Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA) for the GI Bill

Updated: February 23, 2024
In this Article

    Post-9/11 and Forever GI Bill benefits include a monthly housing allowance (MHA) for students using the Post-9/11 GI Bill. While often referred to as a separate bill, the Forever GI Bill is a group of adjustments to the Post-9/11 GI Bill and not a separate educational program.

    When setting up your bank account for any GI Bill benefits, make sure to use the same account that receives any other benefits payments. The VA is requiring anyone who receives multiple benefits a month to set a single account for the payments by April 20, 2024.

    If you’re talking to schools or the Department of Veterans Affairs, you’ll want to refer to the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

    Here are the Post-9/11 GI Bill BAH/MHA rates for the 2023-2024 school year.

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    Monthly Housing Allowance Calculator

    Veterans, dependents and National Guard and reserve service members can use the MHA calculator to see their estimated monthly payments. Active-duty service members receive their regular BAH and should use the BAH calculator to see their estimated payments.

    MHA Calculator


    Estimation only. This calculator assumes at least 36 months of active-duty service. Service lengths less than 36 months will reduce the percentage of maximum benefits payable. Please call the VA at 1-888-442-4551 for specifics on your particular payment eligibility.

    MHA rates are for Aug. 1, 2023 through the July 31, 2024 school year. Rates will increase on Aug. 1, 2024.

    Post-9/11 and GI Forever GI Bill (Chapter 33) Payment Rate Exceptions

    Aug. 1, 2023-July 31, 2024

    Type of SchoolMHA Rate
    Foreign school $1,934.80
    Schools in U.S. territoriesE-5 with dependents overseas housing allowance (OHA) rate for school location if attending in person
    Exclusively online training (no classroom instruction)$967.40
    Attending classes at ½ time or less (fewer than seven credits)Not payable
    Active-duty trainee (or spouse of service member)Not payable

    See the GI Bill comparison tool for actual BAH rates for your school.

    Monthly Housing Allowance Payments

    If you are not a full-time student, the number of credits you are taking will determine your MHA payments. For example, if you are taking eight credits and a full course load is 12, your training time is 67%. The MHA payment will be rounded up or down to the nearest 10%. So, in this example, you would receive 70% of the applicable housing allowance.

    Here are some important facts for determining eligibility and individual Post-9/11 GI Bill MHA rates.

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    Monthly Housing Allowance Facts

    • MHA is based on BAH rates for an E-5 with dependents.
    • MHA is based on the ZIP code of the school campus where the student attends most of their classes.
    • MHA adjustments go into effect at the beginning each academic year (Aug. 1). While BAH increases are effective Jan. 1, you will not see your MHA increase until your Sept. 1 payment.
    • Active-duty service members have individual rate protection against BAH decreases. MHA rates won’t decrease unless:
      • Your program or school changes
      • You attend most of your classes at a different location
      • You take a break of six months or longer (unless you are on active duty)
      • You drop courses or otherwise change how many credit hours you are taking
    • Students attending all courses online will receive half the national MHA average. The MHA rate for online colleges, schools or distance learning programs is $938.50 until July 31, 2023. For more information on how to determine your online MHA rate and eligibility click here.
    • MHA is prorated for the days you attend class. If your term begins in the middle of a month, you will receive an adjusted payment that covers only the days you were in class.

    BAH vs. MHA

    BAH is a housing benefit provided by the DoD, whereas MHA is a benefit provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Both use the same BAH rate tables, but eligibility and calculations differ.

    • BAH rate effective date is Jan. 1. while the MHA rate effective date is Aug. 1.
    • For BAH, the ZIP code is the primary duty station. For MHA, the ZIP code is where the student takes the most of their classes.
    • BAH is for active-duty service members while MHA is for GI Bill students including veterans, spouses who are not married to a currently serving service member receiving BAH, and children.
    • Active-duty service members and spouses of active duty service members receiving BAH can not receive MHA if they already receive BAH. BAH is calculated by pay grade, location and dependent status.
    • MHA starts with the equivalent of an E-5 with dependents pay grade, but may be prorated according to these factors:
      • Campus, online or hybrid classes or foreign school
      • Months of service
      • Partial or full-time attendance

    Books and Supplies Stipend

    The MHA provides an annual stipend for books and supplies. The amount paid is based on $41.67 per credit hour, up to a maximum of 24 credits, or $1,000.

    If you take more than 12 credits in the fall semester, you can get a larger books allowance for that semester. However, your spring and summer book allowance will not be larger than the remaining amount from the $1,000 total allowance, regardless of how many credits you take in the spring or summer.

    Rural Benefit

    If you live in a low-density rural area (counties with six or fewer people per square mile, as determined by the most recent decennial census), you may qualify for a one-time payment of $500. You must also either move 500 miles or more to attend school or travel by air to attend in person when there is no land-based transportation available.

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