Forever GI Bill Changes the Way VA Reimburses for Tests, Certifications, and Licensing Exams

Forever GI Bill True Cost ChargesDo you need to take as the SAT, GRE, LSAT, a licensing certification, or even a journeyman or other employment-related test? Your GI Bill® can help you cover the fees, and the Forever GI Bill can make it a more useful option.

If you’re a Veteran or service member using the Post-9/11 GI Bill to pay for your education and need to take a national test, certification, or licensing exam, beginning August 1, 2018 you’ll soon be charged the “true cost” of the test. Rather than being charged a full month of Post-9/11 GI Bill entitlement benefits under the current practice, you’ll be charged entitlement relative to the actual cost of the test–a much better deal than being charged your full month’s entitlement benefits if the cost is below that amount. VA may reimburse a licensing or certification test up to a maximum charge of $2,000 for a single test.

In addition, this change to the law adds a new covered test. It adds a national test that evaluates prior learning and knowledge and provides opportunity for course credit at a college or university. Something else to consider: If you can hold off on taking the test, licensing certification, or exam until August 1, it will be a much better financial deal for you.

Prior to passage of the Forever GI Bill, students were charged an entire month of entitlement, regardless the cost of the test.

No matter how well you do on the test, certification, or exam, a new law passed by Congress and signed by President Trump last August changes the way you’re charged for those tests, certifications, or exams.

The new provision that changes the way Post-9/11 GI Bill students pay for their national tests, or certification and licensing exams is part of the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act, known as the “Forever GI Bill.”

As you know, many of these tests, licenses and certifications can open new doors to employment. The types of jobs covered by the licensing and certification tests include mechanic, medical technician, attorney, therapist, computer network engineer, website developer, and many others.

There is no cap on the number of tests VA will charge to your entitlement, but you must have sufficient entitlement remaining to be reimbursed.

Whether you’re taking a test, exam, or certification to be a master electrician, a journeyman plumber, a lawyer, or a graduate student, they all fall under this new provision of the Colmery Act.

To see a list of the national tests, or certification and licensing exams, visit this page.

Start your education journey

If you haven’t explored your options to use your education benefits, you can start by visiting the GI Bill Comparison tool.You can see how to maximize your education value and look up the college, training school, or apprenticeship program you’re interested in attending. You can also see how much your GI Bill benefits will cover and if you’d have any out of pocket expenses.

If you have any questions, please call 1–888-GI-BILL-1 (1–888–442–4551). If you use the Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD), the Federal number is 711. You can also visit the GI Bill website.

As always, be sure to follow us on our Facebook and on Twitter @VAVetBenefits. These give you quick and helpful updates.

GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at https://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill


Veterans Benefits Administration’s Education Service delivers GI Bill® education benefits to Veterans, service members, and their families. Since 1944, the GI Bill has helped millions of Veterans pay for college, graduate school, and training programs.

Source: VAntage Point article from August 16, 2018