Since it was established in 1944, the GI Bill has provided over $400 billion in funding to over 25 million United States veterans and their families, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Additionally, since 2009, the Post-9/11 GI Bill has provided more than $12 billion in funding to veterans and their families, the U.S. Department of Defense reports. This money has helped veterans fund their education in order to prepare for new career opportunities following their military service.
The first GI Bill was passed to prevent widespread unemployment among veterans after World War II. The bill provided federal aid to help veterans purchase homes and enroll in college degree programs.
Today, VA offers multiple educational funding programs. In this article, we discuss the Post-9/11 GI Bill and the Forever GI Bill. You can also explore how to use your GI Bill funding to cover the cost of a coding bootcamp.
What Is the Post-9/11 GI Bill?
The Post-9/11 GI Bill provides educational benefits to veterans and service members who served on or after September 11, 2001. To qualify, service members must have served at least 90 days of active duty, been honorably discharged with a service-related disability after at least 30 days of continuous duty, been honorably discharged after receiving a Purple Heart, or be the dependent child of a qualifying service member.
Qualifying service members can receive benefits for up to 36 months. These benefits can be used to pay for tuition and fees for eligible educational programs, housing, and educational materials such as books. The amount of benefits a service member or veteran receives depends on how much time they served.
What Is the Forever GI Bill?
The Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act, usually referred to as the "Forever GI Bill," was passed in 2017. The bill updated and improved many of the benefits offered by the Post-9/11 GI Bill. The biggest change was that the Forever GI Bill removed the 15-year time limit for using benefits that previously applied to the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Under the Forever GI Bill, veterans can use their GI Bill benefits at any point during their lifetimes.
Benefits for veterans who served only a short time also increased under the Forever GI Bill. Service members who served at least 90 days but less than six months receive 50% of the maximum benefit under the Forever GI Bill, as opposed to the 40% that was previously provided under the Post-9/11 GI Bill.
VET TEC Coding Training
The Forever GI Bill also included additional funding for technology-focused educational programs. The Veteran Employment Through Technology Education Courses (VET TEC) program, which was introduced as part of the Forever GI Bill, provides funding for programs in computer programming, software, data processing, information science, and other high-tech areas. Attending a VET TEC program does not count as using your GI Bill.
To be eligible for the VET TEC program, you must qualify for the GI Bill and have at least one day of GI Bill entitlement left. You cannot participate in the program while serving on active duty. The VET TEC program covers tuition for VA-approved, full-time educational programs, and it also provides a housing allowance for the duration of the program.
Can GI Benefits Pay for Coding Bootcamps?
Most people know that the GI Bill pays for college, but they may not be aware that the program can pay for non-college degree programs as well. The GI Bill can pay for vocational programs, such as EMT training, as well as coding bootcamps. However, the coding bootcamp must be approved by VA to qualify for GI Bill funding. Additionally, some bootcamps may qualify for funding as part of the VET TEC program.
Which Bootcamps Accept GI Bill Funding?
Coding bootcamps that accept GI Bill funding include Code Platoon, Codeup, Coding Dojo, DigitalCrafts, Galvanize, General Assembly, Tech Elevator, Turing School, and many more. You should check directly with the bootcamps you are interested in to see if they accept the GI Bill; some bootcamps accept GI Bill funding only for certain programs or locations, and many don't have this information listed on their website.
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Some bootcamps have also been approved by VA as qualifying VET TEC programs, such as Code Fellows, Code Platoon, Fullstack Academy, Galvanize, and Skill Distillery. You can see a full list of approved VET TEC programs here.
VET TEC vs. GI Bill
Although you can use your GI Bill to pay for some coding bootcamps, receiving funding from the VET TEC program may be a better option if the bootcamp you're interested in attending is included on the list of approved VET TEC programs. That way, you'll still have your GI Bill benefits available later if you decide to enroll in a college degree program.
What Other Funding Is Available for Veterans at Coding Bootcamps?
Unfortunately, bootcamp students do not qualify for federal financial aid, including federal student loans. However, prospective bootcamp students can find other funding options. Many bootcamp providers offer scholarships, including scholarships for veterans, service members, and their families.
Bootcamps also offer financing options, such as payment plans, income share agreements, and deferred tuition plans, and many partner with private lenders to provide loans specifically designed for bootcamp students. Read more about other ways to pay for coding bootcamps here.
Frequently Asked Questions About Using the GI Bill for a Coding Bootcamp
- Can you use the GI Bill for a coding bootcamp?
Yes, there are many coding bootcamps that accept GI Bill funding. Check with the bootcamp provider to make sure you can use your GI Bill for the program you want to apply for.
- Is it worth doing a coding bootcamp as a veteran?
Attending a coding bootcamp can help a veteran jump-start their career in technology without having to attend a college degree program. Coding bootcamps can be worth it if you want to start a new career quickly.
- What are the best coding bootcamps for veterans?
VA provides a list of approved VET TEC training providers, including preferred providers. VA-preferred providers offer a money-back guarantee if a student is unable to find in-field employment within 180 days of completing the program.
Other coding bootcamps not included on this list may also qualify for GI Bill funding and offer money-back guarantees; you should always confirm directly with the bootcamps you're interested in applying to. Bootcamps that offer scholarships to veterans may also be a good choice.
GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at https://benefits.va.gov/gibill/index.asp.