There a number of ways you can pay for college.
Facts: The Post 9/11 GI Bill 2.0 updates began August 1, 2011.
You can read about the changes in the VA Pamphlet and see the overview here: http://www.gibill.va.gov/documents/pamphlets/ch33_pamphlet.pdf
If you have eligible active-duty service, a percentage of the following will be covered: The cost of tuition and fees at CSULA, a monthly housing allowance up to the E-5 allowance for the zipcode 90032, annual book stipend of $1,000.
You have 15 years from the last active duty assignment to use your benefits. You have 36 months of entitlement. Please note, entitlement is based on time, not a dollar amount. You do not need to use the GI Bill consecutively. The housing allowance does not cover breaks. Our winter student recess is typically 3 weeks in December and 1 week in January. Your housing allowance will be adjusted accordingly by the VA.
Federal Financial Aid:
The first year after you separate from the military, you may not initially qualify for federal financial aid, or may only qualify for loans. Please contact Financial Aid and request an adjustment due to changes in your income. We highly encourage you to resubmit the FAFSA annually during the priority period as your income may change. You may wish to consider using federal and state financial aid (Pell Grants, Cal Grants, University Grants) and applying for undergraduate scholarships if you intend to go to graduate school. Free Federal Financial Aid (PELL and CAL grants) is not offered to graduate students, and there may be scholarship opportunities available to you.
Which is better?
When looking at your financial award, calculate your housing costs and books and supplies costs if you are considering graduate school. It may make sense for some students to hold their GI Bill benefits for graduate school costs if federal and state financial aid pays most or all of your needs. If you have questions, please call the Veterans Affairs Office or Financial Aid Office to speak with a financial aid counselor. Your education is important, and we want you to feel confident in your choices to pay for it.