Many veterans decide to pursue an education and reenter the workforce after completing their service. Active-duty military personnel also pursue various forms of education to help prepare for returning to civilian life. Whether veterans choose to attend a vocational school, college, or a coding bootcamp, GI Bill benefits are there to help cover the cost of tuition.
Whether you need help paying for college or a coding bootcamp, GI Bill benefits are extremely useful. But, what is the GI Bill, and how can it help veterans pay for a coding bootcamp? Depending on your eligibility, you can a expect partial or full tuition waiver, a monthly housing stipend, and a textbook stipend.
The GI Bill still confers many benefits today, especially for those looking to attend vocational training such as a coding bootcamp. In this guide, you’ll learn all about what the GI Bill is and how to use it. You’ll also learn which in-person and online coding bootcamps accept GI Bill benefits. This guide also covers VET TEC benefits and how to use them for coding bootcamps.
What Is the Post-9/11 GI Bill?
The Post-9/11 GI Bill allows active-duty service members, military veterans, and military spouses and dependents to claim education benefits that pay for their tuition and fees. It is one way that military veterans cover the cost of coding bootcamp programs. The Post-9/11 GI Bill covers full-time and part-time programs both online and in-person.
The Post-9/11 GI Bill gives students a monthly housing allowance while they are attending school based on their location and attendance status. Full-time, in-person students receive the highest monthly housing stipend, though part-time and online students will also receive a decent stipend. Vets using GI Bill benefits can apply for an additional annual book stipend of up to $1,000 per year.
To be eligible for benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill, you or your sponsor military veteran must have served at least 90 days of active duty service after September 11, 2001, or 30 days of continuous active duty service after September 11, 2001, with a discharge for a service-related disability. Certain members of the reserve forces and the National Guard can also apply for benefits.
The Post-9/11 GI Bill works by scaling tuition and housing allowance payments based on the amount of time spent on active duty after September 11, 2001. You can calculate your benefits on the VA website. Veterans who have served at least 30 days of active duty and were discharged for a disability automatically receive all the benefits under the bill.
What Is the Forever GI Bill?
The Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017, commonly known as the Forever GI Bill, eliminated the requirement that veterans have to use their GI Bill benefits within 15 years. To use the Forever GI Bill, your final day of service must have been on or after January 1, 2013.
The Forever GI Bill also clarified that veterans and their spouses and dependents can use their benefits at non-traditional education institutions such as career and technical education, allowing students to attend coding bootcamps with GI Bill benefits. The bill also launched pilot programs for technology courses and removed the expiration date for work-study benefits.
How Much is the GI Bill Worth?
The GI Bill is worth the full cost of tuition and fees for an in-state student attending a public school or up to $26,380 per year at a private school plus a monthly housing stipend for up to 36 months. Exactly how much the GI Bill is worth varies from person to person, but GI Bill benefits can pay for an entire bachelor’s degree at a four-year college or a coding bootcamp program.
Will the GI Bill Cover Coding Bootcamp Expenses?
Whether you choose to attend a traditional college or a coding bootcamp, you can use GI Bill veteran benefits. The GI Bill has always paid for programs at community colleges or universities because a key goal of the bill was to help veterans access higher education. GI Bill benefits can now also be used toward vocational programs like police academies, welding schools, and truck driving programs.
Since the 2017 Forever GI Bill update, the GI Bill will pay for coding bootcamps. This is a new development since coding bootcamps are a new type of educational program. Even though bootcamps are new, there are many different coding bootcamps that can accept GI Bill funding.
The History of the GI Bill
At the end of World War II, there was a large number of soldiers who were coming home and returning to civilian life. America was starting to prosper after more than a decade of economic depression, and the government was concerned that the veterans returning home would affect economic growth by flooding the job market with new workers.
The GI Bill, passed in 1944 as the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act, was created to both protect the economy and provide veterans with the assistance they needed to transition to the civilian workforce. The bill primarily expanded access to low-interest mortgages and granted stipends for veterans attending college or trade schools.
From 1945 to 1956, about 50 percent of veterans who served in World War II were receiving a benefit under the GI Bill. During that period, 2.2 million veterans went to college, 3.5 million went to technical or vocational schools, and millions moved back into the workforce. As a result of the GI Bill, the number of Americans with college degrees more than doubled to nearly half a million in 1950.
The educational support under the act also provided benefits for those looking to attend trade schools or other vocational programs where students trained to work in industries that colleges don’t focus on, such as welding or carpentry. Further, the bill provided veterans with a $20 unemployment benefit per week for a year while looking for work.
It’s important to recognize that in the past the GI Bill has disproportionately benefited white veterans at the expense of Black veterans. In 1947, only two out of 3,000 VA home loans were awarded to Black veterans. In recent years, there have been attempts to compensate families of Black veterans who were denied GI Bill benefits.
What Is VET TEC?
As a result of the Forever GI Bill, the Department of Veterans Affairs has launched the Veteran Employment Through Technology Education Courses (VET TEC) program. This program is intended to help veterans learn skills for technical vocations to help them thrive in the modern economy. To apply for the VA’s VET TEC program, veterans need only one day of unexpired GI Bill benefits.
Through VET TEC, the VA covers tuition and housing costs for certain vocational programs. VET TEC doesn’t use up GI Bill benefits. Veterans who are eligible for the VET TEC program will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis until funding for the program has been spent. Check for up-to-date information about VET TEC funding availability on the VA website.
VET TEC vs GI Bill
Both VET TEC and GI Bill educational benefits can be used to help veterans reskill for a career in tech, and both of these financing options can be used for tech bootcamps. Both programs will cover some or all of the cost of tuition and fee with a monthly housing allowance based on the student’s location.
One major difference between the VET TEC program and the GI Bill is that students must get a job after completing their training program in order to receive the full benefit. This is because the VET TEC program is designed to prepare veterans for civilian jobs, while the GI Bill has a broader goal of making higher education accessible to veterans.
The programs also differ in what learning formats they cover. The GI Bill can be used by both part-time and full-time students for up to 36 months, while VET TEC can only be used by full-time students in six to 28-week programs. Both VET TEC and the GI Bill can be used for online programs, though the GI Bill only gives a 50 percent housing stipend to online students.
Coding Bootcamps That Accept GI Bill
From General Assembly to Galvanize, there are dozens of coding bootcamps that accept GI Bill funding for student veterans. These programs include in-person and online courses. You can use educational benefits from the GI Bill at coding bootcamps such as:
- Skill Distillery
- We Can Code IT
- V School
- Turing School
- Code Fellows
- PDX Code Guild
- Tech Elevator
- Eleven Fifty Academy
- Code Platoon
- General Assembly
Coding Bootcamps That Accept VET TEC
Several coding bootcamps are on the list of VET TEC approved programs. You can use VET TEC benefits to pay for coding bootcamp programs as long as you have at least one day left of GI Bill benefits. Some VET TEC eligible coding bootcamps are:
- Training Concepts
- Divergence Academy
- Learn Academy
- Skill Distillery
- Zip Code Wilmington
- Code Platoon
- Prime Digital Academy
- Claim Academy
- SAVVY Coders
- FullStack Academy
- PDX Code Guild
- Code Fellows
What Other Funding Is Available for Veterans at Coding Bootcamps?
If you only partially qualify or do not qualify for funding under the GI Bill or VET TEC, there are other options available. Some coding bootcamps have special tuition discounts or scholarships for veterans, and private veteran support organizations also have scholarships for military spouses, military children, and veterans.
Additionally, some bootcamps have programs to ease the transition from duty to civilian life. A good example is Springboard and its Veteran Fellows program, which aims to provide guidance and support to ex-military as they build their new careers.
Scholarships for Veterans
Many bootcamps offer scholarships to veterans and military workers who are interested in acquiring skills in coding and technology. Scholarships are competitive programs that students need to apply for and demonstrate financial need, academic excellence, or a combination of the two. Scholarships offered at coding bootcamps for veterans include:
"Career Karma entered my life when I needed it most and quickly helped me match with a bootcamp. Two months after graduating, I found my dream job that aligned with my values and goals in life!"
Venus, Software Engineer at Rockbot
- Code Fellows: Diversity Scholarship Fund (up to 70% of tuition)
- Coding Dojo: Military Retraining Scholarship ($1000)
- Code Platoon: Code Platoon Scholarships (up to $15,500)
- Flatiron School: Access Scholarship (up to $2,000)
- Metis: The Metis Scholarship (up to $3,000)
Tuition Discounts for Veterans
Scholarships are financial assistance programs that you need to apply for, but a veteran’s discount for coding bootcamp is an automatic credit towards your tuition. You don’t need to do anything special to qualify for a tuition discount for veterans, simply enrolling in the program and giving proof of your veteran status is enough.
- Claim Academy: Veterans who enroll in the Full Stack program get a $500 discount on tuition.
- DigitalCrafts: Enrolled student veterans get a $1,500 tuition discount for full-time programs and a $1,000 tuition discount for part-time programs.
- Fullstack Academy: Fullstack Academy veteran students are eligible to participate in the VET TEC program, but veterans who choose not to use VET TEC and who pay the full cost of tuition upfront get a $1,000 tuition discount.
- Thinkful: Student veterans can get a tuition discount between $200 and $500, depending on the program.
- LearningFuze: Veterans who sign up for a LearningFuze program automatically receive a $500 tuition discount.
How to Use My GI Bill
If you have decided to earn a degree in software development or attend a web design bootcamp, you’re probably wondering how to use your GI Bill. It is relatively simple to use your GI bill benefits, but make sure you start the application process early. Here are four easy steps to using your GI Bill:
- Begin the college or coding bootcamp application process: Before you begin the GI Bill application, you will first need to apply and be accepted into one of the colleges or coding bootcamps that accept GI Bill benefits. Find your top choices, reach out to their admissions counselors to determine if your GI Bill benefits will work, and apply as usual.
- Begin the VA application process: Once you have been accepted into your college, bootcamp, or training provider of choice, you will need to begin the VA GI Bill application process. You can find the application on the VA education benefits homepage. It can be a bit confusing the first time, so don’t hesitate to call the GI Bill Hotline at 888-442-4551 and ask a representative how to use your GI Bill.
- Receive and submit a certificate of eligibility: After submitting your application for benefits, you will begin the waiting game. It typically takes at least two weeks to hear back about your application, though experienced GI Bill users will tell you not to expect any news for a month or so. If approved, you will receive a certificate of eligibility (CoE) in the mail, and/or by email. You will then need to submit the CoE to your school immediately.
- Request benefit certification: Once the school has received your CoE, you will need to request certification of your benefits. This is usually a form you can get from your school or bootcamp’s Office of Veteran Affairs. This allows the school and the VA to sync up and get your benefits rolling.
The Future of Coding Bootcamp GI Bill Funding
Using the GI Bill for a coding bootcamp is a short, affordable pathway to a tech career for veterans. It’s almost certain that we will see coding bootcamp GI Bill funding increase in the next few years. The list of coding bootcamps that accept GI Bill funding will likely grow, especially with the use of the VET TEC program.
The GI Bill resulted in great economic prosperity for some veterans following World War II. Benefits under the program ensured that returning veterans could come back to a good labor market and access the training they needed to thrive in the modern economy. Hopefully, the future of the Post-9/11 GI Bill will ensure that all veterans have access to education and housing benefits.
The GI Bill has enabled millions of people to access higher and further education, which allowed them to earn higher salaries and become more financially stable. Today, the GI Bill continues to have a significant impact on the economy, and the Post-9/11 and Forever GI Bill programs have opened up access to benefits for many more veterans.
GI Bill Coding Bootcamp FAQ
With GI Bill benefits or the VET TEC program, veterans go to coding bootcamp for free. However, to get the full cost of a bootcamp program paid for through the VET TEC program, students need to get a job after completing the program within the required timeframe. Code Platoon, a top Chicago bootcamp, allows veterans to take its self-paced software engineering program completely free.
Is it worth doing a coding bootcamp as a veteran?
If you are looking for a quick path toward a career in technology, then a coding bootcamp is a good option for veterans. These programs aren’t as comprehensive as bachelor’s degree programs, but an online coding bootcamp can help you learn technical skills fast. A school like devCodeCamp is a great option to land a job in software engineering, web development, or data analytics fast.
Can I use VET TEC and GI Bill benefits at the same time?
You can use VET TEC and GI Bill benefits at the same time. Using either VET TEC or Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits won’t be counted against benefits received from the other program. You can also opt to use up either VET TEC or GI Bill benefits and then switch to using the other program to continue your education. Don’t forget you need to save one day of GI Bill benefits to qualify for VET TEC.
VET TEC benefits can be used more than once, with an 18-month required waiting period between programs. GI Bill benefits can be started and stopped almost whenever until the benefits are used up. Both GI Bill and VET TEC benefits can expire, so be sure to use up your benefits before that expiration date.
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