The VA Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued a management advisory memorandum on differences in housing allowances for Post-9/11 GI Bill students attending non-college degree schools. These schools offer training programs, such as those for truck drivers, emergency medical technicians, and beauticians.
Generally, the education program entitlement for these schools is 36 months. However, the OIG team found that the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) could allocate students from less than one month to almost six years of housing allowance because of how VBA is required to calculate the amounts.
The calculations, which are required by federal law, are based on the number of school days, whether the student attends full-time or part-time, and the tuition and fees for the course or training program. A lower-cost school slowly draws down a student’s entitlement months, while more expensive schools quickly draw down the entitlement months. A student attending a higher-cost school could exhaust the education program entitlement and housing allowance in three months, while a student attending a lower-cost school could attend school for five years and still receive housing allowance payments. In comparison, full-time students attending institutions of higher learning generally receive three years of housing allowance benefits.
The OIG memorandum provided more details on the calculations, as well as the team’s analysis of housing allowances for students attending non-college degree schools from August 1, 2014, through July 31, 2019. VBA’s response indicates it will consider using the analysis to determine whether to request a legislative change to how entitlements and housing allowance payments are calculated for Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits.
The OIG is not initiating an audit at this time. It requests that VBA inform the OIG of any actions taken in response to the memorandum and the outcome of those actions.