How Much Does The Gi Bill Pay Per Month? A Complete Breakdown

The GI Bill is one of the most valuable benefits available to veterans and active duty service members pursuing higher education or job training. But figuring out exactly how much you can get each month from the GI Bill can be confusing, as the amount varies based on several factors

In this complete guide, we’ll break down everything you need to know about GI Bill monthly payment rates, including how the benefit works, eligibility requirements, and how to maximize your monthly payments.

Overview of the GI Bill Monthly Allowance

The GI Bill provides a monthly living allowance also known as the Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA) to help cover housing expenses while attending school or training. This payment is in addition to the tuition and fees which are paid directly to the school.

The Post-9/11 GI Bill is the most widely used GI Bill program. For 2023-2024, the maximum monthly allowance for veterans using the Post-9/11 GI Bill is:

  • $3,510 per month for those attending in-person classes at public schools in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area of Florida – the highest BAH rate region.

  • $2,109 per month for those attending foreign schools or taking only distance learning classes. This rate is equal to the national average BAH for an E-5 with dependents.

  • $1,054.50 per month for those attending online-only courses at the half-time rate.

Keep reading to understand how your individual monthly payment is calculated based on your GI Bill eligibility percentage, course load, and school location.

Who is Eligible for GI Bill Monthly Allowances?

To receive a monthly housing payment, you must be eligible for GI Bill benefits and meet a few requirements:

  • You must be attending school at least half-time. This means at least 4 credits per semester for undergraduate study.

  • You cannot be on active duty or using transferred Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits from a spouse on active duty.

  • Your classes cannot be entirely online or correspondence courses, with one exception. You can receive the housing allowance if taking at least one course in-person while enrolled in other distance learning courses.

  • You must be within an enrollment period and not on a school break.

In addition, eligibility for the maximum monthly payment rate requires at least 36 months of qualifying active duty service post-9/11. Those with shorter service will receive a reduced payment percentage as outlined below.

How Monthly GI Bill Payments Are Calculated

The exact amount you receive per month depends primarily on 3 factors:

1. GI Bill Eligibility Percentage

Those with at least 36 months of active duty service are eligible for 100% of the maximum monthly payment. Veterans with shorter service will receive a percentage of the full payment based on their eligibility tier:

  • 90% for 30-35 months
  • 80% for 24-29 months
  • 70% for 18-23 months
  • 60% for 6-17 months
  • 50% for 90 days to 5 months

For example, a veteran eligible for 80% of Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits would receive a maximum of $2,808 per month at the Miami BAH rate.

2. Course Load

The number of credits you are enrolled in determines if you receive the full or partial housing allowance each month.

  • Full-time – Receive 100% of your MHA rate
  • 3/4 time – Receive 75% of your MHA rate
  • 1/2 time – Receive 50% of your MHA rate
  • Less than 1/2 time – Not eligible for MHA

Taking 12 credits or more per semester is usually considered full-time. Check with your school for their specific definitions.

3. School Location

For in-person classes, your monthly payment is based on the BAH rate for an E-5 with dependents in the zip code of where your classes take place. Rates vary significantly across the country.

For example, the 2023 BAH rate for Phoenix, AZ is $2,169 compared to $3,510 for Miami, FL.

Distance learners receive a flat national average BAH rate of $2,109 at the full-time rate.

Tips to Maximize Your Monthly GI Bill Housing Allowance

Here are some tips to make sure you receive the maximum monthly benefit payment you’ve earned:

  • Attend in-person classes when possible – Online students receive about half as much per month as those attending classes at a campus in a high BAH region.

  • Take at least 12 credits per semester – Carrying a full-time course load will ensure the full housing rate.

  • Check class ZIP codes – If classes meet at different locations, enroll where the BAH rate is highest.

  • Pick a school in a high BAH area – Big cities and metro areas generally have the highest rates.

  • Find a Yellow Ribbon school – These schools provide additional funds that can help cover living expenses.

  • Apply for scholarships, grants, work-study – Reducing tuition and fees can help offset housing costs.

  • Get a part-time job – Earnings from a campus job can supplement your allowance.

  • Opt for dorm housing – Many campuses require freshman to live on campus. Free housing means keeping your entire MHA payment.

  • Share off-campus housing – Splitting rent with roommates reduces costs.

With strategic planning, you can maximize your monthly GI Bill housing payments to cover more of your living expenses while in school.

GI Bill Monthly Allowances By State

Monthly payment rates vary widely across the country. Here are the current 2023-2024 maximum amounts for a few states:

  • California – Los Angeles County: $3,389
  • Texas – Houston: $2,310
  • Florida – Miami/Fort Lauderdale: $3,510
  • New York – Manhattan: $4,754
  • Illinois – Chicago: $3,312
  • Pennsylvania – Philadelphia: $3,105
  • Arizona – Phoenix: $2,169

Be sure to look up the rate for the specific county and ZIP code where you will attend classes. The Defense Department BAH calculator is a useful tool.

Online vs. In-Person BAH Rates

As mentioned, students taking all classes online receive a flat national average MHA of $2,109, regardless of where they live.

For in-person classes, your payment is tied to the BAH for your school’s zip code. Here’s a comparison:

Location Online Rate In-Person Rate
New York City $2,109 $4,754
Los Angeles $2,109 $3,389
Chicago $2,109 $3,312
Houston $2,109 $2,310
Phoenix $2,109 $2,169

Attending classes in-person results in substantially higher payments, especially in large metropolitan areas.

MHA Rates for Less Than Full-Time

Here are the monthly rates if attending school less than full time:

Course Load Payment Percentage
Full-time 100% of MHA rate
3/4 time 75% of MHA rate
1/2 time 50% of MHA rate
<1/2 time No MHA payment

For example, a half-time student would receive $1,754 per month in New York City, compared to the full-time rate of $4,754.

GI Bill Monthly Allowances Over 12 Months

Instead of just fall and spring semesters, taking classes year-round allows you to receive GI Bill housing payments each month.

Here are some examples of yearly payment totals:

  • Full-time:
    • New York City: $57,048 ($4,754 x 12 months)
    • Los Angeles: $40,668 ($3,389 x 12 months)
  • Half-time Online:
    • $12,654 ($1,054.50 x 12 months)

This demonstrates how you can maximize payments by attending full-time and taking summer classes.

MHA Payment Frequency

Your Monthly Housing Allowance is paid at the end of each month for the previous month’s enrollment period.

For example, you would receive the January payment in late February after verifying January enrollment.

The payment schedule sometimes results in a month or two delay after classes start. Be prepared for this gap between the semester start and first payment.

Impact of MHA Payments on Other Education Benefits

The tax-free MIHA payment does NOT reduce your other GI Bill benefits. You still receive full coverage of tuition/fees and book stipends.

However, the MHA does get reported as non-taxable income. This additional income could reduce eligibility for some need-based grants and scholarships.

GI Bill MHA for Apprenticeships and On-the-Job Training

The GI Bill can also be used for approved apprentices

How Much Does The Gi Bill Pay Per Month

Basic Eligibility Criteria for Post-9/11 GI Bill Benefits

At a minimum, you must have served at least 30 days of continuous active-duty service after Sep. 10, 2001, and have been discharged due to a service-connected disability; or served an aggregate of 90 days of active-duty or federal service after that date and received an honorable discharge.

For reserve and Guard members, the following duty qualifies for Post-9/11 GI Bill eligibility:

  • All Title 10 active duty supporting named contingency operations.
  • Title 32 service for the purpose of organizing, administering, recruiting, instructing, or training the National Guard.
  • Title 32 service under section 502(f) for the purpose of responding to a national emergency.
  • All voluntary active duty, with the exception of active duty for medical care and medical evaluation.

What Can You Use It For?

You can use your Post-911 GI Bill for many things, including:

The Post-9/11 GI Bill can pay your full tuition and fees at school, provide you with a monthly housing allowance while you are going to school, and give you up to $1,000 a year for books and supplies.

If you live in a remote location, the Post-9/11 GI Bill will even provide you with a one-time relocation allowance to move closer to your school.

Another provision of the Post-9/11 GI Bill allows eligible service members to transfer their unused benefits to family members.

Post-9/11 benefit payments are tiered based on the amount of creditable active-duty or federal service you have since Sep. 10, 2001. See the table below to determine your benefit tier.

Read More: How to Use the GI Bill to Pay for College

How Much Money I Made Using The Post 9/11 GI Bill


How much is the GI Bill monthly living allowance?

Type of School
MHA Rate
Foreign school
Schools in U.S. territories
E-5 with dependents overseas housing allowance (OHA) rate for school location if attending in person
Exclusively online training (no classroom instruction)

How much does the GI Bill pay for a public school?

The Post-9/11 GI Bill pays $8,000 of the $10,000 tuition at a public school. It can pay the full resident tuition if you are qualified to receive benefits at the 100% rate based on your active service.

How is the GI Bill pay calculated?

The GI Bill pay is determined based on ½, ¾, or Full Time enrollment, plus an additional amount for each dependent. Eligible students may be able to select payment at the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill BAH rate.

How much does Montgomery GI Bill buy-up cost?

Check the current payment rates for the $600 Montgomery GI Bill Buy-Up program. Get the current Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty (MGIB-AD) rates for October 1, 2023, to September 30, 2024. And learn about how we determine your rate.

How much does the GI Bill increase per year?

Effective Aug. 1, the maximum yearly GI Bill rate for those using the Post-9/11 GI Bill at a private or foreign school will increase from $27,120.05 to $28,937.09. For those enrolled in flight schools, the annual maximum GI Bill benefit will increase from $15,497.15 to $16,535.46.

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