The Sky's The Limit: Pursuing Flight Lessons Through The GI Bill

Posted on: 29 December 2014

If you're a veteran and you dream of taking to the skies, it may please you to know that you can get tuition assistance -- and possibly even full coverage -- to pursue your dream of flight. Whether you want a flight engineering degree or you're itching for a pilot's license, taking the classes you need is easier than ever. Before you go off applying to schools, however, it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with just how much of the specific bill will be reimbursed for you.

Benefits Depend On Your Bill Or Program

If you plan to get your pilot's license with assistance from the VA, the exact program you use can affect your reimbursement. For example, both the Reserve Educational Assistance Program and the Montgomery GI Bill will cover 60% of your tuition costs and training fees while you attend classes.

The Post-9/11 GI Bill offers more support, but its benefits depend on the school you're attending. If you go to a public college or university for your flight training, you'll be able to get the full cost of tuition and fees covered. You can also get a stipend for your books and an allowance to help pay for housing while you learn. Private college students can still receive a stipend, but their tuition reimbursement is limited to $19,381 per academic year. 

Private Schools May Offer Yellow Ribbon Assistance

Because the tuition assistance for veterans attending private schools is capped, the schools themselves may participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program. This program is essentially a partnership between the VA and the learning institution in which the institution agrees to pay some of the costs that exceed the yearly maximum. Schools may cover all or part of the fees and the VA may also contribute beyond the original benefits in order to match money the school puts forward.

You Can Also Get Help For Vocational Courses

If you already have a degree, don't want to get one yet, or just want to get your license more quickly, you can also use funds from these programs to attend vocational pilot training. As with degree programs, the REAP and Montgomery GI Bills both offer 60% coverage of your fees.

Benefits are slightly reduced for students using the Post-9/11 GI Bill to attend vocational training, however. Veteran students are responsible for their own book and housing costs if they are not covered by other scholarships, and the yearly tuition and fees reimbursement is limited to $11,582.

If you yearn to soar in the sky, don't delay your dream any longer. Get in touch with aviation schools and your VA representative to find out which bills cover your tuition. You've done your part for your country -- now it's time to do your part for you.


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