credits to be considered at a 51% (or more) “rate of pursuit”. Students must be considered more than half-time to be eligible for housing allowance benefits.
After October 1, 2011, if you choose to pursuit a courseload of all online coursework (minimum 7 credits) you will be eligible for up to 50% of the National Rate of BAH, currently at approximately $1300 (50% = $650.00). The VA will further determine your monthly payment based on number of credits pursued compared to the full-time rate (12 credits would be full-time) and your percentage of eligibility for the Post 9/11 GI Bill.
Q: I live at home with my parents, they don’t make me pay rent. Will I have to show the VA that I pay rent?
A: No. The VA will not require you to show any proof of rent/mortgage payments. The money you receive is yours and you should look at this as an opportunity to save up for your future home.
Q: What is “rate of pursuit”? How is it calculated?
A: “Rate of pursuit” is the calculation the VA will be using specific to the new GI Bill to determine your Housing Allowance. “Rate of pursuit” calculates the total number of credits you are taking for the term divided by what Brookdale considers full time. This total is then made into a percentage. For the Spring 2011 and Summer 2011 semesters (and all terms prior), to be eligible for the Housing Allowance you must be enrolled in a “rate of pursuit” of at least 51% (or more). As of Fall 2011 payment will be based on status as a full-time student, 3/4 time student, half time, etc.
John Doe is enrolled in 9 credits for the Fall term. At Brookdale, full-time is considered 12 credits for the Fall term. John’s rate of pursuit would be calculated as: 9/12 = 0.75 = 75%. His rate of pursuit is high enough to receive the Housing Allowance.
Jessica Smith is enrolled in 6 credits for the Fall term. At Brookdale, full-time is considered 12 credits for the Fall term. Jessica’s rate of pursuit would be calculated as: 6/12 = 0.50 = 50%. Her rate of pursuit is not high enough to receive the Housing Allowance.
Q: I am eligible for 40% of the benefit. Do I have to pay for tuition and fees?
A: Yes, you would be required to pay 60% of the tuition and fees not covered by your GI Bill allowance. You have the option to pay this total in full, or create a Veteran Deferred Payment Plan with the VA Certifying Official. This Payment Plan allows you to spread your payments into 3 equal payments.
Q: Do I receive a bookslip to purchase my books at the Scroll and Pen Bookstore?
A: No. Students who receive the Post 9/11 GI Bill are required to make payments for books and supplies out-of-pocket and receive payment (per credit) directly from the Department of Veterans Affairs. This payment is typically included with your first monthly housing stipend for the semester.
Q: I am not sure which option is best for me. Who can I talk to?
A: The VA has provided a variety of resources for students to make the best decision about their options. Remember, the new GI Bill is not for everyone, and for some students the current GI Bill may provide them with more benefits. You should read the information posted on the GI Bill website at http://www.gibill.va.gov to first determine the percentage of the benefit you are eligible for. Not everyone is eligible for 100% of the benefits, and your Active Duty time on and after September 11, 2001 will determine your eligibility. Additionally, you should consider whether or not you plan on taking credits that total more than 1/2 time, and if you plan on taking Distance Education courses. Being enrolled at or less than half time, and taking all online courses, or 1/2 time (or less) “in residence” courses (can be combined with online courses) will make you ineligible for the housing stipend.
You should also consider whether or not you would like to exhaust your current GI Bill benefits (for those who have started to use benefits, especially under Chapter 30; the VEAP/REAP benefit is a different scenario), or if you want to switch to the new GI Bill immediately. For those who have started using their Chapter 30 benefits, you are only entitled to the remaining months of your benefit (ie. you have used 24 months of 36 months total eligibility, you can only use the new GI Bill for 12 months). You can, however, choose to exhaust your benefits under your current Chapter 30 benefit, and extend benefits for up to 12 additional months once you switch to the new GI Bill (and your Chapter 30 benefits are exhausted).
After reading the information provided on the GI Bill website, should you have more questions about your options, please contact the GI Bill Hotline at: 1-888-GI-BILL-1 for more information.