|ME2 Rene Prieto||D7 TACLET||
|AET3 Cameron Greer||A/S Miami||
|YN3 Mark Caplan||SouthCom Detachment||YN2|
And if you’ve just finished a College Degree Program and received your degree or have any other noteworthy academic achievement you would like us to recognize, please let us know so we can recognize you for it.
GI Bill payments, particularly monthly housing payments, can sometimes be a mystery. You may hear about people receiving a smaller than expected monthly housing payment or not getting one at all when they think they should. Please allow me to explain how they work. Please get this out to all of our Veteran students and schools. I apologize for the longer than usual note, to summarize the key take aways….
- GI Bill housing allowance is paid after the fact. So if you start school on September 1 – the earliest you could be paid under the best of circumstances is October 1. We often hear … my housing allowance is late, how am I supposed to pay my rent, food, etc.
- We do issue partial housing allowance. So if you were not in school the entire month (ie; December or January) you will get partial payment. We often hear … someone messed up my check, its less than I got last month….“What is the monthly housing allowance?”
It’s a monthly benefit paid via direct deposit to students while attending school under the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and is equal to the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) of an E-5 with dependents. It is based on the zip code of the school (a chart of BAH rates by ZIP code is at http://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/perdiem/bah.html ). Active duty members and spouses of active duty members using transferred entitlement cannot receive the benefit, but Veterans, their spouses and dependents can receive the benefit.
“When does VA send payments?”
Payments are issued at the beginning of each month for training that occurred during the previous month. For example, assuming timely certification of enrollment by the school and timely processing by VA, payments for training taken in January will be issued by VA in February. The school must submit a student’s enrollment information to VA in order to start the payments.
“Why is my payment less than expected?”
The most common reason for a smaller than expected BAH payment is due to the payment being pro-rated based on the number of days in the month that a student is enrolled. Payments are made in arrears and only for the days actually attended, so if the term starts in the middle of January, the payment received in the beginning of February will be pro-rated accordingly. The first full payment will be issued in March for the month of February.
For example, suppose you are attending school full-time and your housing rate is $800 per month. The term starts on January 19th and goes until May 14th. All months are based on 30 day periods, so months that have more or less days do not impact the benefit amount. Therefore, the payment in this case for the month of January will be for 12 out of 30 days (19th to 30th), in the amount of $320, and it will be received in February. The payments for February, March, and April will be $800 each month, and the payment for May will be $373.33 (pro-rated from the 1st through the 14th).
Also, a student must attend more than half-time to receive the housing allowance payment. Benefits for attendance at less than full-time are pro-rated to the nearest multiple of ten. For example, if 12 credits are required for full-time attendance and the student is taking 8 credits, the student will receive 70 percent of the housing allowance (8 divided by 12 equals .66, which is rounded up to 70 percent).
Lastly, lower than expected payments may also be caused by over-payments. Over-payments are usually caused by students reducing the number of credit hours for which they are enrolled during the middle of a term, which can cause payments to be made based on the incorrect number of credit hours. When this occurs, the amount of the over-payment is deducted out of future benefit payments until the account is corrected.
Other housing payment issues
The monthly housing allowance payment rate for those enrolled solely in distance learning is half the national average of the BAH rates payable for an E-5 with dependents in the continental U.S. ($684 per month for the current academic year). A student can receive the full housing rate by attending one “brick and mortar’’ class where he or she physically attends.
The housing allowance for attending a foreign school is based on the average of the BAH rates payable for an E-5 with dependents in the continental U.S. (currently $1,368 per month).
Please share this information with the students you know. Understanding when housing payments are received and planning for lower payments due to breaks between terms can be critical to ensuring student’s success.
Q: I want to teach 7th grade when I leave the Coast Guard and want to find out how to get an education degree. Where do I start?
A: It’s admirable that you want to teach our children. Is there a specific subject you’re most interested in teaching? If so, are you aware you don’t necessarily have to have a degree in education to teach?
In most states you can have a bachelor’s degree in some other major and still teach. And many would rather new teachers have degrees in a subject for which there’s a shortage of teachers than an education degree. For example, math and science majors are sought to teach those subjects and are sometimes eligible for monetary incentives to do so. Check out the information throughout the Teachers Count web site (start at http://www.teacherscount.org/wannateach/faq.shtml#5).
Also, the Troops to Teachers program provides counseling and referral services to military personnel interested in beginning a second career in public education as a teacher – even if you’re not planning to participate in the program. And the DANTES Troops to Teachers office will help you identify teacher certification requirements, programs leading to certification, and employment opportunities. The main web site (http://www.dantes.doded.mil/Sub%20Pages/TTT/TTT_Main.html) has all kinds of information about the program, including a new on-line way to determine if you’re eligible to participate in Troops to Teachers: http://www.dantes.doded.mil/Dantes_web/troopstoteachers/eligibility.asp.
You can download thousands of free entertainment files (over 100,000 items to choose from) via the Navy General Library Program (http://navy.lib.overdrive.com/). To use it, you’ll first need to register as a new user at Navy Knowledge Online (https://wwwa.nko.navy.mil/). This service is available to all uniformed personnel, retirees, and their dependants.
Don’t limit yourself to just the Navy General Library Program, however. Navy Knowledge Online contains • reference materials of all kinds (e.g., Navy Times, national magazines, academic and professional journals, and more), • Petersons Lifelong Learning resources (e.g., CLEP & DSST prep; prep resources for various military tests; ACT, SAT, PSAT prep; career & certification test prep); • academic, military, and career e-books; • search engines for finding colleges and scholarships; • personal development resources (physical and mental health, fitness, financial management, safety); and • leadership resources.
All these are free.
The US Department of Education’s web site has loads of information about financial aid for higher education, including a large number of handouts you can download. You can find them at http://www.studentaid.ed.gov/resources. Among the titles are:
• Don’t Get Scammed on Your Way to College!
• Loan Forgiveness for Public Service Employees
• Be an Informed Consumer... when it comes to federal student aid
• Student Aid and Identity Theft
• Student Loans: Avoiding Deceptive Offers
• Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan
Although the GI Bill and Tuition Assistance programs are not designed to provide military education benefits to family members there are several education benefits available that do.
For more information on Scholarships and Grants or for Spouse and Dependents Education Assistance, go to the following link:
Placing veterans in the nation's classrooms to serve again is the goal for the Troops to Teachers program. The purpose of the Department of Defense program is to help eligible current and former military personnel begin new careers as teachers in public schools where their skills, knowledge and experience are most needed. In addition to counseling and referral, state Troops to Teachers representatives help applicants identify teacher certification requirements for the state they wish to teach, programs leading to certification and employment opportunities in their state. Other state representatives will reach out to service members earlier while they are still on active-duty and identify education requirements so that interested service members may begin working toward their teaching certifications before leaving the service, enabling a smoother transition into teaching. Service members can learn more about Troops to Teachers and locate a state representative at www.proudtoserveagain.com.
This short article, on the blog “The College Solution” (http://www.thecollegesolution.com/8-ways-to-boost-your-act-and-sat-scores), provides five (rather than eight) tips to help you prepare to take an ACT or SAT. The other three are about what to do with the scores you receive. The on-line preparation resources alone make the article worth reading, but there’s sound advice throughout the piece.
Each week we will try to provide a "Health Tip Of The Week". This weeks tip can be found at the following website: