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Lesser-Known GI Bill Benefits

GI Bill Benefits You May Not Know About

Entrepreneurship Training

Want to start a business? Already have your own business? You may qualify to use GI Bill benefits for training to become business owners or entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship training is offered exclusively through the Small Business Administration.

What kind of training is offered?

  • How to access capital
  • Development and exchange of new technologies
  • Improved business planning
  • Improved business strategy
  • Operations
  • Financial management
  • Personnel administration
  • Marketing
  • Export assistance
  • Sales
  • Growth and expansion
  • Management improvement
  • Increased productivity
  • Innovation

Am I Eligible for this Benefit?

Eligible candidates must qualify for education benefits through one of these programs:

Unfortunately, dependents are unavailable for this entrepreneurship training benefit even if they qualify for the Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA) program.

Please note that the VA only pays for programs offered by the Small Business Development Center (SBDC). Individual courses must be approved explicitly for VA purposes to use benefits.

To locate course offerings near you or view training opportunities on the web, contact the Small Business Development Center directly. On the web at http://www.sba.gov/sbdc/ or by phone at 800-8 ASK SBA. Then contact VA at 888-442-4551 to see what courses are approved for (or can be approved for) VA purposes.

Flight Training

Use your VA education benefits to continue your flight training. Keep in mind these benefits are not meant to help you earn a private pilot’s license, but are intended to advance your skills once you have earned the license.

Am I Eligible for this Benefit?

You may be eligible for flight training benefits if you meet all of these requirements:

    • You qualify for the Post-9/11 GI Bill or Montgomery GI Bill, and
    • You have a private pilot’s license, and
    • You have a second-class medical certificate valid for second-class privileges or;
    • You have a first-class medical certificate and want to pursue an Airline Transport Pilot certificate

Flight training benefits are unavailable for Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA).

What Flight Training Benefits Are Available?

This depends on a few factors, most notably the VA benefits program being used.

    • Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty – Eligible students receive a pay-back of 60% of the approved fees the flight school charges.
    • Post-9/11 GI Bill- The use of this educational entitlement has many factors to consider, including the student’s level of eligibility (i.e., the percent of benefits eligible for based on length of service) and how much entitlement the student has remaining (for school or training). Remember that students can also apply for additional funds to cover tuition and fees above the yearly limit through the Yellow Ribbon Program. Learn more about the Yellow Ribbon Program here.

For the Post-9/11 GI Bill, if the student is enrolled in a:

    • degree program that consists of flight training at a public college or university, students receive up to the full in-state cost of tuition and fees (depending on the level of eligibility and remaining entitlement). A monthly housing allowance and money to help buy books and supplies may also be provided!
    • degree program that consists of flight training at a private college or university, students are eligible for the net cost of tuition and fees up to a yearly limit (depending on the level of eligibility and remaining entitlement). A housing allowance and money to help buy books and supplies may also be provided!
    • vocational program at a stand-alone pilot school (Part 141), students are eligible for the net cost of training up to a yearly limit (depending on the level of eligibility and remaining entitlement). Students in these programs are not eligible for a housing allowance or money to help buy books and supplies.

What kinds of flight training can I receive?

Students can earn qualifications for:

    • Rotary wing
    • B747-400
    • Dual engine
    • Flight engineer

Learn more about VA education benefits associated with flight training.

Veteran Technology Education Courses (VET TEC)

The VET TEC program is available for students seeking to gain computer experience, whether beginning or advancing their career in a high-technology industry. The VET TEC program matches students with a qualified and approved training provider to help students develop their high-tech skills.

With VET TEC, students can receive tuition for a full-time high-tech training program and money for housing during training (not applicable to those on active duty).

What Types of Training Does VET TEC Cover?

Students can receive training in the following:

Learn more about VET TEC benefits and options.

Correspondence Training

Correspondence training (coursework completed by mail, online, or by some other device) may be a good option for you if you want to take classes from home and/or if you live far from schools with the desired offerings.

Correspondence classes are offered in various interests, from Wastewater Management to Creative Writing. Students may find that many correspondence courses are conditions of employment or credentialed courses that will open up various local area job opportunities.

Am I eligible for this benefit?

Veterans and Qualified Dependents can use this GI Bill education benefit.

Eligible students will have the total cost of their correspondence classes paid back if using the Post-9/11 GI Bill at an in-state school. If using other GI Bill programs, students will be paid back for 55% of the approved costs.

Foreign programs

If you love living abroad and/or have found the perfect school for overseas, you can use your VA benefits to pay for a foreign school!

Can I attend any foreign school?

Typically, the VA will accept degrees from schools in foreign countries that are similar to degrees granted by accredited U.S. colleges and universities.

Make sure to email federal.approvals@va.gov to request information about foreign program approval. Check to see if the school and program have already been approved; if not already approved, the school (not the student) can request approval.

Make sure the school and program are approved before registering for classes or you’ll have to pay all costs at the school, including tuition and fees!

Am I eligible for this benefit?

You may be able to use your education benefits if you meet all of these requirements.

  • The student is eligible for (or already receiving) VA educational assistance as a Veteran, service member, reservist, or qualified dependent, and
  • The VA approves the foreign program, and
  • The program is at a foreign institute of higher learning where students earn a standard associate degree or higher (or a degree of equal value).

Independent and Distance Learning

Students can use the GI Bill for independent and distance learning online. If students use the Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits while taking only distance-learning courses, they’ll also receive a housing allowance based on 50% of the national average!

Non-College Degree Programs

Use the GI Bill to pay for various training programs, including HVAC repair, welding, truck driving, Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) training, and barber school.

Am I eligible for this benefit?

Students may be eligible for non-college degree education benefits through the GI Bill if they meet both of these requirements:

  • Students qualify for the GI Bill, and
  • Students enroll (or plan to enroll) in a non-degree program at an approved school

This benefit is available for, Veterans, service members, and qualified dependents.

How much money will I get?

The amount of educational funds available depends on several factors, including which GI Bill program is being used and what school is being attended. Students are paid at the end of each month for the hours spent training. In addition, students are given a monthly housing allowance based on the school’s location and a stipend for books and supplies.

  • Post-9/11 GI Bill: for training offered at non-degree schools, the VA pays the in-state tuition rate and fees up to the national maximum.
  • Other GI Bill programs: the VA pays a monthly rate that depends on the specific non-degree program and student’s length of active service.




About the author

Lori Waddell serves as Co-director of an emergency response COAD in Montana, a freelance writer, and an Air Force Key Spouse. She is passionate about empowering communities and individuals through knowledge and resources. She currently lives in Montana with her husband and two children.