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Chapter 33 Benefits – VA’s GI Bill Education Benefits

Chapter 33 Benefits – VA’s GI Bill Education Benefits

Like the Yellow Ribbon Program, the Post 9/11 GI Bill, also known as Chapter 33 GI Bill, is designed to help military members and veterans get their college degrees with little or no cost to themselves. Chapter 33 education benefits offer a wide array of assistance, from housing allowances to actual tuition assistance.

The original Post-9/11 GI Bill was signed into law in July of 2008, which created a new education benefits program to help military members reach their educational goals. A new version of the bill was then released on August 1, 2009, which began to provide education benefits for service members who served on active duty for 90 or more days since September 10, 2001.

These benefits are set up in a tiered system, with benefits awarded based on the number of days served on active duty, which creates a benefit package that offers current and previously activated National Guard and Reserve service members the same benefits as active duty service members.

Chapter 33 GI Bill VA Benefits

“Chapter 33″ is simply a short-hand name (officially called the “Codification”) for “the Post 9/11 GI Bill”. According to VA, it “provides financial support for education and housing to individuals with at least 90 days of aggregate service on or after September 11, 2001, or individuals discharged with a service-connected disability after 30 days.”

Since they were originally introduced, these benefits have just recently received some more revisions, offering some additional services based on the changing nature of the higher education industry (most specifically the fact that online college degree programs have become much more popular than ever before).

The recent Chapter 33 GI Bill changes benefit a wider range of veterans and service members as they provide (for the first time ever) online students with BAH pay, effective as of October 1st, 2011.

How much will you receive?

Chapter 33 rates vary depending on how long you have served. The amount you receive from the Chapter 33 benefits package is based on your length of active duty service, and will be awarded as so. To find out the percentage of benefits that you’ll receive, please visit the VA’s benefits calculator page here: http://www.gibill.va.gov/gi_bill_info/ch33/benefit_comparison_chart.htm#PERCENTAGEACTIVE

What education benefits are you entitled to?

Chapter 33 Tuition Benefits – Offers you a percentage of three main benefits, packages, plus an additional $500 for eligible service members.

  • 1. Chapter 33 Tuition Assistance – Offers to pay for your cost of tuition and fees at the school of your choice, though this is limited to the in-state tuition at the highest priced undergraduate public Institution of Higher Learning (IHL).
  • 2. Chapter 33 Housing Allowance – Offers you a monthly housing allowance stipend equal to the basic allowance for housing payable to a military E-5 with dependents located in the zip code of the educational institution where you are enrolled.
  1. For foreign schools – If you’re attending a school outside of the United States, your BAH rate will be set at a fixed rate of $1,347.00 (this is the 2011 rate).
  2. For online schools – If you are getting your degree online, your Chapter 33 BAH pay will be set at half the national average BAH rate for an E-5 with dependents, which in 2011, means you’d get $673.50.
  • 3. Chapter 33 Annual Materials Stipend – Offers you up to $1,000 annually for books and school supplies.
  • 4. Special benefit for rural studentsIndividuals relocating from highly rural areas may be eligible for a special one-time payment of $500.

Please note – While active duty members of the military will receive 100% of the tuition and fees (up to the limit allotted in their state) for whatever school they attend, they do not receive basic allowance for housing or the books and supplies stipend.

How many months of assistance can you receive?

Generally, you may receive up to 36 months of assistance from this benefits program.

How long am I eligible?

Eligibility for benefits lasts for 15 years from your last period of active duty military service that lasted for at least 90 consecutive days. If you were released for a service-connected disability after at least 30 days of continuous service, you will also be eligible for benefits for up to 15 years.

Chapter 33 Eligibility Rules

According to the VA, here are the conditions of eligibility:

-You may be eligible if you served at least 90 aggregate days on active duty after September 10, 2001, and you are still on active duty or were honorably discharged from the active duty; or you were:

  • Released from active duty and placed on the retired list or temporary disability retired list; or
  • Released from active duty and transferred to the Fleet Reserve or Fleet Marine Corps Reserve; or
  • Released from the active duty for further service in a reserve component of the Armed Forces.

You may also be eligible for VA Chapter 33 benefits if you were honorably discharged from active duty for a service-connected disability and you served 30 continuous days after September 10, 2001.

Questions? The Ch 33 GI Bill can be quite confusing, so be sure to check out our Post 9/11 GI Bill FAQ sheet! Or, feel free to ask a question in the comments below!

Using Your Chapter 33 Benefits

Once you understand which benefits are available to you, it’s time to proceed with putting together an action plan. Start with researching which colleges or universities you want to attend, screening them based on accreditation standards, programs offered, tuition costs, and military friendliness.

Start your research off right by viewing our recommendations for Military Friendly Colleges by checking out our list of the 25 Best Schools for Military Students. If you don’t find a school that you’re interested in attending there, try reviewing our list of Yellow Ribbon Program Participating Schools to find a school that offers this important and valuable military education benefits.

Make sure to do your research, as the decision you make could save (or cost) you thousands of dollars along the way. Good luck out there, and be sure to ask us any questions you have in the comments section below. Typically, we are able to answer any questions within 24 hours of them being asked.

  • Jhareza

    If I used my chapter 33 benefits once, can I go back to school using those same benefits again?

  • Jpd602

    I know that I am eligible for all 100% of the chapter 33 GI Bill but I am also eligible for the Chapter 31 GI Bill, do I need to do anything extra to declare which one I want to use when I sign up for classes?  I know that once you begin using chapter 33 you can’t go back.  I wish to use the chapter 33 option.

  • Shurtzb

    I want to obtain my Realtors license but I must first attend a program which cost about $500 with tuition and books included. Is the Chapter 33 Bill something I can use for this?

    • http://www.veteransbenefitsgibill.com Veterans Benefits GI Bill

      I am out of the office with limited access to email and voicemail until Monday January 23rd.
      If you require immediate assistance, please contact Ryan McArthur at rmcarthur@usinteractivemedia.com.

  • Larry S.

    What happens to my benefits if during the middle of a semester, I have to stop classes due to surgery (With a 6 week recovery period) and not getting credit for the class?
    First term grades are done but this is in my 2nd term. I can not pass the class.

    I am receiving Housing Stipend, but if I do not finish the class due to the surgery will I have to pay the money back?