The G.I. Bill
In 2008, Congress passed a new G.I. Bill which creates a new permanent entitlement program that provides veterans with a maximum educational benefit equal to the highest tuition rate of a public college or university in their state, as well as a monthly stipend for housing determined by geographical areas. On December 21, 2010, Congress passed the Post 9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Improvements Act, which expands and streamlines the benefits and educational opportunities in the New GI Bill.
Since the G.I. Bill went into effect in August 2009, $1.2 billion worth of education benefits have been paid to student veterans. More than 475,000 veterans are eligible to use this program.
Eligibility for Entitlements
To qualify for the measure’s increased educational benefits, veterans must have served between three months and three years of active duty after Sept. 11, 2001. The measure provides veterans with educational assistance for 36 months, equal to four academic years. Under the program, a veteran’s educational entitlement is protected if his or her education was interrupted by a deployment or transfer. A veteran’s entitlement is linked to his or her duration of active duty service. A veteran who served three months of active duty would receive an entitlement that covers 40 percent of the maximum award. A veteran who served six months of active duty would receive a 50 percent entitlement, while two years of active duty service would earn an 80 percent entitlement. To receive the maximum award—equal to the highest tuition rate of a public college or university in the state—a veteran must have served three years of active duty.
The measure establishes a new program in which institutions of higher education can voluntarily agree to make financial contributions toward veterans’ tuition to make up any difference between tuition and the measure’s other payments to veterans for education. Schools set their own limits on contributions and eligibility. The Veterans Affairs Department matches such contributions for up to 50% of the tuition difference.
The Post 9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Improvements Act of 2010:
- Expands opportunities for training and education, covering vocational and technical schools, apprenticeships and on the job training that were not previously covered;
- Gives active duty students a book stipend of $1,000 per year, like veterans under the program;
- Provides living allowances for distance learners, like injured veterans forced to take online classes;
- Simplifies the Yellow Ribbon Program for veterans attending private colleges and universities and taking graduate courses, eliminating the confusing state cap system, and setting a $17,500 per year cap for tuition and fees; and
- Grants full credit to National Guardsmen, including those called up to respond to national disasters like Hurricane Katrina or the BP oil spill, making more than 130,000 service members eligible for these education benefits.
If you are a veteran interested in taking advantage of the new G.I. Bill please visit, http://www.gibill.va.gov/.