Some veterans choose to go use their Post 9/11 GI Bill to go to school in a foreign country. This is easily done, provided the school is VA-approved. You can learn the same subjects as going to school here in the States, but also enjoy (and learn) the ambiance and culture of a different country at the same time. It can be a very rewarding and memorable experience.
Finding Foreign VA-Approved Schools
To ensure your perspective school is approved by the VA, use the Weam’s School Search tool. To start your search, go to: http://inquiry.vba.va.gov/weamspub/buildSearchInstitutionCriteria.do.
Click on the “Country” Button. Now select and click on the country from the Drop-Down Menu – there are 100 countries to choose from – and click the “Submit” button.
One search (that I know of) is quirky. For example, if you click on England, only one choice is returned. However, if you click on the United Kingdom, 161 choices are returned.
Tuition payments and the book stipend are the same going to a foreign school as they are attending a private school here in the U.S. The maximum amount the VA will pay in tuition (sent directly to a school) is no more than $21,970.46 per year. The book stipend paid to the student is the same – up to $1,000 per academic year, depending on the number of credits taken per semester and paid at the rate of $41.67 per credit per semester (until the annual cap is reached).
Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA)
One payment differing from attending either a public or private school here in the U.S. is the MHA. Here it is based on the zip code of the school and paid out at the E-5-with-dependents pay grade, but foreign school attendees get a flat-rate of $1,611 per month regardless of which VA-approved foreign school they attend. Just like here, the MHA is not paid when not in school.
If you are from a sparsely populated rural area that meets the VA’s definition, you may qualify for the relocation fee. They define it as: “ A one-time payment of $500 may be payable to certain individuals relocating from highly rural areas if they reside in a county with 6 persons or less per square mile (as determined by the most recent decennial census) and either:
- physically relocate at least 500 miles to attend an educational institution or
- travel by air to physically attend an educational institution if no other land-based transportation exists.”
Sometimes it is fun and exciting to have an extended stay in a foreign land by going to school there. And since the Post 9/11 GI Bill can be used in many different countries abroad, the cost isn’t much more than going to school here in the U.S. And with the world as your school, you can learn so much more both in and out of the classroom.