Using the GI Bill for Flight School
The GI Bill is one of the most important military education benefits you can earn, but some people miss out on some aspects of the program because they didn’t know it was possible to use the benefit in certain non-traditional ways.
One of those options is using the GI Bill to pay for flight training.
Using the GI Bill to Pay for Flight Training
VA.gov says students may qualify to use their Montgomery GI Bill or Post-9/11 GI Bill to pay for flight school if they meet all of the following requirements:
- The student qualifies for the GI Bill
- The student has a private pilot’s license
- The student has a second-class medical certificate “valid for second-class privileges” OR
- The student has “a first-class medical certificate” if they are pursuing the Airline Transport Pilot certificate according to the VA.
Related: The Yellow Ribbon Program
Types of Flight Training
The GI Bill will pay for different types of training, including but not necessarily limited to:
- Rotary wing aircraft
- Dual engine aircraft
- Flight engineer training
GI Bill Benefits for Flight Training
Your GI Bill options for flight school depend greatly on the type of GI Bill you are using.
Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty (MGIB-AD): The GI Bill will pay for “some of the approved fees your flight school charges.”
The GI Bill rate you are paid monthly depends on how many classes you take and the nature of your training. You may only qualify for a partial monthly payment if any of the following applies:
Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR): The GI Bill pays for “some of the approved fees your flight school charges.”
The same guidelines for this GI Bill apply as for the MGIB-AD version above; if you attend less than full-time, have an apprenticeship, or are involved in OJT, you may not receive the full benefit.
Post-9/11 GI Bill: The GI Bill will pay for flight school, but the following will all apply:
- Your eligibility is based on how long you served on active duty after September 10, 2001,
- How much entitlement you have left
- The program and type of school–a vocational school, a degree program at a private school, or a degree program at a public college.
Related: Veteran Education Benefits Guide
Post-9/11 GI Bill Eligibility for Flight School
You’re eligible for 100% of the Post-9/11 GI Bill if at least one of the following is true:
- You served on active duty for at least 36 months
- You served on active duty and received a Purple Heart on or after September 11, 2001,
- You served on active duty for at least 30 continuous days and you were discharged for a service-connected disability
What to Know About Using the GI Bill to Pay for Flight Training
VA.gov states, “You can’t qualify for flight training benefits through Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA).” You also do not qualify for the Post-9/11 GI Bill monthly housing allowance if you attend flight school on the GI Bill.
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.