Forever GI Bill

Learn how the Forever GI Bill may impact you at UMUC starting in fall 2018.

This page was last updated on May 8, 2018. Please check back as we continue to update this page with the latest news.

The Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017, known as the Forever GI Bill, affects several parts of GI Bill programs. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has new certification requirements for all schools, and at University of Maryland University College, we seek to advise all recipients of VA education benefits of the changes that may impact housing allowance rates and estimated timing of benefit payments.

Post-9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33) Monthly Housing Allowance

Currently, the Monthly Housing Allowance for students taking face-to-face and hybrid courses is required to be calculated based on the location of the institution where the student was enrolled. The Monthly Housing Allowance for online courses is required to be calculated based on the rate for Exclusively Online Training.

The following is effective for all courses beginning on or after August 1, 2018:

  • Stateside hybrid courses: The Monthly Housing Allowance will be calculated based on the ZIP Code of the campus where the student physically attends the majority of courses. Depending on where you take courses, your Monthly Housing Allowance may change.
  • UMUC Europe and UMUC Asia on-site classes: The Monthly Housing Allowance will be calculated based on the Foreign School rate. Depending on where you take courses, your Monthly Housing Allowance may change.
  • Online courses: The Monthly Housing Allowance will continue to be calculated using the rate for Exclusively Online Training, and the method for calculating your Monthly Housing Allowance will not be impacted.

The payment rates for each academic year can be found on the VA website.

Processing Delays

Due to the magnitude of the changes associated with the Forever GI Bill, the VA has informed all schools that they will be unable to process certification of benefits for the fall 2018 term until sometime in early August 2018. Students expecting to receive payments of their Monthly Housing Allowance are expected to experience processing delays of what is currently estimated to be 8 to 12 weeks.

You can seek additional details from the VA by visiting their website or by calling the VA Education Call Center at 1-888-442-4551 (Monday–Friday, 7 a.m.–6 p.m. Central Standard Time).

UMUC will continue monitor updates from the VA and post them to this page. Please also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to stay updated on the latest news regarding the Forever GI Bill.

FAQs: Forever GI Bill

What is the Forever GI Bill and where can I get more information about it? +

The Forever GI Bill is a new law passed by Congress and signed by the President in 2017 that brings several changes to VA education benefits. The intent is to make more benefits available and expand eligibility, though in some cases, some students may see less benefits.

An advocacy group, Student Veterans of America published an easy-to-read summary of the Forever GI Bill.

The VA also publishes information on their website and Facebook and Twitter accounts.

What new benefits am I eligible for under the Forever GI Bill? +

Read the Student Veterans of America summary of the Forever GI Bill, visit the VA website, or call the VA directly at 1-888-442-4551 (Monday–Friday, 7 a.m.–6 p.m. Central Standard Time) to understand the new benefits you may be eligible for under the Forever GI Bill.

When do Forever GI Bill changes take effect? +

Changes to the Monthly Housing Allowance calculation method go into effect for courses that begin on or after August 1, 2018. Other changes, such as the removal of the delimiting date for benefits, went into effect immediately upon signing the bill. Additional changes will be implemented over the next several years. Read the Student Veterans of America summary of the Forever GI Bill for more details.

I don't like these Forever GI Bill changes. How can I provide feedback? +

These changes are to conform to regulations and requirements set by the VA as a result of the new Forever GI Bill law. If you would like to voice your feedback, please feel free to contact the VA via their website and Facebook and Twitter accounts.

I requested certification and it still has not been processed. What is going on? +

The VA has implemented new certification procedures that require UMUC to defer certifications for hybrid/on-site courses until early August 2018. Online-only certifications may continue to be submitted within 10 to 15 business days. Once VA announces that certifications for hybrid/on-site enrollments may resume, we will process and submit the certification at that time.

What is the amount of the Post-9/11 Monthly Housing Allowance starting with fall 2018 courses? +

For those taking at least one hybrid/on-site course in the United States:

For an estimate of your Monthly Housing Allowance for courses beginning on or after August 1, 2018, you can take the following steps:

  • Step 1: Visit the Department of Defense Basic Allowance of Housing Calculator.
  • Step 2: Under the field, "DUTY ZIP CODE", enter the 5-digit ZIP Code of the classroom location.
  • Step 3: In the dropdown menu for "PAY GRADE," select "E5."
  • Step 4: Click on the "CALCULATE" button. If a privacy error shows up, click on the word "ADVANCED" and then click on the link to “Proceed to www.defensetravel.dod.mil (unsafe)."
  • Step 5: The dollar amount under the "E5 with DEPENDENTS" is the monthly Basic Allowance of Housing amount, which may be interpreted as the estimated value of the Monthly Housing Allowance.

Please be advised that while the Monthly Housing Allowance (calculated by the VA) and the Basic Allowance of Housing (calculated by the U.S. Department of Defense) are similar, they are not equivalent. The dollar amount shown on the Department of Defense website is for estimation purposes only. Actual payment amounts may vary. The VA does not publish a Monthly Housing Allowance calculator at this time.

For those taking online courses only:

The Monthly Housing Allowance for online-only enrollment is the same as prior to fall 2018, which is half of the national average of Monthly Housing Allowance. The current MHA rate for August 1, 2018–July 31, 2019 is approximately $825.00. Please check the VA payment rates on their website.