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Distance Learning v. On-Campus Regarding Monthly Housing Allowance

Monthly Housing Allowance

Effective August 1, 2018. A monthly housing allowance (MHA) is paid directly to the student at the beginning of each month for the previous month. MHA will only be paid while the student is not on active duty (e.g. MHA payments will stop immediately on the day a member enters on active duty or will begin the day after when a member is released from duty when enrolled and otherwise eligible. The housing allowance is prorated by the student’s length of service percentage (e.g. length of service determines benefit level) and the student’s rate of pursuit (RoP). The MHA paid is based upon the Department of Defense’s Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) for an “E-5 with dependents” and the zip code of the campus or training location where the student physically attends the majority of their courses. More information on monthly housing allowance benefits can be found on the GI Bill® website.

For students affected by Colmery Section 501 (First used Chapter 33 on or after January 1, 2018) will receive the capped DoD rate based on the physical campus location where he or she is taking the majority of their credit hours. 

Students not affected by Colmery Section 501 (First used Chapter 33 prior to January 1, 2018) will continue to receive the uncapped VA MHA rates.

Housing Rate Decrease, Rate Protection

Rate of Pursuit and the Monthly Housing Allowance

Rate of pursuit of pursuit (RoP) applies specifically to Chapter 33. It differs from training time, which is used for all other chapters. Schools certify actual credit. VA calculates RoP by dividing the number of credit (or credit hour equivalents) being pursued by the number of credits considered to be full-time by the school. The resulting percentage is the student’s RoP.

Examples: If full-time is12 credits, then RoP:

6 credits (or credit equivalents) is 50% (6 ¸ 12 = 50%)

7 credits (or credit equivalents) is 58% (7 ¸ 12 = 58%)

The housing allowance is paid if the student’s RoP is more than 50%. Rate of pursuit determines whether a student receives or doesn’t receive the housing allowance. If pursuit is more than 50% the student receives the housing allowance. If the RoP is 50% or less, then the student doesn’t receive the housing allowance.  (Active duty personnel receiving Chapter 33 benefits or spouses of active duty personnel receiving Transfer of Entitlement (ToE) benefits are not eligible for the housing allowance).

Distance Learning and Housing Allowance

(38 CFR 21.9505 and 38 CFR 21.4267)

Effective August 1, 2009. Students whose enrollment was exclusively distance learning training were not eligible for the monthly housing allowance (MHA). If a student’s enrollment was both distance learning and resident training (standard classroom instruction) and pursuit was more than 50%, then the MHA could be paid for the period of residence training.

Effective October 1, 2011. Individuals only enrolled in distance learning courses were eligible for an MHA equal to 50% of the national average of all BAH rates. Rates are multiplied by the rate of pursuit (RoP) rounded to the nearest multiple of 10.