2014 GI Bill and Flight Training

Wing-it

Well-Known Member
Due to the original thread (started circa 2009) titled "New GI Bill and Flight Training" having outdated references and information, I felt it was time to start a new thread that would provide a more updated look at what the GI Bill has to offer today's prospective pilots. I will attach the last few entries of the old thread to provide some continuity. Good luck to fellow Veterans in finding the program that best fits your needs.
 
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Wing-it

Well-Known Member
Quoted from former thread:

You should have no problem taking helicopter courses at an IHL and having the GI Bill pay for it.

While on an NFO instructor tour in Pensacola I registered for the summer semester at Florida State College at Jacksonville and took Instrument and Commercial flight courses. Since FSCJ is a state school all of my flight training fees were covered by the GI Bill and since the summer semester was only 3 and a half months long, it only cost me 3 and a half months of my post-9/11 GI Bill benefit. I did take longer than the summer semester to complete my ratings but the school just gave me an incomplete and changed it once I finished. Even though it took me until January to finish (commuting from Pensacola to Jax on weekends to fly was a pain) they still only deducted 3 1/2 months off my GI Bill. I already have a bachelors and a masters degree and had no problem registering as an associates degree seeking student to satisfy VA requirements. Since I'm on active duty I didn't get the housing allowance but since I was a degree seeking student I would have gotten it if I wasn't active. The only rule that I know of is that they won't pay for a course you've already completed, so unless you've already taken a private pilot helicopter course and passed you shouldn't have any problems.

For public schools they pay 100% of tuition and fees but for private schools you only get around $20k (it keeps going up a little each year so not sure what this year's amount is) per academic year, which is Aug1 - July 31. If you start training at a private school in the summer you can get ~$20k for the summer semester and then another ~$20k for the fall semester since it reloads on Aug 1 and you'll still only be charged for the number of days in the semesters your were enrolled. Public schools are still a much better deal but as you can see you can game the system to make private schools affordable. Since public schools pay for 100% of fees regardless, you can also train in more expensive equipment like a jetranger or other turbine helo with no extra cost to you. I'm not sure where you're located but there are a few public schools with helicopter programs that I know of: Aims CC in Colorado, Big Bend CC in WA, Central Oregon CC, The CC of Baltimore in MD, Green River CC in WA, Lake Superior College in MN, Naugatuck Valley CC in CT, Portland CC in OR, Salt Lake CC in UT, Kansas State University, Middle Georgia College and University of North Dakota.

Hope this helps
Ozziecat35 is right on with his response so follow his advice to the letter. I have also used the yellow ribbon $5000 from gov't + $5000 from school = more money for me (yay me!!). All of my training here has veen 141 except the CSEL/CMEL because it was not up and running at the time but it is now. The VA still covered 100% of my commercial ratings.
Hey guys, new to the thread. I am currently active duty Navy aviation mechanic and want to advance my aviation career. I have my ppl and soon instrument on my own dime. I will be stationed near Seattle WA soon and am having trouble finding valid schools accepting GI benefits. I currently have the Montgomery GI bill but I understand the Post 9/11 may benefit me better during active duty (which I plan to be for the foreseeable future). Any advice on schools in the area and how to maximize benefits?
Great thread! The info everyone has posted has helped me to explore what benefits the Post 9/11 offers in regards to flight training (thanks for everyone's time and effort!). As a result, I wanted to get involved and participate in keeping this information flowing.

At 29 pages and counting, I am seeing a lot of the same questions. Especially about what schools are the best and so forth...probably would make for a good sticky... Until then, here is what I believe to be the latest information.

In the eyes of the VA, Flight Schools come in three flavors.

1) A "Public Institution of Higher Education": VA will reimburse up to 100% of In-State tuition per academic year, $1K annual book stipend and grant BAH based on location

2) A "Private Institution of Higher Education": VA will reimburse up to $20,235 of tuition per academic year, $1K annual book stipend and grant BAH based on location

3) A "Vocational School": VA will reimburse up to $11,563 of flight training costs per academic year, NO annual book stipend and NO BAH

See: http://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/flight_training.asp (amounts are not updated to reflect 2014 rates)

Based on the above, select a school that you are interested in attending. A simple search online will get you some schools to check into. Use the VA's (recently updated) GI Bill Comparison Tool to search for the school and see what benefits you will receive if it is recognized. Contact the school directly and speak with admissions, there is usually a VA appointed rep that can answer benefit questions.

Best of luck!
Currently the majority of states give vets in-state tuition rates but starting July 1, 2015 all states will.

For vocational schools, it's only payable for training beyond the private certificate.
Feel free to ask questions and/or provide any experiences you have personally had.

Thanks,
Fri
 

blaquehawk99

Well-Known Member
I started a thread looking for the best options for using my GI bill and the public university route fits the bill perfectly. I intend to go to Portland Community College/Hillsboro Aviation to get my ratings. What I'd like to know now is can I fly ME for my remaining ratings (CPL, IFR, CFI, CFII, and MEI)? Also, for those of you who went the public school route, did you have a problem filling your class schedule? I already have an Associates Degree and I have to have a full load or the GI Bill BAH will be prorated.
 

Wing-it

Well-Known Member
^^^^
I have read from previous posts that students could choose the aircraft, such as picking full glass cockpit to train in as opposed to steam gauges because both were available at the school. I do not know first hand if that is in fact the truth. I would suspect that attempting to use a multi-engine aircraft for certifications that do not require one would raise some red flags at the VA due to the massive rise in cost.

I am in the same boat as you with trying to figure out a way to get to that coveted 100% BAH. I was told by my school's VA Rep that I will get credits for flight lab and ground school courses and could then supplement my schedule with related classes to boost up to the 12 credits. Waiting on 2015 class schedule to see.

Best bet is to contact the school's VA rep and see what he/she has to say. I will give my guy a call next week and let you know what I find out too.
 

mat

Well-Known Member
I started a thread looking for the best options for using my GI bill and the public university route fits the bill perfectly. I intend to go to Portland Community College/Hillsboro Aviation to get my ratings. What I'd like to know now is can I fly ME for my remaining ratings (CPL, IFR, CFI, CFII, and MEI)? Also, for those of you who went the public school route, did you have a problem filling your class schedule? I already have an Associates Degree and I have to have a full load or the GI Bill BAH will be prorated.
Probably not. I was allotted a total amount based on the flight lab, but was also limited to a certain amount per hour, so technically anything above that should be out of pocket. Some fbos might wrap the cost as if you flew more hours but you'd still be eating at your total cost, meaning you'll have less hours to fly. If you end up with money left over after completing a lab, then they'll probably let you fly whatever you want.

You shouldn't have a problem with the classes, unless your associates was in aviation. I transferred in with about 80 units, 20 in aviation, and was still full time until the last semester. After you're accepted to the college, go through the online scheduling system and look at past semesters classes.
 

blaquehawk99

Well-Known Member
I was allotted a total amount based on the flight lab, but was also limited to a certain amount per hour, so technically anything above that should be out of pocket. You shouldn't have a problem with the classes, unless your associates was in aviation. I transferred in with about 80 units, 20 in aviation, and was still full time until the last semester. After you're accepted to the college, go through the online scheduling system and look at past semesters classes.
Does the VA or the flight lab adhere strictly to the 141 regs to determine the number of flight hours in a given course, say 120 hrs fro commercial or is there some wiggle room?

As far as classes go my Associates is in General Studies, so the general ed stuff is well taken care of. I'm just concerned that a school won't allow me to take underwater basket weaving to reach full time status if it is not in my degree plan.
 

mat

Well-Known Member
They won't, all classes must be towards the degree to count towards full time status. They are checked by the VA official when you apply for benefits each semester. There should be plenty of aviation classes though, along with a handful of electives and general ed that you could still take.

The college determines the hours per flight lab and the cost per hour for each aircraft. The VA certified the college's setup so it'll either be close to the regs or close to the average time to certification. It's more likely the latter though.
 

Wing-it

Well-Known Member
That would be great!
Yep, my VA Rep told me the same as what Mat said. You can take a class like Aircraft Turbine Concepts because it is relevant to your flight emphasis, but not Intro to Aircraft Skin Repair because that is not what a pilot needs to know. There are apparently plenty of classes to choose from and your Rep or Counselor should be able to keep you with a full schedule during the duration of the program.

Mat is right as far as aircraft selection as well. The VA is very aware of what the program should cost, so anything above and beyond the school's allotted amount would have to be paid by the student. If you bust check rides or go over established training times, you will be responsible for the overage.

Keep me posted on your progress and if you learn some tips. I don't start until Jan, so I need to learn all I can!
 

Flush!

Well-Known Member
I'm at Auburn right now, and they watch it pretty closely. The good news is that the folks at the Veteran's Center really know their stuff. They review your courses, and ensure that the classes you plan on taking are within the degree, and that you'll receive 100% reimbursement.

Keep in mind that only 12 units are required for full reimbursement; any courses you want to take in addition to the 12 units wouldn't matter, so long as there are no additional fees to take more than 12 units (which there usually aren't at colleges, and universities). Hope that helps...

And for the record: WAR EAGLE!!!
 

Wing-it

Well-Known Member
My advisor told me that you MUST take only the courses that are prescribed in the approved syllabus. So, my former statement that you can fill voids by taking related courses may be inaccurate. I have attached the course schedule and cost sheet for Chandler-Gilbert CC to give folks an idea of what credits they would receive and classes that are in this program.

For me, this program simply will not work with my current situation. Since retiring, I have picked up a full time maintenance position that is M-F dayshift only. It is a pretty sweet gig that I would be nuts to let go of. My dilemma was how could I possibly pursue my flying certifications while working full time? This is the solution I arrived at...

Continue working dayshift and take classes at Embry a couple of times during the week at night to finish my degree. Since they run on a 9wk courses, I am guessing a couple of in person classes with an online class should put me in the full-time status and get me the coveted full rate BAH. I could then apply around $1400 a month toward flying at my local FBO (which is not accredited and would only be approved for the $10K annual anyway). While this would not be a fast track to getting qualifications, I could at least keep flying and make progress on my terms by flying weekends or an open afternoon during the week. If I milked this out 36 months I should be able to arrive at CFI-I with a degree isn't strictly flight related (I am thinking Aviation Business or Maintenance Management).

Let me know what you guys think or if I have overlooked a major flaw in my plan.

Hope everyone had a great 2014 and will have an even better 2015!
P.S. Sorry, they printed the schedule on blue paper...a bit tough to read.
 

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