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Maximum Benefit Increases for Post-9/11 GI Bill

July 25, 2012

As of August 1, independent institutions will see veterans’ maximum Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits increase from $17,500 to to $18,077.50. The statutory increase mirrors the increase in the average cost of undergraduate tuition in the United States, as determined by the Department of Education.

When the Veterans Educational Assistance Improvements Act (PL 111-377) set the maximum benefit at $17,500 for veterans attending independent institutions, it included a provision that allows the benefit to increase in the same manner as Chapter 30 VA benefits (38 USC 3015 h).

That section defines the increase as the amount by which “the average cost of undergraduate tuition in the United States, as determined by the National Center for Educational Statistics, for the last academic year preceding the beginning of the fiscal year for which the increase is made” exceeds the average cost of undergraduate tuition for the academic year preceding the academic year previously mentioned. The resulting maximum benefit is calculated at $18,077.50.


The VA has posted a table of exceptions to the $18,077.50 maximum. This is a result of the Restoring GI Bill Fairness Act of 2011 (PL 112-26), which allows Chapter 33-eligible veterans enrolled since January 4, 2011, to receive the greater of the instituted cap for tuition and fees under the Improvements Act or the established charges that would have been paid under the in-state maximums formula for the original Post-9/11 GI Bill. Benefits paid under the Fairness Act will be available through July 31, 2014, for veterans enrolled in the same institution.


Bryan Dickson
Senior Policy Analyst