What is the Monthly VRRAP Housing Allowance?

Have you lost your job or other sources of livelihood because of the COVID-19 pandemic? If yes, you could be eligible for the Veteran Rapid Retraining Assistance Program (VRRAP).

This program by the Veterans Benefits Administration is a part of the $1.9-trillion stimulus package. It was introduced in 2021 to cover the tuition and monthly housing allowance for training courses for these 228 high-demand occupations.

The fee for the program is paid directly to the educational institution based on these milestones –

  • 50% when you start the program.
  • 25% when you complete the program.
  • 25% when you find employment in the field of your study.

This article will cover different aspects of VRRAP, including the benefits, eligibility, amount of assistance, courses covered, and more.

What Benefits Can I Get Through VRRAP?

Those eligible for the VRRAP scheme can get the following education benefits –

  • Monthly housing allowance (depending on the Post-9/11 GI Bill rates).
  • Up to 12 months of tuition fees.

The general benefits of the VRRAP scheme are –

1. Prepare for the future – The requirement for trained personnel in high-demand jobs will increase in the future. The skills you get in a VRRAP course will prepare you for a stable future.

2. Career change opportunity – Changing your career to one of the high-demand occupations will increase your earning potential. This steady income will help you support your family even during challenging times.

3. Get paid during training – Other than the 12-months of tuition fees, the VRRAP program pays a monthly housing allowance (MHA).

What Are the Criteria to Qualify for the Veterans Rapid Retraining Assistance Program (VRRAP)?

Criteria to qualify for VRRAP

To qualify for the VRRAP program, you must meet the following criteria –

  • Your age is between 22 and 66 years.
  • You lost employment or business due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • You are physically able to work and are not rated as disabled.
  • You have not enrolled yourself in the state or federal jobs program.
  • You are not receiving unemployment benefits (including CARES Act benefits).

You will be ineligible for VRRAP if you avail any of these benefit schemes –

  • Post-9/11 GI Bill.
  • Montgomery GI Bill.
  • Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA).
  • Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E).
  • Veterans’ Education Assistance Program (VEAP).

To be among the eligible veterans, you have to transfer your Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to a family member.

What Types of Programs Are Covered Under This?

VRRAP benefits may not lead to a bachelor’s or graduate degree, but covers all education programs under the GI Bill and Veteran Employment Through Technology Education Courses (VET TEC). These include associate degrees, non-college degrees, and certificate programs for high-demand occupations.

View the complete list of high-demand occupations approved under Chapter 36 of the Veteran Affairs Education and Career Counseling program.

Books and Supplies Stipend

Acceptance into the VRRAP programme is based on GI Bill or VET TEC benefit approval. As a result, what is (and isn’t) covered in VRRAP tuition and fees is the same as what is included in GI Bill or VET TEC qualifying programmes.

The Post-9/11 GI Bill permits you to earn up to $1,000 in annual book allowance. This stipend is provided at the beginning of each semester. It is determined at $41 per credit hour based on the number of credits taken by each student.

Rural Benefits

Veterans are eligible for a $500 one-time payment if they live in a rural area and meet these conditions –

  • The population density is 6 or fewer people per square mile.
  • You either move 500 miles or more to attend school or travel by air where no land transportation is available.

Monthly Housing Allowance Payments

If you choose a part-time course, your monthly housing allowance (MHA) payments (housing stipend) will depend on the credits you take. For example, if you take 10 credits out of the course load of 12, your training time is (10/12) x 100 = 83%. The MHA rate is the amount rounded to the closest 10%. In this case, you will be eligible to receive MHA of 80% of the applicable housing allowance.

BAH vs MHA

While BHA benefit is from the Department of Defense, the MHA is from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Both use the same rates, but the eligibility differs.

BHAMHA
ZIP code is the primary duty station.ZIP code is the place where you take classes.
Applicable for active-duty members.Applicable for GI-Bill students including veterans, spouses, and children.
Depends on pay grade, location, and dependent status.Starts with the equivalent of an E-5 with a dependent pay grade. It can prorate based on –Months of service.Partial or full-time attendance.Campus, online, or hybrid class, or foreign school.

Other Essential Information About the Veteran Rapid Retraining Program

Here are some of the other facts about the VRRAP and MAH that you need to know –

  • Students who attend online courses will receive 50% of the national MHA rate.
  • The MHA rate is prorated according to when you start the course.
  • Active-duty members have protection against decreases in BHA. MHA won’t decrease unless your program or school changes, you take a break of six months or longer, you accept classes in a different location, or you change your credit hours.
  • The Veterans Benefits Administration will stop accepting applications once they meet either of these conditions –
  1. Last date – December 11, 2022.
  2. $386 million funding is exhausted.
  3. 17,250 participant limit is reached.

Conclusion

The VA has assured that those who lost their jobs due to the pandemic are taken care of. By using the benefits of the VRRAP housing allowance, you can make a fresh start with complete financial assistance towards a new and rewarding career in a high-demand occupation.

The ICOHS college at San Diego stands on its commitment to serving the veterans and provides complete application and financial assistance for the VRRAP aspirants. Here is how to apply for the VRRAP program through ICOHS –

  • Step 1 – Apply to ICOHS college for one of the associate’s degree programs.
  • Step 2 – Get approval for the VRRAP program.
  • Step 3 – Submit the certificate to show your eligibility.
  • Step 4 – Complete the enrollment.

ICOHS is a non-profit college that provides hands-on learning with highly qualified faculty. Reach out to us at our San Diego facility, call us at (858) 581-9460 or write to us.

Frequently Asked Questions

If the veteran pursues a 2-year associate’s degree program, should the total cost be submitted for 2 years or just 12 months?

To submit the total cost of 2-years for an associate’s degree, the school must certify the actual net cost for the program to the veteran.

The agreement says the school will not seek payment from veterans if they fail to complete their program. Does this mean that the school will not be paid if the veteran fails to complete the program?

When the veteran registers for the program, the school will get an initial 50% amount. If the veteran doesn’t complete the program, the remaining 25% amount will be prorated and paid to the school. If the veteran finds employment in the field within 180-days of terminating the program, the school will get the remaining 25% prorated for the duration of the program.

Does VRRAP cover the certified testing cost? For example, a National Board Test for Clinical Medical Assistant.

No, VRRAP does not cover the testing cost unless it is a part of the fees the school charges and is approved for the GI Bill benefits or VET TEC.

Terms

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