By Debbie Gregory.
It has been four years since the kickoff of the Post-9/11 GI Bill program, and in that time, the VA has issued more than $30 billion in Veteran education benefit payments to service members, veterans and their families – more than 1 million people in all.
The program doesn’t just pay the tuition for Veteran schools, it also covers educational expenses, such as books and fees. Applicants who have served 90 days on active duty since Sept. 10, 2001, or who are discharged with a service-connected disability, can also receive a housing allowance while they study.
For a complete list of eligibility requirements and opportunities for veteran education, visit the MilitaryConnection.com education page.
“The Post-9/11 GI Bill has helped many of our nation’s Veterans pursue their education and successfully transition to civilian life,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “We’re proud that the Department of Veterans Affairs can administer this important benefit that makes such a big difference in the lives of nearly a million Veterans and their families.”
The Post-9/11 GI Bill educational benefit was a complete overhaul of the previous educational assistance program, the GI Bill, which had not changed in scope or coverage since 1944. The new program now covers traditional Veteran education, such as graduate and undergraduate degrees, as well as Veteran vocational and technical training, Veteran on-the-job training, Veteran flight training, Veteran distance education and correspondence training, Veteran licensing and national testing programs, entrepreneurship training and tutorial assistance.
The program also processes benefit payments quickly, averaging a seven-day turn-around for currently enrolled students.
“Since the end of World War II, GI Bill programs have shaped and changed the lives of Veterans, Servicemembers, their families and their survivors by helping them reach their educational and employment goals,” said Allison A. Hickey, Under Secretary for Benefits. “That is still true today.”
The VA is working with schools, community organizations and other partners to ensure beneficiaries have all the information they need to use their education benefits, including:
- Education plans for all military and Veteran education beneficiaries;
- A designated point of contact for academic and financial advice at each school; and
- An end to fraudulent and aggressive recruiting techniques and misrepresentation.
This summer, the VA is launching new tools to help beneficiaries learn more about their vocational aptitudes and select an education institution.
- The ‘Factors to Consider When Choosing a School’ guide offers future students steps to take when researching, choosing, and attending a school.
- CareerScope® is a free, new tool that will measure a student’s aptitude and interests through a self-administered online test, identifying potential career paths.
- The new GI Bill® Comparison Tool will allow students to research and compare schools, including key indicators like average student loan debt and graduation rates.