Will the "New" Post 9/11 GI Bill Now Cover Getting My Private Pilot's License?

Q: I understand that the "old" Post 9/11 GI Bill did not cover a private pilot's license, but after reading about the "new" Post 9/11 GI Bill it seems that this might be covered now. If I read it right, it says that after Oct 2011, the GI Bill will cover certifications including pilot certifications and also it will cover non-degree programs. Can you please clarify this? Thanks.

A: First, none of the GI Bills will cover a private pilot’s license. You have to get that on your own. What the GI Bills will cover are pilot certifications beyond the private pilot level.

Flying recreationally is viewed as an avocation instead of a vocation, which is the purpose of the GI Bill – to teach you something you can use as a career. If you intend to fly commercially, then your pilot training is viewed as a career and the GI Bill will pay for the certifications you need beyond the private license.

Even then, you have to be able to first pass the pilot medical certification before GI Bills will pay the 60% of your pilot training expenses. The other 40% you have to pay.

Currently under the Post 9/11 GI Bill, it will pay for flight training beyond the private pilot level if your training is part of a four-year aviation degree. But if your training is not taught at a school also teaching degree-producing courses, it is not covered. 

All the “New” Post 9/11 GI Bill will change is that it will be able to used at those non-degree producing flight schools as well as degree-producing ones.

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The New G.I. Bill and flight school

The eligibility for different programs is very confusing, and takes a lot of research, and the benefits vary greatly.
A Vet with 100% New G.I. bill, I found a way to attend Flight School, and get it paid for 100% from Private thru Commercial.
First: Get with a school with a Degree Program which includes Flight training as part of the Degree Requirement.
Second: They will cover the Tuition for the Highest per credit PUBLIC School in the State. As far as fees(i.e. Flight) are concerned, they vary greatly by State. Choose a State that has a large amount of "fees" covered.
For instance Delaware will give you up to 584.00 per term for fees, and Colorado will give you up to 45K per term (flight costs).
see fee structure:

Currently I am enrolled in a commercial Helicopter program at a public community college which has Private flight training as a first semester requirement. This two year program will take me thru Commercial to instructor.
I choose Colorado so all my fees would be covered.

Some things to look out for in the future are the new changes to the New G.I. Bill(G.I. Bill 2.0) this is going into effect August 2011/ October.
They will be capping tuition and fees at Private Institutions at 17,500.
You will also be able to attend non degree programs, but also with a cap. Look into the changes coming to the New G.I. Bill

Right now I am flying three or four times a week, attending class. I could not be more happy. After 17 years Service and three Combat deployments, I am proud to Serve, and take advantage of some great benefits. I hope this helps someone. Good Luck.

Question regarding reply post

Thomas W.-

Maybe you can help me navigate this. Everybody I've talked to says that there is no way to get a private pilots license with the GI Bill. I was actually thinking about doing exactly what you described in your post about using a school with a 4 degree program. I actually live in Colorado, so according to your post, this is a plus. I just can't find an accredited school that offers a flight program. I am actually interested in getting a flight degree, not just using it to get the private pilots license. I would like to go all the way up to commercial. Right now my GI Bill is still Montgomery GI Bill, but I can still convert it, I just don't want to convert it to Post 9/11 until I know exactly what I need to do. Thank for any information you can provide.

Justin H.