GI Bill for Non-College Degree Programs
The GI Bill is typically used to pay for higher education at a public university, private school, or other institutions approved by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
It can also be used to pay for non-college degree programs that train students in professional skills such as truck driving, cosmetology, HVAC repair, and other approved options.
Who Qualifies for GI Bill Benefits for Non-College Degree Programs?
If you qualify for the GI Bill and want to enroll in a VA-approved non-college degree program, you may be eligible for GI Bill benefits if the school has an agreement with the Department of Veterans Affairs.
GI Bill funds are offered to both the servicemember and dependents or spouses who have the GI Bill benefit transferred to them.
GI Bill Benefits for Non-College Degree Programs
VA.gov lists the benefits for certificate programs and other non-college coursework as follows:
- Money for tuition
- Money for books and supplies
- The amount paid is dependent on your GI Bill program and which school you choose.
- VA pays at the end of each month, specifically for hours spent learning.
Post-9/11 GI Bill: The VA offers a monthly benefits rate and a housing allowance based on the school’s location.
Montgomery GI Bill and other VA Programs: The benefit is paid monthly, the amount varies depending on your program and how much time you spent on active duty. There is no monthly housing allowance under this option in typical cases.
Related: What GI Bill Do I Have?
Using the GI Bill for Distance Learning
If you choose a non-college degree program that is online and you are using the Post-9/11 GI Bill, you may still qualify for a housing allowance, but VA.gov advises, “If you’re using your Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits while taking only distance-learning courses, we’ll pay a housing allowance based on 50% of the national average.”
Using the GI Bill to Pay for Certification Testing
Some non-college programs may require certification testing to complete the course.
If you are required to get certification testing outside of the non-college degree program you are taking you may qualify to use the GI Bill to pay for some or all of the testing fees where applicable.
VA.gov says veterans who qualify for the GI Bill can get up to $2000 to cover test fees, “for a job that requires a license or certification in order for you to work.”
VA.gov has a search tool to look up approved tests and their fees. The Department of Veterans Affairs offers to pay for “as many approved licenses or certifications as you’d like” with the following caveats and reminders:
- The VA pays for tests “even if you don’t score high enough to get your license or certification.”
- You can take the same test as many times as you need to get certified.
- The VA does not pay fees or costs related to getting the license document or certification document.
- The VA will not pay more than $2,000 in fees for a single test.
Related: How to Check Your GI Bill Status
About the author
Editor-in-Chief Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter/editor for Air Force Television News and the Pentagon Channel. His freelance work includes contract work for Motorola, VALoans.com, and Credit Karma. He is co-founder of Dim Art House in Springfield, Illinois, and spends his non-writing time as an abstract painter, independent publisher, and occasional filmmaker.