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Bakersfield, CA BAH Rates, Housing, Education, & Cost-of-Living

Find housing, employment, cost-of-living, and BAH rates for Bakersfield, CA. Listed below are BAH Rates, college and universities, cost-of-living information, school resources for children of military families, and things to see and do in the Bakersfield area.

Some of the military installations that are proximal to Bakersfield include:

Bakersfield Colleges & Universities

The Bakersfield area is home to several colleges and universities. This is a partial list.

The state of California offers a College Fee Waiver for Veteran Depends benefit program that waives tuition and fees for public colleges and universities throughout the state. Discover more information about the multiple plans offered under this program.

To find more Bakersfield area schools, use the free CollegeRecon School Finder tool.

BAH Rates in Bakersfield

E1 $2,313 $1,734
E2 $2,313 $1,734
E3 $2,313 $1,734
E4 $2,313 $1,734
E5 $2,475 $1,995
E6 $2,829 $2,163
E7 $2,913 $2,319
E8 $3,006 $2,553
E9 $3,141 $2,652
W1 $2,850 $2,268
W2 $2,955 $2,550
W3 $3,066 $2,664
W4 $3,171 $2,847
W5 $3,300 $2,934
O1e $2,928 $2,472
O2e $3,048 $2,628
O3e $3,189 $2,823
O1 $2,526 $2,148
O2 $2,826 $2,424
O3 $3,063 $2,700
O4 $3,342 $2,913
O5 $3,540 $2,964
O6 $3,570 $3,042
O7 $3,597 $3,096

Using your GI Bill in Bakersfield

Anyone considering using the Post 9/11 GI Bill in Bakersfield, you should know the following:

  • You may be eligible for Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA) if you are a full-time student.
  • MHA is comparable to the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) for an E-5 with dependents.
  • MHA is calculated based on the zip code of where you physically attend most of your classes.
  • Those attending only online classes receive a set MHA of approximately $1,054 (in 2023)
  • Up to $1,000 is available each year for books and supplies.
  • The Post 9/11 GI Bill can be transferred to a spouse or dependents but you must still be on active duty to transfer.
  • The Yellow Ribbon Program offers financial support in specific situations where the GI Bill does not fully cover the cost of tuition at participating colleges

Cost of Living in Bakersfield

Bakersfield is a medium sized city that is located between Los Angeles and Fresno. Its proximity to other major metropolitan areas and low cost of living make it a desirable place to live.

According to BestPlaces, Bakersfield has a cost of living score of 99.8 percent, which is 0.2 percent lower than the national average, and 33.4 percent lower than the state average.


  • Overall – 99.8
  • Housing – 106.7
  • Groceries – 99
  • Transportation – 103.6
  • Utilities – 111.7

Other categories to consider

  • Healthcare
  • Childcare
  • Taxes

Bakersfield Housing

Bakersfield is an affordable and dynamic city to live in California. According to RentCafe, the average rent in Bakersfield is $1,484 and the average apartment size is 874 sq. ft.

Some of the most affordable neighborhoods in Bakersfield include:

  • Castle Ranch – Median Rent $1,343
  • Mountain Meadows – Median Rent $1,398
  • Southgate – Median Rent $1,388
  • Rexland Acres – Median Rent $1,499
  • Lakeview – Median Rent $1,499

Other popular neighborhoods include Stockdale Ranch, Masterpiece Estates, Stone Meadows, Stonegate, and Avalon.

According to Realtor.com, the average sale price of a home in Bakersfield as of April 2024 is approximately $375,000. The city is currently rated as a seller’s market, which means that there are more people looking to buy homes than currently available on the market.

To learn more about VA Loan Program benefits, you can get a free eligibility assessment from our VA loan partner.

Primary Education

Access to primary education is an important consideration for parents with school age children. There are currently no DoDEA schools in Bakersfield, however there are many top primary schools in the area.

According to Greatschools.org, some of the top primary schools in Bakersfield include:

  • W.A. Kendrick Elementary School
  • Downtown Elementary School
  • Panama Elementary School
  • Stockdale Elementary School
  • Quailwood Elementary School

Employment Opportunities in Bakersfield

Bakersfield is located in Kern County, which is considered the nation’s top agricultural and petroleum producing counties. The top industries in the Greater Bakersfield Area include:

  • Agriculture
  • Healthcare
  • Transportation and Warehousing
  • Construction
  • Retail Trade

The top employers in the area include Amazon, Grimmway Farms, Wonderful Company, Chevron, and Kaiser Permanente. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in Bakersfield is 9.3 percent as of April 2024.

Things to Do in Bakersfield

Bakersfield is a dynamic place with a vibrant culture that offers many fun and interesting things to do. The area has a rich music and arts scene in addition to being full of historic places and access to California’s beautiful nature.

Some of the top things to do in Bakersfield include:

About the author

Sarah Tucci

Sarah is a Philadelphia-based writer. She comes to CollegeRecon with an interdisciplinary background in international relations and cultural heritage with an interest in understanding the intersection of armed conflict and cultural heritage, particularly in Eastern and Southeastern Europe. When not writing for CollegeRecon, Sarah enjoys traveling, watching documentaries, and hanging out with her beloved Pitbull, Brutus.