If you are a veteran, you may have benefits available that can help you pursue an in-demand career field with a high return on investment. At Sterling we value our servicemembers – offering a 10% discount on our in-house training programs – and want to thank you for your dedication and service by helping you leverage these benefits for flight training.
Most important to know is that not all flight schools can accept VA benefits. Only approved, Part 141 training programs are eligible. At Sterling, our flight training is approved for the Montgomery GI Bill, Post 9/11 GI Bill and Veteran Readiness and Employment (Formerly known as Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment). In addition to our in-house programs, our partnership with Liberty University allows you to obtain a bachelor’s degree while also earning your pilot certificates and ratings.
So, what do the benefits cover?
- Montgomery GI Bill: The Montgomery GI Bill reimbursement for flight training is limited to 60% of costs up to the maximum number of hours approved for flight training and ground school. The maximum hours are based on the FAA Part 141 regulations for each certificate or rating sought. This reimbursement is paid to you monthly and is calculated on the total cost of actual training you received. The benefit excludes hours over the approved maximum, FAA medical exams, training kits, books, or other materials. However, at your request, the VA will consider reimbursement for your FAA written exams and checkrides.
- Post 9/11 GI Bill: The GI Bill® covers $15,075.05 of vocational flight training per year (as of academic year 2022-2023). The training must be conducted through a VA approved Part 141 flight training program. Vocational training is designed to be career advancing and assist the veteran in obtaining advanced flight ratings which include Instrument, Commercial, Multi-engine add on, as well as all instructor ratings. A second class medical and a private pilot certificate is required to begin (unless the student is paying for their private pilot out of pocket), and you must have an eligibility letter from the VA. The benefit excludes hours over the approved maximum, FAA medical exams, training kits, books, or other materials. However, at your request, the VA will consider reimbursement for your FAA written exams and checkrides.
- Flight Training Degree Program: At a public university the VA will pay for up to the full in-state cost of tuition and fees (depending on your level of eligibility and remaining entitlement). You may also receive a monthly housing allowance and money to help buy books and supplies. For a private college or university the VA will pay the net cost of tuition and fees up to a yearly limit (depending on your level of eligibility and remaining entitlement). You may also receive a housing allowance and money to help buy books and supplies. You can also apply for additional funds to cover tuition and fees above the yearly limit through the Yellow Ribbon Program.
- VR&E: Previously called Vocational Rehab, this program was designed to help vets with a VA disability prepare for a new career, covering up to 100% of their education costs along with a monthly stipend. At a minimum you must have at least a 10% disability to qualify and a discharge that is not “dishonorable”. The eligibility period typically lasts 12 years from your date of separation from the military, but there can be some exceptions that extend that deadline.
If you are considering using your VA benefits toward professional flight training, here is the common training path:
- Obtain a Private Pilot’s Certificate (The VA will not pay for this but you can find financing for this first step)
- Obtain an Instrument Flight Rating
- Obtain a Commercial Pilot’s License
- Obtain a Multi Engine Add-on
- Obtain Flight Instructor’s License
- Become a flight instructor for the school
- Teach and earn flight hours toward the 1500 hour minimum
To determine your eligibility and the best way to benefits toward career pilot training, we strongly encourage you to contact your VA representative.
If you already understand your benefits and are ready to enroll, contact us today.