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Education and Training

The 85/15 Rule

The 85/15 Rule (85/15) requires that a minimal number of non-Veterans find a program worthwhile and valuable or the payment of Federal funds to Veterans who enroll in the program will not be authorized. The 85 Percent Rule prohibits paying Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits to students enrolling in a program when more than 85 percent of the students enrolled in that program are having any portion of their tuition, fees, or other mandatory charges paid for them by the Educational and Training Institution (ETI) or by VA under Title 38 and Title 10. When the ratio of supported students to non-supported students exceeds 85 percent, only students maintaining continuous enrollment may continue to receive benefits for that program. 

The provisions of the 85 Percent Rule do not apply to:

  • Farm cooperative training courses
  • Flying clubs (also known as "aero clubs") operating under regulations of the Armed Forces as "non-appropriated sundry fund activities”
  • Veterans in pursuit of a program leading to a high school diploma, equivalency certificate, or a refresher, remedial, or deficiency course
  • Educational and Training Institutions (ETI) that do not assess tuition, fees, or other mandatory charges [commonly, but not limited to, On-the-Job (OJT) and Apprenticeship (APP) facilities]
  • Approved programs with fewer than 10 supported students enrolled
  • Accredited Educational and Training Institutions (ETI) and Vocational Flight Schools with the 35 percent exemption

All other facilities, including but not limited to Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL), Non-College Degree Institutions (NCD), and Vocational Flight Schools, must comply with 85/15.

Establishment of the 85/15 Rule

Congress adopted the 85 percent rule in 1952 to combat predatory school abuses found to occur following the implementation of the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944. To this day, it remains an important safeguard to the integrity of the GI Bill®. Compliance with and enforcement of the 85 percent rule is mandated under statute and regulation.

Effect of the 85/15 Rule on VA beneficiaries enrolled in programs at an approved Educational and Training Institution (ETI)

VA cannot pay benefits for a program if more than 85 percent of the students in that program are having any portion of the cost paid by VA or the school. If a program goes over the 85 percent limit, currently enrolled GI Bill® students will continue to receive benefits for as long as they remain continuously enrolled in the program. Students using the Veterans Readiness and Employment (VR&E) and Survivors' and Dependents' Educational (DEA) programs count as supported students under the 85/15 Rule; however, they may receive benefits when enrolling in a program that exceeds 85 percent supported students. 

Additional 85/15 Webpages
85/15 FAQS Full-Time Equivalency Suspension and Review
Restricted Aid Supported and Non-Supported Students Reporting Requirements
35 Percent Exemption DoD Exemption Education Service Waiver