In December 2010, the bill to expand and improve on the 2009 Post 9/11 GI Bill was passed. President Obama has expressed overwhelming support for Post 9/11 GI Bill improvements. Veterans organizations cheered the passing of GI Bill improvements.
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Post 9/11 GI Bill Extended Benefits Pared Down

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In December 2010, the bill to expand and improve on the 2009 Post 9/11 GI Bill was passed by the House and Senate, with support from President Obama, and announced by White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. The legislation improved education benefits for U.S. military veterans serving with the armed forces since Sept. 11, 2001.

But starting in 2011, veterans using the Post 9/11 GI bill will also see their monthly living stipends stopped between fall and winter semesters, and only full-time students will continue to draw stipends at the 100 percent rate.

While President Obama has expressed overwhelming support for Post 9/11 GI Bill improvements, a reduction in stipend payments and a cap on tuition fees for private schools seemed to be the price of passing the expanded Post 9/11 GI Bill into law.

Congress passed the Post 9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Improvements Act of 2010 before Christmas 2010. President Obama will sign the amended bill into law January 2011.

WHAT WAS GAINED IN THE EXPANDED POST 9-11 GI BILL

Expanded Coverage
Post 9/11 GI benefits can be used for a college degree PLUS on-the-job training, apprenticeships, vocational-technical schools and other non-degree granting institutions.

Guard Members Benefit
An oversight of the 2008 GI Bill left National Guard members without benefits; the expanded Post 9/11 GI Bill will allow National Guard to qualify for the new GI Bill if activated for sufficient length of time since 9/11 under Title 32 for domestic emergencies or homeland security missions. Full-time service under the Active Guard and Reserve (AGR) program with also qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill.

Less Complexity
Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits at public colleges and universities will continue to cover full tuition and fees. But the variance in entitlements for attending private colleges will be capped at $17,500 benefit, adjusted annually based on the nationwide rise in education costs.

Book Stipends
Active-duty members and spouses attending college will be eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill book stipend up to $1,000 a year.

Living Stipend for Online Education
Students exclusively taking classes online will receive a living stipend equal to half the average housing allowance stipend paid to resident students, of more than $650 a month.

Disabled Veterans
Veterans with service-connected disabilities who are eligible for GI Bill benefits but who elect to participate in Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VRE) training will become eligible for a new living allowance of up to $780 a month.

Kickers Convert To Benefits
Military students who received recruitment or retention kickers from the Defense Department under Montgomery GI Bill or MGIB for Selected Reserves will be able to convert that into Post-9/11 benefits.

WHAT WAS LOST IN THE POST 9/11 GI BILL

Stipends Stopped
veterans using the Post 9/11 GI bill will see their monthly living stipends stopped between fall and winter semesters.

For Full Time Students Only
Only full-time students will continue to draw stipends at the 100 percent rate.

Still, an estimated 400,000 veterans are expected to from these and other changes in the first year after reforms take effect.

POST 9/11 GI BILL SUPPORT FROM PRESIDENT OBAMA
There are always concerns about federal program expansion in a waning economy saddled with a tighter federal budget. For 2010, Congress recognized military service members and responsibility to honor those who have served with an overwhelming 409 to 3 vote in support of the GI Bill improvements, confirming that improving the GI Bill program for military veterans is a priority in any economy.

Veterans organizations cheered the passing of GI Bill improvements. According to Jimmie L. Foster, national commander of The American Legion, ongoing GI Bill improvements fulfill the promises of the previous, well intentioned, but incomplete Post-9/11 GI Bill.



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