Real Answers from Real Pilots

Anyone using the GI Bill right now for a 141 school no college

Hi All I’m trying to find someone who is actually using their GI bill benefits for school without doing the college piece. I’m wondering how the payments work. Do you pay the school after each lesson and then when the school gets the money they give it back? Do they allow you to hold off paying until the va money comes in. The school I’m looking at makes you pay directly after the lesson so if I’m trying to fly 3 times a week at an average cost of 143 for the plane and 65 for the instructor it’s about 320 per which makes it about 4 thousand dollars a month. I can’t afford that. lastly what happens when aug 1st comes around and you didnt use up your 13900 do you lose what you didnt use or does it carry over to the next year.
Thanks all.

The GI bill pays that yearly amount. There is no rollover. The way it is deducted from your remaining benefits is as follows, they divide the yearly dollar allowance by 365 (for days in the year). If you use up the full yearly allowance, you have then used 12 months of your GI bill benefits. In my opinion, it is the worst use of benefits in terms of value.

I opted to not use benefits for flight training after a TON of research about it. First thing you need to do is search for a VA approved flight training program. The school will bill the VA (you should not have to come out of pocket) until you hit that yearly cap. At that point you are responsible to pay, until the new academic year. In order to use the benefits, you have to be enrolled in both instrument and commercial training, which can be a lot of money out of pocket. Now if you are just trying to cut down the out of pocket cost, then go for it… but to pay for all of the flight training will be almost impossible via this route.

Hope it helps. Good luck.

Tim thanks for the response. The school I’m looking at is a part 141 school. I already have a degree and I’m 40 years old and getting ready to retire next August. I don’t want to waste time getting to a regional. I was thinking about paying for my instrument out of pocket part 61 and then using 2 years of GI bill to do commercial since it is the most expensive. I might need to find a different school that won’t make me pay up front if I had all that money up front I wouldn’t need the GI bill. This is one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make and I want to make the right one.

Okay, be sure you make check that the school is on the VA approved list. You can find that tool here,;jsessionid=qtMbSxQFpzyL7GpnQrtnNGv6G9CGQQvb2YqM9Cvw3vB2pv2lXhfJ!-1531379871


I can’t imagine that you will be able to find a school that will not expect payment at time of service, that just is not how the industry works.

Using the GI Bill for flight training is notoriously difficult and not really feasible. For this reason, most people opt not to do so.



Are you still active duty? Have you looked into the Liberty FTA program? I used that route since there was a FTA near me and flew on the weekends and after work while active duty. I was able to finish my instrument and I start my last semester (3 of 3) for commercial this fall using the FTA (1.5 years total so far). My ADSC is up in September 2020 which gives me plenty of time to finish my CFI and CFII. The only out of pocket costs so far have been examiner fees and PPL. I also have my degree so I didn’t have to take any extra classes, just been taking the flight classes and ground courses.

When I looked into using the GI Bill without college I found it was a huge waste of the benefit and would not get me very far in terms of training. You’ll be required to sign up for Instrument and Commercial at the same time and only get one use of the $13K for the combined course, which will probably run you close to $25K out of pocket, not including examiner fees.

The only guys I’ve talked to using the GI Bill without the college route have been finishing up CFI, CFII or MEI training. The $13K will typically cover one of those costs per academic year.


I’ve been looking into this as well, I retire from the Army in July 2020. Also looking into what are the jobs I can get and pay after getting my commercial. From what I am learning a 141 school will all be covered but you can only use it at the capped amount per year. So it will take longer but all be covered.

Yes I’m still active . I looked up liberty and the FTAs but there are none around me. I think what im gonna have to do is use 1 year of the MGIB to get my instrument then when I retire use the last 2 years to get my commercial at liberty then just pay for cfi and mei out of pocket if I run out of entitlements. The problem is I dont want to not be moving forward for a whole year until I retire next August. Paying for PPL was expensive for me. Now that I know what I know I’m pretty sure I can get it done in less than 1 year of MGIB.


Hopefully you can figure out the VA system to work for you. Took me a few months of research and calling around before I went with my plan. I just got lucky that liberty has an FTA near me.