Financial Aid Benefits for Veterans Going Back to School

Written by

Ray Grant Walden


August 14, 2014


Are you a veteran or do you know someone who has served our country who is considering going back to school? While many military personnel are aware that they can go to college after leaving active duty service, there are still a few things they may not know about all of their potential financial aid benefits. If you’re on the fence about whether or not you should enroll at a university after serving in the military, first consider all of these reasons why you should take advantage of the opportunity!

Veterans Still Qualify for Federal Financial Aid

Financial Aid Benefits for Veterans Going Back to School If you are a veteran and receiving Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits, you may not realize that you are still eligible to receive federal funding also. Many veterans think that it is just one or the other, but this is simply not the case. If you need federal and state financial aid, send in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to get started. Gather all the necessary documents before submitting your application to help speed up your application process.

Veterans May Qualify for a Monthly Housing Allowance

Do you remember how you used to receive a basic stipend for housing while on active duty? You may not know it, but just because you are not active duty anymore does not mean you automatically lose a housing allowance! If you use your Post 9/11 GI Bill, you may qualify for the Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA) while taking college courses. In fact, you can still get up to $684 per month in MHA even if you take online classes! Additionally, the Post 9/11 GI Bill covers all tuition and fees and gives you a yearly allowance of up to $1,000 for books and other course materials.

Many veterans admit that they have a tough time transitioning from active duty to everyday civilian life. If you are fresh out of the military and don’t know what your next step is, seriously consider taking advantage of your benefits and going to college. Enrolling at university may be just the breather you need to get used to being home and figure out what you’ll do next.

Applying for Military Benefits is Easier Than You May Think

While the application for benefits is not short, the Department of Veterans Affairs offers the Veterans Online Application (VONAPP), a useful tool that you can use to apply for college benefits or any other benefits for which you may be eligible. When you use this tool, your application will be directly forwarded to the appropriate Veterans Affairs office so the application processing will start faster. As a caveat, remember that the VONAPP only covers financial aid from the Department of Veterans Affairs. To qualify for federal financial aid like the Pell Grant, Stafford Loans or other types of funding, you will still need to complete and submit the FAFSA.

Making the change from a military to the civilian world can be challenging. By filling out the FAFSA and taking advantage of the benefits of the Post 9/11 GI Bill, financing your college education becomes easier and significantly more affordable. As a veteran, you dedicated years of your life to serving our country, so now you can now use the benefits that are rightfully yours. You’ve already proven that you’re brave, so be courageous and start thinking about attending college today!

Written by:  Ray Grant Walden

Ray Grant Walden attended American University College and now lives in Houston. He has enjoyed a very exciting career and has experience in a wide variety of professions, including college counseling.

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