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Education and Training

About this Tool

 

GI Bill® Comparison Tool: About This Tool

VA is making it easier to research colleges and employers approved for the GI Bill. Answer just a few questions about yourself and the school/employer you are considering. You’ll receive an estimate of your GI Bill benefits and some information about the facility’s value and affordability.

 

ELIGIBILITY

Cumulative Post-9/11 Service

The Post-9/11 GI Bill provides financial support for education and a housing allowance to qualifying individuals with at least 90 days of aggregate service after September 10, 2001, or individuals discharged with a service-connected disability after 30 days. You must have received an honorable discharge to be eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

 

Individuals serving an aggregate period of active duty after September 10, 2001, of:

Percentage of Maximum Benefit Payable

At least 36 months

100%

At least 30 continuous days and discharged due to service-connected disability

100%

At least 30 months < 36 months

90%

At least 24 months < 30 months

80%

At least 18 months < 24 months

70%

At least 12 months < 18 months

60%

At least 6 months < 12 months

50%

At least 90 days < 6 months

40%

 

Children of a member of the Armed Forces who died in the line of duty on or after September 11, 2001, may be eligible for Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits under the Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship Program

Military Status

Post 9/11 GI Bill recipients serving on Active Duty (or transferee spouses of a servicemember on active duty) are not eligible to receive a monthly housing allowance.

 

SCHOOL/EMPLOYER

Post 9/11 GI Bill Approved Programs

You can use the Post-9/11 GI Bill at colleges, universities, trade schools, and for on-the-job training, apprenticeship, and flight schools. To see what programs are currently approved for VA benefits, go to our website. You can use the Post 9/11 GI Bill for tutorial assistance, licensing/certification tests (attorney license, cosmetology license, etc.) and national exams (SAT, LSAT, etc.).

The Post 9/11 GI Bill Comparison Tool uses a list of schools offering approved programs from VA’s database. The GI Bill Comparison Tool will update its list of approved programs quarterly. However, new information is added to the VA database every day. Click here to access a list of approved schools by state. 

Online Courses

Students training solely by distance learning may receive a monthly housing allowance equal to one-half the national average military Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH). 

Is your school accredited

Accreditation matters if you plan to start school at one institution and transfer to another to complete your degree. Be sure to ask any potential school about their credit transfer policy. The U.S. Department of Education (ED) maintains a database of accredited postsecondary institutions and programs. Accreditation is a recognized credential for schools and some programs. As stated by the ED, the goal of accreditation is to ensure that the education provided by institutions of higher education meets acceptable levels of quality.

Accreditation types (Regional vs. National vs Hybrid)

Is the school regionally or nationally accredited at the institution level?

Schools are accredited by private educational associations of regional or national scope. While the Department of Education does not say whether regional or national accreditation is better, a recent ED study revealed that, “Nearly 90 percent of all student credit transfer opportunities occurred between institutions that were regionally, rather than nationally, accredited.” http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2014/2014163.pdf

The GI Bill Comparison Tool utilizes ED’s database of accredited postsecondary institutions and programs which is updated every three months. The tool checks to see if the school is accredited at the institutional level by either regional, national or hybrid accreditors. If the school has both regional and national accreditation the tool lists the school as regionally accredited. Hybrid agencies are recognized for the accreditation of both specialized programs at larger institutions and for the accreditation of freestanding institutions.

The GI Bill Comparison Tool matches VA approved schools with ED’s database of accredited postsecondary institutions and programs using a data crosswalk that matches VA facility codes to ED’s IPEDS codes and ED’s OPE IDs.

Accrediting status

Is the school’s accreditation on probation for any reason?  To see more information about the school accreditation status, please visit ED’s database of accredited postsecondary institutions and programs.

GI BILL BENEFITS ESTIMATOR

This tool allows Veterans, Servicemembers and eligible family members to estimate their GI Bill benefits. 

Assumptions

The GI Bill estimator assumes the following for students seeking to use their Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits:

  • Using the Post-9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33)
  • Enrolled full-time
  • Studying for the entire academic year

The GI Bill benefit estimator does NOT include:

  • Kickers / College Funds
  • Yellow Ribbon
  • Other financial aid

Post-9/11 Tuition/Fees Paid

The total amount of tuition and fees paid to a school on behalf of a student during the previous fiscal year (October 1st through September 30th).

Which GI Bill benefit are you thinking of using?

You may be eligible for several types of VA education and training benefits depending on when and how long you served. There are several things to consider before you apply for a GI Bill program. One person may benefit more by using the Montgomery GI Bill while another may make an irrevocable election and use the Post-9/11 GI Bill instead. This tool allows you to compare the different programs and make an educated decision on which benefit best suits your needs.

For more detailed information on eligibility requirements and general program benefits, please check out this page: http://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/comparison_tool.asp    

Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) 

If you are a transitioning Servicemember or Veteran with a service-connected disability, you may be eligible to apply for the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) Program by visiting http://vabenefits.vba.va.gov/vonapp/main.asp and submitting an on-line application, VA Form 28-1900. A VA Counselor will determine if you are entitled to services and assist with comparing education benefits.  If you have questions regarding the application process, please call 1-800-827-1000.

Completed an enlistment of (MGIB):

The Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty provides education benefits to Veterans and Servicemembers who have served at least two years of active duty. When using this tool, you will need to select the length of your original active duty enlistment obligation in order to get an estimate of your monthly benefit. The amount of time you served (2 year enlistment vs. 3+ year enlistment) will impact your monthly payment amount when using the Montgomery GI Bill. To learn more about MGIB please visit http://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/mgib_ad.asp

Are you eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill?

To be eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill you must have at least 90 days of aggregate active duty service after September 10, 2001, or have been discharged with a service-connected disability. You must also have received an honorable discharge. You can be eligible while on active duty if you have completed at least 90 days of service. To learn more about the Post-9/11 GI Bill please visit http://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/post911_gibill.asp.

Length of Longest Active Duty Tour (REAP)

The REAP program pays benefits to eligible Reservists or Guard members who were called or ordered to active duty for at least 90 consecutive days in response to a war or national emergency declared by the President or Congress. REAP payment amounts are based on length of consecutive days of active duty service with rates increasing at one year and again at two years of consecutive service. To learn more about REAP please visit http://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/reap.asp.

Did you participate in buy-up program?

Some Servicemembers may have contributed an additional $600 to the GI Bill to receive increased monthly benefit payments. This increased monthly benefit is only applicable to the Montgomery GI Bill or REAP. To learn more about the Buy-up program please visit http://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/resources/benefits_)resources/rates/600_buyup.asp.

Tuition/Fees

All tuition & fee benefits are paid directly to the school. VA pays the in-state tuition & fee rate at public schools, private and foreign schools are capped at the national maximum rate. Click here for more information

Monthly Housing Allowance

Your Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA) is generally the same as the military’s Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) for an E-5 with dependents. Your MHA is based on the ZIP code for your school. MHA rate increases are effective August 1 (the beginning date of the academic year). For more information about MHA increases or decreases click here.

There are some exceptions to MHA (see table below), to determine your MHA for most circumstances click here:

MHA Rate Exceptions

Type of School

MHA Rate

Foreign School

National Average BAH Rate

Schools in US Territories

E-5 with dependents OHA Rate for school location

Exclusively Online Training (No Classroom Instruction)

½ of the National Average BAH Rate

Attending classes at ½ time or less

NOT PAYABLE

Active Duty Trainee (or transferee spouse of Servicemember)

NOT PAYABLE

 

Book Stipend

A yearly book and supplies stipend of up to $1,000 paid proportionately based on enrollment.

Estimated Books

Enter the total you expect to pay for books and supplies for the year. When you select some schools we import the average cost for books and supplies for an undergraduate student as reported by the school to the Department of Education through IPEDS. This is the same information that is published on College Navigator. From IPEDS: "The average cost of books and supplies for a typical student for an entire academic year (or program). Does not include unusual costs for special groups of students (e.g., engineering or art majors), unless they constitute the majority of students at an institution." If the school you selected does not display any books and supply costs, note that some schools are not required to report that information to the Department of Education.

 

VETERAN INDICATORS

Principles of Excellence

The Principles of Excellence are guidelines for educational institutions receiving Federal funding. Schools that agree to participate will:

  • Provide students with a personalized form covering the total cost of an education program.
  • Provide educational plans for all Military and Veteran education beneficiaries.
  • End fraudulent and aggressive recruiting techniques and misrepresentation.
  • Provide accommodations for Service Members and Reservists absent due to service requirements.
  • Designate a Point of Contact for academic and financial advising.
  • Ensure accreditation of all new programs prior to enrolling students.
  • Align institutional refund policies with those under Title IV.

Foreign schools, high schools, on-the-job training and apprenticeship programs, residency and internship programs, and those who do not charge tuition and fees were not asked to comply with the Principles of Excellence.

While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, prospective students should only use this as a planning tool. The Principles of Excellence schools will be updated quarterly. 

Yellow Ribbon

The Post-9/11 GI Bill can cover all in-state tuition and fees at public degree granting schools, but may not cover all private degree granting schools and out-of-state tuition. The Yellow Ribbon Program provides additional support in those situations. Institutions voluntarily enter into an agreement with VA to fund uncovered charges. VA matches each dollar of unmet charges the institution agrees to contribute, up to the total cost of the tuition and fees. Click here for FAQs about the Yellow Ribbon Program

Only Veterans entitled to the maximum benefit rate (based on service requirements) or their designated transferees may receive this funding. Active duty Servicemembers and their spouses are not eligible for this program (child transferees of active duty Servicemembers may be eligible if the servicemember is qualified at the 100% rate). This information will be updated quarterly. 

GI Bill Beneficiaries

The number of Veterans, Servicemembers and family members utilizing their GI Bill benefits attending this institution the previous calendar year. This number includes all the different chapters of the GI Bill (e.g., Post-9/11, Montgomery GI Bill: MGIB, Reserve Education Assistance Program-REAP, and Vocational Rehabilitation). Please keep in mind that we include this number for informational purposes only and that high or low numbers of VA beneficiaries attending a particular school is not an indication one school is more military friendly than another. This information will be updated annually.

 

SCHOOL INDICATORS (non-Veteran specific)

Schools disclose key institutional performance metrics, including graduation and loan default rates as well as the median amount of Federal loans borrowed by students at the institution and the corresponding estimated monthly payment over a 10 year period.

Schools that only offer graduate programs are not required to report these rates and will be shown as “Not Reported.” School indicators are then evaluated against other schools. Users interested in further school-specific information may wish to visit the Department of Education’s College Navigator website for a more complete set of indicators.

The GI Bill Comparison Tool relies on data crosswalk between the Department of Veterans’ Affairs list of approved programs and employers (45,000+) and the Department of Education’s lists of schools. If the school indicators for a particular institution are not correctly labeled, please lets us know by emailing 223D.VBAVACO@va.gov with “Comparison Tool” in the subject line (see “Source Information” below for more details). 

Graduation rate

The graduation rate displayed is for first-time, full-time degree or certificate-seeking undergraduate students who began at the institution. For primarily bachelor’s degree-granting institutions, the graduation rate displayed is for students beginning in Fall 2005 and seeking a bachelor’s degree. For primarily associate’s degree-granting institutions and primarily certificate-granting institutions, the graduation rate displayed is for students beginning in Fall 2008.

The institution’s graduation rate is displayed with an indication of how it compares with graduation rates among institutions that primarily grant the same level of award. For example, the comparison group for an institution that primarily awards bachelor’s degrees is all institutions that primarily award bachelor’s degrees.

Data used to calculate an institution’s graduation rate and transfer-out rate, if applicable, come from an institution’s annual submission to the U.S. Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). For more information about IPEDS, please visit http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/about 

Loan default rate

Loan default rate refers to the institution’s three-year Federal student loan cohort default rate. This is the percentage of an institution’s borrowers who entered repayment on certain Federal student loans in federal fiscal year 2009 (between October 1, 2008 and September 30, 2009) and defaulted before September 30, 2011. The national cohort default rate is also displayed.

Data used to calculate an institution’s cohort default rate comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS). For more information about the cohort default rate, please visit http://www2.ed.gov/offices/OSFAP/defaultmanagement/cdr.html

Median borrowing

The median amount of Federal student loans borrowed for students' undergraduate study at the institution is displayed. The estimated monthly repayment amount is also displayed.

The monthly repayment amount is displayed with an indication of how it compares with monthly repayment amounts among institutions that primarily grant the same level of award. For example, the comparison group for an institution that primarily awards bachelor’s degrees is all institutions that primarily award bachelor’s degrees.

Data used to calculate the median amount of Federal student loans borrowed by students for their undergraduate study is from the U.S. Department of Education’s National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS). Data represent all undergraduate borrowers who graduated or withdrew from the institution between July 1, 2010, and June 30, 2011. All Federal loans for undergraduate study, including Parent PLUS loans, are included for this cohort of borrowers. Only the debt associated with the students’ attendance at the institution is included in the calculation. The estimated monthly repayment amount has been calculated using the Department’s standard graduated repayment calculator based on an interest rate of 6.8%. For more information about repayment calculators and interest rates, please visit http://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/understand/plans.

Note that a student’s actual borrowing, interest rate, and monthly repayment amount may be different. 

Student Veterans Group

Does this college/university have a student led student veterans group on campus?

If a school has a student veterans group that is not represented on the comparison tool, please let us know by emailing us at 224A.VBAVACO@va.gov with “Comparison Tool” in the subject line. Based on your feedback, we will be making quarterly updates to the GI Bill Comparison Tool.

Please note this email address is only for website related issues, all questions regarding GI Bill benefits should be directed to the “Ask a Question” section of our website. 

Veteran Success on Campus (VSOC)

The VetSuccess on Campus (VSOC) program aims to help Veterans, Servicemembers, and their qualified dependents succeed and thrive through a coordinated delivery of on-campus benefits assistance and counseling, leading to completion of their education and preparing them to enter the labor market in viable careers. Read the VetSuccess on Campus (VSOC) fact sheet.

For more information visit: https://www.ebenefits.va.gov/ebenefits/vsoc  

In-state student?

If you are attending a public school, are you considered an in-state student?

Generally, in-state residents are charged a discounted rate of tuition and fees. Click here for more information 

Tuition / Fees (/year)

Enter the total tuition/fees, you will be charged for the academic year.

When you select some schools, we import the average tuition/fees for an undergraduate student as reported by the school to the Department of Education through IPEDS. This is the same information that is published on College Navigator.

From IPEDS: “The amount of tuition and required fees covering a full academic year most frequently charged to students. These values represent what a typical student would be charged and may not be the same for all students at an institution. If tuition is charged on a per-credit-hour basis, the average full-time credit hour load for an entire academic year is used to estimate average tuition. Required fees include all fixed sum charges that are required of such a large proportion of all students that the student who does not pay the charges is an exception.”

If the school you selected does not display any tuition /fees, please keep in mind that some schools are not required to report tuition/fees to the Department of Education. 

In-state tuition/fees (/year)

Enter amount of tuition/fees your school charges in-state students.

When you select some schools, we import the average in-state tuition/fees for an undergraduate student as reported by the school to the Department of Education through IPEDS. This is the same information that is published on College Navigator.

Generally, in-state residents are charged a discounted rate of tuition and fees.VA pays the in-state tuition & fee rate at public schools. Click here for more information 

Receiving Yellow Ribbon?

Does your school participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program?

The Post-9/11 GI Bill can cover all in-state tuition and fees at public degree granting schools, but may not cover all private degree granting schools and out-of-state tuition. The Yellow Ribbon Program provides additional support in those situations. Institutions voluntarily enter into an agreement with VA to fund uncovered charges. VA matches each dollar of unmet charges the institution agrees to contribute, up to the total cost of the tuition and fees. Click here for FAQs about the Yellow Ribbon Program

Only Veterans entitled to the maximum benefit rate (based on service requirements) or their designated transferees may receive this funding. Active duty Servicemembers and their spouses are not eligible for this program (child transferees of active duty Servicemembers may be eligible if the Servicemember is qualified at the 100% rate). This information will be updated quarterly. 

Yellow Ribbon amount from school (/year)

How much will you be receiving in Yellow Ribbon support from your school? VA matches each dollar of unmet charges the institution agrees to contribute up to the total cost of tuition and fees.

Click here for FAQs about the Yellow Ribbon Program 

Scholarships (not Pell)

Are you receiving any scholarships and grants this year? If so, how much? Please only include scholarships and grants that go directly to pay tuition/fees. 

Military tuition assistance

Are you receiving any military tuition assistance this year? If so, how much?

The Post-9/11 GI Bill pays the net-cost of your education after scholarships or financial aid amounts are applied. This includes amounts already paid by military tuition assistance. 

Enrolled

Are you considered a full-time or part-time student by your school?

Students attending school less then full-time receive a pro-rated monthly housing allowance. Students attending school exactly ½ time or less do not receive a monthly housing allowance.

For more information about MHA increases or decreases click here 

School calendar

Is your school on a semester, quarter or non-traditional calendar system? 

Will be working

How many hours per week will you be working on your OJT / Apprenticeship? Beneficaries working less than 120 hours/month (or approximately 30 hours/week) receive a prorated monthly housing allowance. 

Eligible for Kicker

Are you eligible to receive a kicker bonus?

A kicker bonus is an additional incentive, paid for by the Department of Defense, to extend a tour of duty or retain highly skilled military personnel. The money is a bonus on top of any GI Bill payments paid directly to the Veteran.

Number of Dependents

A dependent is defined as a child, stepchild, spouse, or the un-remarried widow(er) of the Veteran. 

Benefit Calculator Results

The Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits calculator is a useful tool to estimate how much your Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits will cover at a particular institution. The results of the GI Bill benefits calculator are not an official determination of benefits.

To make the calculator user friendly, we made the following assumptions:

  • Semesters are 4.5 months and quarters are 3 months;
  • Students maintain their enrollment status the full year (not full-time one term and part-time the next);
  • VA considers the following when calculating Rate of Pursuit (ROP) in the benefit estimation:
    • Full time students are taking 12 credits per term
    • 3/4 time students are taking 9 credits per term; the calculator uses .8 to determine the amount due
    • More than 1/2 time students are taking 7-8 credits per term; the calculator uses .6 to determine the amount due
    • Less than 1/2 time students are taking 1-6 credits per term; the calculator uses .5 to determine the amount due
    • Students are not enrolling in the summer term, and
  • Rates are rounded to the nearest dollar when calculating the monthly housing allowance

VA Complaints: The number of closed, Principles of Excellence-related, complaints submitted to VA through the GI Bill Feedback system. To learn more please visit http://www.benefits.va.gov/GIBILL/Feedback.asp.

 

 

VA Complaints (all campuses):

The number of closed, Principles of Excellence-related, complaints for schools with the same six-digit OPEID code. To learn more please visit http://www.benefits.va.gov/GIBILL/Feedback.asp. 

  

SOURCE INFORMATION

Download the data files used for the GI Bill Comparison Tool:

  • Approved GI Bill Programs, Veteran indicators and the crosswalk between VA and ED’s list of schools (updated November 2014): Excel format .
  • School Indicators from the Financial Aid Shopping Sheet (last updated December 2013): Excel format.
  • Data Schema for the Financial Aid Shopping Sheet (last updated December 2013): Excel format.
  • The Department of Education's Financial Aid Shopping Sheet  

VA Data Sources

If you have any feedback about approved GI Bill programs, Veteran indicators or the crosswalk please let us know by emailing 223D.VBAVACO@va.gov with “Comparison Tool” in the subject line. Please keep in mind that the crosswalk between the Department of Veterans Affairs list of approved programs and employers (45,000+) and the Department of Education lists of schools (7,000) continues to be a work in progress. Any feedback on that crosswalk is appreciated. The GI Bill Comparison Tool data files will be updated quarterly. 

ED Data Sources

If you have any feedback on the school indicators from the Financial Aid Shopping Sheet please contact the Department of Education directly. The Department of Education updates the data for the Financial Aid Shopping Sheet annually.

  

FEEDBACK ON THIS TOOL

If you experience technical issues or have feedback on how we can improve the GI Bill Comparison Tool, please send us an email at 223D.VBAVACO@va.gov with “Comparison Tool” in the subject line.  Based on your feedback, we will be making quarterly updates to the GI Bill Comparison Tool.

Please note this email address is only for website related issues, all questions regarding GI Bill benefits should be directed to the “Ask a Question” section of our website. 

ACCESSIBILITY AND THE COMPARISON TOOL

VA is dedicated to providing access for everyone. We support the goal of access for everyone by providing services and strategies to implement the goals and objectives of the Section 508 legislation.

The Comparison Tool is accessible to users utilizing assisted technologies, such as screen readers, screen magnifiers and voice recognition. Answer just a few questions about yourself and the school/employer you are considering and you’ll receive an estimate of your GI Bill benefits and some information about the facility’s value and affordability. The only required field for the comparison tool to work is the school/employer name.

Education Service focuses on supporting the Secretary's goals in the advancement of people with disabilities. We work to increase awareness of accessibility issues for VA stakeholders, both internal and external.

For more information about Section 508, see  www.section508.gov