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Manage Benefits and Finances

“I pay for my school as soon as I receive my GI Bill payment. I do not wait. I get the money for school and that is exactly where it goes. I am afraid that if I wait then I will spend it. So I take care of all my school stuff immediately.”

Going back to school to learn a new trade or pursue a new profession is a great opportunity afforded by some hard-earned and well-deserved rewards for service and sacrifice. However, VA education benefits may not cover all of the expenses related to a college education. Make sure you check out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to see what federal loans and grants you may qualify for. Unlike theapplication for VA education benefits, there is a deadline for submitting the FAFSA for each school year. 
While VA education benefits, grants, and other tuition assistance usually do not have to be repaid, student loans will often enter repayment 90 days after a student stops attending classes or graduates. As with all loans, rates and terms will vary according to the lender, but many undergraduates will qualify for federally funded and/or subsidized loans in addition to grants.
Once you have your financial package in place, it can be challenging to manage your benefits and finances. Unlike traditional college students, veterans may have additional family obligations. A variety of tools are available to help you plan for expenses such as buying a new laptop or making a mortgage payment.  

Take advantage of the new student orientation courses required by most colleges and universities which review financial management strategies.
 Nonprofit organizations offer budget and/or credit counseling services to those who qualify, while other agencies are set up specifically for veterans to receive financial planning advice. Adhering to a budget by paying tuition, fees, and other expenses as soon as the funding is available ensures that your educational, personal, and financial well-being come first.

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