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Making the Most of Your GI Bill®: Five Things Veterans Need to Know

As a veteran, you already have most of what it takes to become a great coder: you have grit, determination, motivation, and are a great problem-solver. Thanks to our certification by the US Department of Veterans Affairs, you can put those skills to use with a career in the tech industry when you use your GI Bill® to fund your Code Fellows education. Our military program manager Teri Pfeffer explains the five most important things you need to know about the GI Bill® and how it can help kickstart your career in coding.

As the military program manager for Code Fellows, part of the admissions team, and a military spouse of 24 years, I know firsthand how challenging it can be for members of the veteran community to transition out of their military role and into civilian life (and what it’s like to be a military spouse who has to get a new job every three years). The job market looks very different in the civilian world, and many veterans struggle to translate the valuable skill sets they learned in the military to relevant civilian work. Here at Code Fellows, we believe in our veteran community and are passionate about serving veterans and helping them transition into new and rewarding careers. That’s why I’m always looking for more ways Code Fellows can help serve the veteran community—a community that has served all of us so well.

Navigating civilian life can be hard enough on its own, so here at Code Fellows, we want to make it as easy as possible to understand how to apply your GI Bill® to your education. To date, we’ve had more than 300 veterans attend Code Fellows, and we are proud of the work they have accomplished. Our graduates have a median salary of $72,500 and median time to hire of 18 weeks, so you can rest assured that Code Fellows will support you in your goal of transitioning into the tech industry. Ready to find out how to use your funding to kickstart your (or your spouse’s or dependant’s) career in tech? Read on to learn how to get started.

(1) Check your eligibility

The GI Bill® pays according to the amount of active duty you have served. If you served three or more years, you could qualify for up to 36 months of school funding at 100 percent coverage—but funds are granted for as little as 90 days of active duty.

Code Fellows is also approved to accept the following VA funding:

  • Chapter 30 Montgomery GI Bill®
  • Chapter 1606 Selected Reserve Program
  • Chapter 35 Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program
  • Chapter 31 Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Program
  • VET TEC Program

(If any of these apply to you, feel free to reach out to me directly with any questions.)

The total amount you receive depends on when and how long you served, the number of credits you’re taking, and several other factors, so be sure to check your eligibility on the Department of Veteran Affairs website when planning your education.

(2) Know what’s covered

Both our daytime and night & weekend courses are considered full-time hours by the VA. In addition to tuition, the GI Bill® provides veterans who study at Code Fellows with a prorated monthly housing allowance based on their eligibility percentage and the current rate for our location. The current rate for 2019 is $2808. There is also a $1000 prorated annual book stipend. Over 300 veterans have chosen to use their benefits at Code Fellows and gone on to have successful careers in coding.

(3) Apply simultaneously

Don’t wait for your benefits to be approved by the VA before applying for Code Fellows. It can take anywhere from two to four weeks to receive your Certificate of Eligibility (CoE), so it’s best to apply for both your benefits and your education at the same time. Once you receive approval from the VA, email your CoE or Education Enrollment Status (available on your eBenefits portal) to veterans@codefellows.com. Along with your CoE or EES, we require a copy of your DD214 no later than three weeks before the first day of your class in order to certify your enrollment with the VA—all remaining admissions requirements are due at this time as well. The admissions process typically takes two to three weeks to complete, so we encourage you to plan ahead.

(4) Consider the VET TEC program

The VET TEC program is designed to help veterans transition into tech careers and can be used along with the GI Bill® to cover your tuition and housing. Using the VET TEC program does not count against your remaining days of GI Bill® eligibility (in fact, you only need one day of benefits available to apply), making it a fantastic option for veterans looking to transition into tech. The program requires you to find relevant employment within six months of graduation—but that’s not an issue for Code Fellows grads: 93 percent of job seekers are employed at companies like Amazon, Google, and Comcast, with a median job search time of just 18 weeks.

(5) Explore all of your options

If you don’t have enough GI Bill® benefits to pay for classes at Code Fellows, there are other avenues to enrollment. You can apply for a scholarship through our Diversity Scholarship Fund (which has awarded more than $2.7 million to hundreds of students), or you can fund your education through the Washington Worker Retraining Program, which can pay for up to 15 percent of your tuition. Vocational Rehabilitation is another option that may be available to you. We recommend speaking to an admissions advisor to make the most of your available funding.

If you’re a veteran interested in learning more, give me a call—it’s what I’m here for.

Whether you’re already experienced in tech or you’re looking to shift your career (or life) path, we believe in you—and you can use the GI Bill® or the VET TEC program to help fund your classes. Check out our coding course map to see where you can take that first step.

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