Q: I start school next week and I just registered for school two weeks ago. I was wondering when the VA was going to start giving me my BAH. I still have to get my books and supplies, and I have no money to do it with.
A: That’s going to be a problem. It can take up to 8 weeks to get your first Post 9/11 GI Bill payment from the VA. Once your payment starts, then you will normally get your book stipend right after the start of the semester and your housing allowance will come sometime the following month. The VA is always a month behind in paying so the pay you get in one month will be for the previous month.
I always recommend students have at least enough money to pay all their expenses for the first semester. Then once you GI Bill money starts coming from the VA, you can replenish your funds. To buy your books, you are going to have to make some sort of short-term financial arrangements to carry you through until your book stipend comes.
And depending on the cost of your books, that amount may or may not cover all the cost. You get paid a flat $41.67 per credit, but if you are taking courses having high textbook costs, it may end up costing you some of your own money. I wish I could give you better news, but the reality is I can’t.