Veterans FAQ

Can I receive a higher Monthly Housing Allowance if I take both online and traditional, in-residence classes?

You can receive the MHA if you take classes from Excelsior College and take a class from a local in-residence, traditional college in your area at the same time. The MHA you receive will be based on the zip code of the local traditional college. All the courses you take must apply to your Excelsior College degree and be approved by your academic advisors. Excelsior College advisors are prepared to discuss the classes you can take in your local area that will apply to your degree while you are taking classes with Excelsior College.

You must be attending college more than 50% or more than half time for the MHA. If you want to receive the full monthly housing stipend you must attend college full time. Attendance less than full time but, greater than half time will provide veteran students with a prorated rate housing stipend, rounded to the nearest tenth.

The course samples below will help you determine your enrollment status:

Taking 12 & 15 week courses:

  • If you were taking 12 credits (or 4 classes each worth 3 credits) for 15 weeks, that would be considered full-time (100%).
  • If you were taking 9 credits (or 3 classes each worth 3 credits) for 15 weeks, that would be considered three-quarters time (75%).
  • If you were taking 6 credits (or 2 classes each worth 3 credits) for 15 weeks that would be considered half-time (50%).

Taking 8 week courses:

  • If you were taking 6 credits (or 2 classes each worth 3 credits) for 8 weeks, that would be considered full-time (100%).
  • If you were taking 3 credits (or 1 class worth 3 credits) for 8 weeks that would be considered half -time (50%).

Remember, each term or semester, to get the full MHA, you must take classes from Excelsior and a traditional college at the same time at the full time rate of pursuit. Also, the VA will look at every day in the month to ensure that you are carrying a course load of greater than 50%. If you are not taking 51% or more every day of that month than you will not get the prorated housing allowance rounded to the nearest tenth.

Can I take Excelsior College® Exams (ECEs) and still get the solely on-line MHA?

Yes, but in order to receive the prorated or full time MHA when taking ECEs, you must register for and take exams following the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) mandated conditions below.

It is your responsibility to be sure that the dates you register for and schedule/take your exam properly reflect your rate of pursuit so you can qualify for a prorated (greater than half time) or full time MHA.

The term date reported to the DVA will be the total numbers of days beginning with the date of exam registration, and ending with the date the exam was scheduled and attempted. The “start date” of the semester/term is the day you register for an exam, and the “end date” of the semester/term is the day you schedule/take an exam.

How this affects Chapter 33/Post 9-11 students seeking the Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA)
You must study at a rate, “greater than half-time to full-time,” to be eligible for the housing allowance consideration, so it’s crucial that you do not register for an exam until you are ready to test in 8 weeks or less from the registration date. If you take the exam more than 8 weeks after registering for an exam you will likely not qualify for the MHA. Active-duty students do not qualify for the MHA regardless of when they test.

  • The “start date” of the semester/term is the day you register for an exam
  • The “end date” of the semester/term is the day you schedule/take an exam
  • For 3-credit exams, students must take the exam within 8 weeks after registering to qualify for the housing allowance
  • If you take a 3-credit exam sooner than 8 weeks, you will get a higher payment, but over a shorter period
  • If you take a 3-credit exam more than 8 weeks after registering you will not receive a MHA
  • The VA will pay the MHA to you after the exams have been completed

For students using Chapter 30, MGIB
Using the exam registration date as the semester/term start-date and the schedule/take date as the semester/term end-date also affects students using Chapter 30 (MGIB), or any other VA educational benefits, because monthly payment rates payments are based on a student’s rate of pursuit.

For example, when using Chapter 30 you will qualify for the half-time monthly rate if you test within 8 weeks of registration. However, the DVA will pay at a lesser monthly rate when you take longer to test and you will then lose you half-time status.

How do I get my book stipend?

Excelsior College will certify your enrollment status with the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) as a student during the coming term. When the DVA processes your claim, they will make payment to Excelsior College for your tuition and fees and send you your book allowance. The book allowance is approximately $41 per credit with the 100% benefit and prorated for lesser benefits. Note: You must pay for your books and supplies when you order them and you will receive the book stipend from the VA at a later date.

How will the VA know that I am taking classes at both Excelsior College and my local in-residence College to qualify for the MHA?

You must request a parent letter from us which we will then send to your in-residence school informing them that we will accept the credits you are taking from their institution. You will need to also provide your in-residence college with a certificate of eligibility on your VA benefit. The VA will then forward you the MHA for which you qualify.

See our detailed instructions for parent letter requests.

Is the monthly housing allowance (MHA) available to students taking classes solely on-line?

Veteran students using the Post-9/11 and pursuing classes through distance learning may now receive the monthly housing allowance (MHA). The housing allowance is half the national average MHA for an E-5 with dependents. The monthly housing allowance for full-time, exclusively online training (no classroom instruction) is $825.00 per month for the Department of Veterans Affairs 2018-2019 fiscal year (August 1, 2018 – July 31, 2019).

What is the Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA)?

Active Duty Military personnel receive a monetary allowance toward their housing costs because they have to live where the military assigns them. Each area’s allowance is determined by the specific cost of living in that area.

Similarly, the Post 9/11 GI Bill will pay veterans a Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA) if they attend school more than half time. Veterans receive the same as an E-5 with dependents. Use the BAH Calculator to make example calculations.

Will Excelsior College allow me to take classes while waiting for the Post-9/11 payment from the VA?

Yes, payments for courses and fees will be waived based on the percentage of your Post-9/11 GI Bill® eligibility while you take classes. The Department of Veterans Affairs will send payment directly to Excelsior College. Please be sure you fax a copy of your Certificate of Eligibility statement to 518-464-8777 or email If you are waiting for your Certificate of Eligibility, then you can submit your unofficial DD 214 to get started.

For additional information, visit our Financial Aid Support Center.

Will VA benefits cover the costs for this type of study?

Yes. VA benefits can cover the costs depending on which benefit you use, and your eligibility. For more information, click here.