GI Bill for SANS Training

globalenjoiglobalenjoi Senior MemberPosts: 104Member ■■■□□□□□□□
Hey guys, just got some feedback from the SANS Technology Institute that some may find useful. I've been looking at different grad school programs to use my GI bill on, ideally for some technical training, since you can't use it for boot camps or certification trainings. But since SANS has graduate certificates that count for credit towards their masters program, I decided to email SANS Technology Institute to get a more clear answer than what the VA has on their website. Here is the reply:

"Thank you for your email. All of STI’s graduate certificate programs are eligible for GI Bill benefits. Which program are you interested in?

The major difference with how benefits are administered at STI is that we do not operate a traditional academic calendar. We operate course terms. Each course in your certificate program will last between 150-90 days (depending on the program and course). The rate of pursuit is also calculated per course. For example, if you enroll in a 3 credit hour course lasting 90 days, you would be considered full time. Our formula for a full time rate of pursuit is based off 1 credit hour per month of enrollment.


I look forward to working with you to start the enrollment process.


Regards,
Matthew


Matthew H. Scott, M.A.
School Certifying Official, VA Education Benefits
SANS Technology Institute (STI) (www.sans.edu/veterans)
[URL="tel:%28303%29%20953-9471"](303) 953-9471[/URL]"


It might not be a perfect way to get some good technical training with the GI bill, but it at least seems like it will work. Just wanted to share in case there were others interested.

Comments

  • RobicusRobicus CISSP, GSE #202, GSEC, GCIA, GCIH, GPEN, GMON, GCFE, GCCC, eJPT Posts: 140Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Thanks for sharing! I can also attest to this as I am currently enrolled in the master's program and am using GI Benefits.

    I'll also add: The BAH (when using Post 9/11 benefits) is awesome. You can attend a 1 week course in Baltimore and then earn 4 months' BAH (approximately $2,200 per month).

    Very cool stuff!

    P.S. -- Matthew Scott is awesome.
    What's Next? Sans Cyber Security Master's Degree (MSISE) [Currently Enrolled]
    ... Progress { | | | | | | | | | . } // 95%

    CISSP, GSE #202, GSEC, GCIA, GCIH, GPEN, GMON, GCFE, GCCC, eJPT
  • globalenjoiglobalenjoi Senior Member Posts: 104Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Good to know! My employer has mentioned that if I get started on the certificate and the GI bill is covering the tuition, they could probably cover the travel and hotel to attend a course in-person rather than having to do it all online. I'd prefer to do that because I think I could learn a bit extra from the event and then still have training materials for the next few months.

    So is that how the housing allowance works? If I attend a a training in person, it's no longer an "online only" payout and I get the rate for the location of the SANS Technology Institute? If so, I -definitely- have to attend the training in person...
  • hilldhilld Posts: 42Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    Good to know! My employer has mentioned that if I get started on the certificate and the GI bill is covering the tuition, they could probably cover the travel and hotel to attend a course in-person rather than having to do it all online. I'd prefer to do that because I think I could learn a bit extra from the event and then still have training materials for the next few months.

    So is that how the housing allowance works? If I attend a a training in person, it's no longer an "online only" payout and I get the rate for the location of the SANS Technology Institute? If so, I -definitely- have to attend the training in person...

    I have done both the online as well as in person classes, and for my experience I prefer online, as you are away from your "normal" life including work and family and can focus on the training plus you get the benefit of the interaction in class. Now that being said, the online training is very good, videos, labs, etc, but it comes down to "the other shiny objects" that are distracting.

    Good luck in your education endeavor.
  • globalenjoiglobalenjoi Senior Member Posts: 104Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Just an update here, for anyone who isn't already aware.

    I am currently using my GI bill to pay for a SANS graduate certificate program. I went for the GSEC bootcamp in Baltimore in October, and I'm prepping for the test and writing assignment. I can confirm that by attending the course in person, you DO get paid the housing for the 4-month course length at the Maryland rate. It's pretty much double what I would get here in OKC, and triple the online-only portion. Just wanted to make sure that was known, since I had some trouble tracking down that info when I was initially getting started.
  • gwood113gwood113 Posts: 65Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    So you'll get the BAH rate for wherever the conference is for the duration of each class?
  • globalenjoiglobalenjoi Senior Member Posts: 104Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Not exactly. The school is only certified in Maryland, so to get the VA to pay for the program at all, you have to attend the courses in Maryland. If you attend a training in any other state, the school won't be able to get paid by the VA, you won't get the housing allownace, and you'll be stuck paying for the course. So the downside is that I'm stuck going to only the training events held in Baltimore, as opposed to going to any more fun places like San Diego or Las Vegas. But the positive side is that by attending the course in Baltimore, you get the BAH rate for Baltimore, regardless of where you live.
  • wolf9081wolf9081 Posts: 61Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    You can also take the training online and utilize the GI Bill benefits. The only downside is that you will only receive the BAH rate for online schools. You do receive BAH for 4 months for each course that you take.
  • TranceSoulBrotherTranceSoulBrother Posts: 215Member
    From my understanding, the course is one week and then you have 4 months to study and pass the test, right?
    - So if it's 4 months, will the VA deduct 4 months of benefits and you receive the commensurate pay or what?
    - How often do they hold training in Baltimore? Are travel and lodging expenses covered by VA?

    I only have 12 months of post 9/11 GI Bill available, so I'm trying to figure out if I should invest in a graduate certificate with SANS or use the benefit towards a PhD program.
  • wolf9081wolf9081 Posts: 61Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Yes, the VA will deduct 4 months of eligibility for each course taken. You do not get any additional pay, you will receive BAH for either Baltimore if taken in person or the online rate for On-Demand courses.
  • globalenjoiglobalenjoi Senior Member Posts: 104Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    From my understanding, the course is one week and then you have 4 months to study and pass the test, right?
    - So if it's 4 months, will the VA deduct 4 months of benefits and you receive the commensurate pay or what?
    - How often do they hold training in Baltimore? Are travel and lodging expenses covered by VA?

    I only have 12 months of post 9/11 GI Bill available, so I'm trying to figure out if I should invest in a graduate certificate with SANS or use the benefit towards a PhD program.

    The first bit is correct, one course would deduct 4 months of your remaining time and you'd receive 4 months of housing. However, keep in mind that the graduate certificate is 3-4 courses, so you're looking at 12 hours from one graduate certificate. Still worth it IMO if you don't work somewhere that will pay for it.

    The training in Baltimore seems to happen twice per year, once in the fall and once in the spring (seems like October/April), and the VA won't cover lodging or travel expenses. My employer is happy to cover the travel and lodging for me since I'm covering the tuition, which is far more expensive. I'd recommend trying that as well, as it's pretty much win-win for everyone involved. Even if you have to cover the expenses, I would recommend doing the math as it may still be worth your time. One training is worth $6,600 and $8,800 in housing depending on credit hours, so even if I had to cover my own expenses, it would be worth it as I'd still see extra money in my pocket.

    My understanding is that the VA won't even cover the tuition cost if you attend a training somewhere else. I'd love to be able to hit 3 different locations, but it seems like that won't happen.
  • RobicusRobicus CISSP, GSE #202, GSEC, GCIA, GCIH, GPEN, GMON, GCFE, GCCC, eJPT Posts: 140Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    I can only speak on behalf my experience in the SANS master's program (MSISE), but...

    Each course doesn't necessarily deduct 4 months of GI benefits. Here's an example: if I enroll in SEC503, which in the master's program, requires a Gold paper, the semester is actually 5 months long (they changed it from 4). Here's the deal: if I complete all course requirements at the 3 month mark, for example, the VA only deducts 3 months (not 5).

    I've seen students do this frequently to save on their remaining months. The flipside, of course, is that you're also receiving less BAH if you finish earlier.
    What's Next? Sans Cyber Security Master's Degree (MSISE) [Currently Enrolled]
    ... Progress { | | | | | | | | | . } // 95%

    CISSP, GSE #202, GSEC, GCIA, GCIH, GPEN, GMON, GCFE, GCCC, eJPT
  • globalenjoiglobalenjoi Senior Member Posts: 104Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Robicus wrote: »
    I can only speak on behalf my experience in the SANS master's program (MSISE), but...

    Each course doesn't necessarily deduct 4 months of GI benefits. Here's an example: if I enroll in SEC503, which in the master's program, requires a Gold paper, the semester is actually 5 months long (they changed it from 4). Here's the deal: if I complete all course requirements at the 3 month mark, for example, the VA only deducts 3 months (not 5).

    I've seen students do this frequently to save on their remaining months. The flipside, of course, is that you're also receiving less BAH if you finish earlier.

    That's actually good to know. I'm kind of regretting the Core Engineering graduate certificate just because of the writing assignments and extra deadlines, and I'm especially dreading the Gold paper that I'll have to do with the GCIA course. But I won't be rushing the course, as the BAH is more than worth it. The BAH is almost double my rent, so I'll be using some to pay for the eCPPT once I pass the GSEC.
  • Russ5813Russ5813 Posts: 123Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Thanks for the info, global. I have only 1 month left on my GI Bill and was just planning on using it for a test voucher at some point, but this makes me wonder if I can squeeze a forensics class out of the deal.
  • BillHooBillHoo Posts: 203Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Let us know how far you get. I've been trying to get enrolled in the Masters program at SANS since 2014!


    They keep sending someone to talk to me. (at least two separate occasions 2014 and then again in 2016) We start the conversation, I send some paperwork and then I never hear back from them!

    If they don't think I'm eligible, they should just tell me. If I am eligible, they should direct me to the next steps!

    Recently I got a survey from SANS asking if I knew about their Masters Program. I gave them my two cents!

    Hey guys, just got some feedback from the SANS Technology Institute that some may find useful. I've been looking at different grad school programs to use my GI bill on, ideally for some technical training, since you can't use it for boot camps or certification trainings. But since SANS has graduate certificates that count for credit towards their masters program, I decided to email SANS Technology Institute to get a more clear answer than what the VA has on their website. Here is the reply:

    "Thank you for your email. All of STI’s graduate certificate programs are eligible for GI Bill benefits. Which program are you interested in?

    The major difference with how benefits are administered at STI is that we do not operate a traditional academic calendar. We operate course terms. Each course in your certificate program will last between 150-90 days (depending on the program and course). The rate of pursuit is also calculated per course. For example, if you enroll in a 3 credit hour course lasting 90 days, you would be considered full time. Our formula for a full time rate of pursuit is based off 1 credit hour per month of enrollment.


    I look forward to working with you to start the enrollment process.


    Regards,
    Matthew


    Matthew H. Scott, M.A.
    School Certifying Official, VA Education Benefits
    SANS Technology Institute (STI) (www.sans.edu/veterans)
    [URL="tel:%28303%29%20953-9471"](303) 953-9471[/URL]"


    It might not be a perfect way to get some good technical training with the GI bill, but it at least seems like it will work. Just wanted to share in case there were others interested.
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