Leaving the military after years of service can often be a daunting experience as veterans choose their next path. Returning to education after serving is a common pathway, but many veterans may face barriers to attending higher education courses. Traditional college degree programs require a huge time commitment, making it difficult for veterans who have families or disabilities.
Fortunately, veterans have other options. Rather than using the GI Bill ® benefits to enroll in associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree programs, veterans now have the option of putting their education benefits toward technical training programs. This is where Eleven Fifty Academy comes in. Our academy is on the list of approved schools, meaning veterans can take courses in coding and cybersecurity training online through the GI Bill®.
Can the GI Bill® Be Used for Trade School?
Yes, you can use your VA benefits to enroll in a trade school or coding bootcamp such as Eleven Fifty. This is a great way to get specialized training in a condensed period of time. You’ll be job-ready in less than a year after enrollment, and your GI Bill® will help you get there.
It’s important to determine your eligibility and learn which GI Bill® may apply to your situation. There are five GI Bill® programs that provide financial aid to veterans: The Forever GI Bill®, the Post-9/11 GI Bill®, the MGIB-AD bill, MGIB-SR, and the REAP Program.
Post-9/11 GI Bill®
The Post-9/11 GI Bill® is designed for military service members who serve at least 90 days in the armed forces and who were called into active duty on or after September 10th, 2001. It offers educational benefits for veterans who want to further their education and can be used in various educational and vocational settings.
Post-9/11 GI Bill® recipients have access to tuition assistance, admittance fees, and housing costs. For some qualifying recipients, a relocation allowance is provided to transfer locations to attend the school of their choice.
Total payout varies depending on a veteran’s service status, length of service, and skills training, and can fund up to $21,000 for veterans who choose to attend private, public, or foreign schools.
Forever GI Bill®
The Forever GI Bill®, which provides many of the same benefits as the Post-9/11 GI Bill®, was enacted in 2017 to include veterans who have been out of active duty for more than 15 years. It also includes children and spouses of deceased service members, providing permanent entitlement to those who become eligible for benefits on or after January 1, 2013.
The MGIB-AD stands for the Montgomery GI Bill® for Active Duty, and provides benefits for educational funding and career training for active duty service members. Program recipients can get VA educational benefits to use on tuition, books, and career training for up to three years.
The MGIB-SR program stands for the Montgomery GI Bill® for Select Reserve members. This program allows select reserve military personnel to access vocational and educational funding to pay for college degrees, flight training, vocational training certifications, and more.
Finally, the REAP program, or Reserve Educational Assistance Program, helps service members pay for vocational or institutional courses and flight training. REAP funding cannot be combined with financial assistance from other VA programs, and the amount provided depends on the duration of active duty service or as a member of the reserves.
While the GI Bill® is most often used for trade schools or university degrees, there are a few unconventional uses. For veterans interested in obtaining a certification in their field, the GI Bill ® can help you get reimbursed for testing fees for qualifying jobs such as mechanics, medical technicians, therapists, or website developers.
The GI Bill® also supports veterans who are interested in becoming entrepreneurs. Some entrepreneurship training courses are reimbursable for eligible recipients under both the Montgomery GI Bills and the Post-9/11 GI Bill®.
What Schools Are Covered by the GI Bill®?
While there are plenty of options for veterans, not all vocational and trade schools are covered by the GI Bill®. However, there are a wide range of educational institutions accepted, from cosmetology to electrician schools. Fortunately, Eleven Fifty Academy is a VA approved trade school, providing immersive IT training for veterans.
Veterans who serve at least 36 months of active duty can be eligible for 36 months of college or career training, as detailed in the Post-9/11 GI Bill®. Along with tuition coverage, veterans can receive a monthly housing allowance and a stipend for books and supplies.
Although it’s possible to use your GI Bill® to cover foreign school tuition, the rate is capped at the national maximum tuition and fee rate in the U.S.
Several community colleges and technical schools are now part of the GI Bill®, including Eleven Fifty Academy. It’s common for vocational schools to offer online courses, and many GI Bill® approved programs such as Eleven Fifty will support students with online learning requirements.
When you’re looking for vocational or trade schools, be sure to look for additional veteran support programs within those schools. Schools that have programs such as veterans support groups or college-veteran programs can make a big difference in the transition from active duty to the classroom.
Tech careers for veterans are often a great transition from active service. Coding bootcamps require discipline, attention to detail, and perseverance, skills that most veterans find easy to tackle. Even with a non-college degree, coding bootcamp graduates can often find full-time employment.
When it comes time to find a job, Eleven Fifty Academy helps land veterans in jobs in the tech industry. Many veterans are welcomed into the workforce, as employers are usually aware of the benefits of hiring veterans.
What Certifications Does the GI Bill® Cover?
While certifications aren’t always necessary to obtain a job after graduation, they can be helpful for promotions and to stand out against your competitors. The GI Bill® can be used to cover up to $2,000 for testing fees required for your certification.
The GI Bill® covers Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) for certificate programs. At Eleven Fifty Academy, veterans receive $1,509 for housing allowance and an additional $1,000 for books.
To find VA-approved online certificate programs and review your coverage options, use the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs comparison tool.