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BAH & MHA FAQs

What is BAH and MHA?

BAH stands for Basic Allowance for Housing. The Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA) payments you receive for the Post-9/11 GI Bill® are based on the military's BAH rates for an E-5 with dependents. The Department of Defense adjusts the military BAH rate every calendar year (or January 1) based on changes to housing costs across the country. Rates can either go up or down.

How much MHA do I get?

For a student with 100% eligibility enrolled in school full time, MHA currently caps off at $1617 per full month of school (it will drop to $1569 beginning Fall 2015 school year). It is calculated by the BAH rate for an E-5 with dependents for the 78666 zip code (DoD BAH Calculator). MHA is prorated for both eligibility percentage and partial months of school. So, even a student with 100% eligibility enrolled in school full time should not expect a whole BAH check if it is the first full month back to school from summer or winter breaks. The VA will only pay for those days a student is enrolled in classes.

When will I receive an increase or decrease in my MHA based on BAH changes?

If the BAH increased for your area, you will not see an increase until your September MHA payment for training pursued in August. If the BAH decreases for your area, your MHA amount will not decrease unless you change schools or have more than a six-month break in training.

When do I receive my MHA?

The VA disburses MHA on the first of the month for the month prior. For example: on October 1st, students will receive MHA for September.

What is considered “full time?”

During a regular semester, undergraduates enrolled at least 12 hours and graduates enrolled in at least 9 hours are considered full time. Enrollment in at least 4 hours per 5-week summer session is considered full time for undergraduate and 3 hours per 5-week summer session for graduate students.

In addition, pay special attention to classes that only go through part of the term because it will affect your rate of pursuit. For example, if you sign up for 12 credits for the 1st half of the semester, you will only receive benefits for the 1st half of the semester even though you are considered full time for the semester by the University. Once your classes end, the VA considers the semester over. This can be especially tricky if you are taking classes in the Summer semester when there are more 1st/2nd half classes available. The VA will calculate full-time status based on where dates overlap. So if you are registered for 1st/2nd half classes and want to know if you’ll be considered full time, you can contact our office and ask us to look at your schedule to determine whether you will be full-time.

Undergraduate Rate of Pursuit
SEMESTER FULL TIME 1/2 TIME

Fall & Spring

12 hours

6 hours

5-week course

4 hours

2 hours

8-week course

6 hours

3 hours

10-week course

8 hours

4 hours

 

Graduate Rate of Pursuit
SEMESTER FULL TIME 1/2 TIME

Fall & Spring

9 hours

4 hours

5-week course

3 hours

1 hour

8-week course

6 hours

3 hours

10-week course

6 hours

3 hours

 

What if I’m not enrolled as a full time student?

MHA will be prorated by a student’s rate of pursuit. Students must be enrolled in at least 51% of full time status in order to receive any MHA at all.

Undergrads: need at least 7 hours during regular semesters; 3 hours per 5-week summer session
Graduates: need at least 5 hours during regular semesters; 2 hours per 5-week summer session

Do I get MHA if I’m taking online courses?

Yes, but you must be in at least 1 hour of face-to-face classroom instruction to receive full MHA. MHA for students attending only online coursework will receive 50% of their normal rate.

I didn’t get my MHA check. Why?

Once a student’s GI Bill® request is processed by the Texas State Veterans Affairs Office, it is sent off to Muskogee, OK for processing. They are the ones who actually disburse the MHA checks.
Depending on when the student submits their certification request, it is not unusual for the Regional VA Office to experience a 30-45 day processing time. This time frame does NOT include processing time by this office, so it is always best to submit a certification request with all required documents as early as possible. To check on a MHA check’s status, students should call the Muskogee Regional Office at (888) 442-4551. Muskogee generally experiences a high call volume, so students should expect to wait on hold for a while. It is best to call early in the morning.

I didn’t get my full MHA check. Why?

Ensure that you were certified as a full time student. You can do that by checking your certification request or by contacting our office. The VA no longer does break pay, so if it is the first full month back to school from summer or winter breaks, students should not expect a whole MHA check. They only pay for those days a student is enrolled in classes.