Benefits and Online Studies

While Mason's online classes are no different from classes you attend when it comes to academic credit, there are some differences when using VA benefits.

Students taking online courses might see an impact on their basic allowance for housing (BAH) or monthly housing allowance (MHA). The effective MHA rate for those enrolled solely in distance learning is half of the national average MHA.

The Department of Veterans Affairs will look at what it calls the difference between in-residence training and distance learning when determining your housing allowance.

You're considered to be an in-residence undergraduate student if you have at least one regularly scheduled class (at least once every two weeks) during the term or period of enrollment. Graduate students are considered in residence if they have at least two regularly scheduled standard class sessions, research (this can be done on or off campus), or a combination of both.

You're considered to be in a distance-learning program if you take classes through the use of technology instead of in conventional classroom or laboratory sessions. You might take classes via such means as:

  • Telephone.
  • Audio or videoconferencing.
  • Online (internet or e-mail).

If classes combine distance learning with the occasional class session, but aren't classified as in-residence training, they're considered distance learning.

If this will have an impact on your decision on which type of class to take, it's best to discuss this with the Office of Military Services before enrolling in an online class. Call 703-993-1316.