Change affects housing allowance benefits to veteran students

By Robert Boos
Posted August 22, 2019

A decision by the US. Department of Veterans Affairs affects students who are veterans and using the Chapter 33 (Post 9/11) benefits. This decision affects the way that a veteran student can attend Metropolitan State University without losing part of their monthly housing allowance.

GI Bill students enrolled in courses that combine distance and in-class learning will soon get paid a full housing allowance, due to a change by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The change impacts "hybrid courses," which the VA defines as any course that combines both classroom training and distance learning, often conducted online.

Starting Aug. 15, hybrid courses will be considered residence training for GI Bill purposes, triggering the Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA) to be paid accordingly. Until now, a student enrolled in hybrid classes was eligible for only half the national average MHA, a much lower payout than the full residence rate in almost all cases, unless their class met stringent requirements.

Starting Aug. 15, however, all GI Bill recipients taking hybrid courses using the Post-9/11 GI Bill will be paid the MHA amount for the location where they take the majority of their classroom training.

What does this mean? It means student veterans no longer need to have at least one resident or “seated” course to receive the full Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) if they have registered for hybrid courses.  You can enroll in all hybrid and online courses to receive the full BAH. This change does not affect online courses – only hybrid. This change is not retroactive and applies only to classes that begin on or after Aug. 15, 2019.

Prior to this decision, student veterans were required to enroll in at least one resident course each semester to qualify for housing allowance. Those did not enroll in a resident course received a reduced monthly housing allowance.

Students who are not enrolled as a greater than half-time student do not receive any housing allowance, as per current rules.

For questions regarding this change or any other issues regarding Veteran Student Services at Metropolitan State University, contact Julie Severson, Registrar’s Office/VA Certifying Official, at 651-793-1320 or Julie.Severson@metrostate.edu.