"Congress resolutely asserted that it is time for those of us who have been calling on these brave men and women to serve again and again to assist in providing a meaningful chance for a first-class future. This is a bill that is equal to the first-class service that they have given to this country."
These were the words of Senator Jim Webb (D-VA), when his Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act (S 22), was introduced into the Senate's 2008 Supplemental Appropriations bill in May 2008. In July 2008, the new Post-9/11 GI Bill became law when President Bush signed the Supplemental Appropriations Bill. The new Post-9/11 GI Bill went into effect August 2009. With this new law, veterans' GI Bill benefits were raised to a level similar to those received by WWII vets, covering tuition for up to 4 years at the in-state public university level. "There are no politics here. This is about taking care of the people who have taken care of us," commented Senator Webb.
POST 9-11 GI BILL vs. MONTGOMERY GI BILL
The previous expansion of the original GI Bill, Montgomery GI Bill, provided a maximum of $1,100 per month for post-secondary education if veterans paid a $1,200 deposit at the time of their enlistment. Under the Post 9-11 GI Bill, no initial payment is required upon enlistment, and veterans' tuition is covered in full as long as these educational costs don't exceed those of the most expensive public college in the veterans' home state. In addition to covering the full cost of education at any public higher education institution in the country, the Post 9-11 GI Bill also covers costs at many private schools. And the Post 9-11 GI Bill also offers a yearly books-and-supplies stipend, plus a monthly living allowance.
Under the Montgomery GI Bill, veterans had ten years to collect their educational benefits; the Post 9-11 GI Bill allows fifteen years to collect GI Bill benefits towards higher education. To qualify for the Post 9-11 GI Bill benefits, a veteran must have served at least 90 days of active duty post-9/11, and have a remaining entitlement. Only post-9/11 active duty service counts towards access to the new GI Bill.
THE GI BILL FULL EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT
The Post 9-11 GI Bill has been called a full-fledged, WWII-style GI Bill that provides upfront tuition payments directly to the educational institution, a books/supplies stipend, plus a monthly living stipend. The Post-9/11 GI Bill living expenses stipend is equal to the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) of a married E-5. The benefits you can receive are tied to length of service, requiring at least 3 years of active service before eligibility for the maximum benefit level. GI Bill supported monthly living stipends are based on the Department of Defense Basic Housing Allowance (BAH) for that region.
You can also transfer your GI Bill benefits to spouses and children, commensurate with longer terms of service.
GI Bill tuition payments can be used at any public or private college or institute of higher learning, capped at the cost of the most expensive public institution of higher learning in each state. For the more expensive private educational institutions that offer a veterans-only scholarship, the Post 9-11 GI Bill will match that scholarship dollar for dollar, up to the full cost of tuition. The Post 9-11 GI Bill is open to most servicemembers who served on active duty after Sept. 11, 2001. This includes people who haven't been eligible for the Montgomery GI Bill, such as Air Force Academy or ROTC graduates, those who declined to participate in the program and those whose service started before it went into effect in 1985.
In summary, your Post 9-11 GI Bill:
GI BILL COVERS TUITION
The Post-9/11 GI Bill covers tuition with payments sent directly to the school. The formula for determining the amount of tuition and fees paid is based on the highest cost of a state-supported bachelor's degree program. Tuition is paid directly to the college from the GI Bill.
GI BILL SUPPORTS HOUSING
A housing allowance is available to prior servicemembers who attend college as civilian, full-time students. The GI Bill housing allowance rate will be commensurate with that of a staff sergeant with dependents.
GI BILL PAYS FOR BOOKS AND SUPPLIES
A maximum of $1,000 per year is allotted to the veteran to cover the costs of books and supplies for classes. This GI Bill stipend will be paid out by terms; if a veteran attends a two-term school, the GI Bill books and supplies allotment will be $500 per semester, whereas the veteran receives $333 per term at a three-semester school.
GI BILL FOR TUTORING
$100 a month is available through the Post 9-11 GI Bill for 12 months of tutor programs should the servicemember require extra help outside of his or her studies.
GI BILL SUPPORTS CERTIFICATION
An additional $2,000 in GI Bill benefits is available to pay for one license or certification test as approved by the VA.
USING YOUR GI BILL
Many military servicemembers leverage their GI Bill benefits while on active duty, using their GI Bill for tests for college credit and tuition assistance. Some military servicemembers wait to access their GI Bill until they are no longer serving on active duty. Yet active duty military servicemembers using their GI Bill benefits now have the advantage of getting a jump-start on higher education degrees, and perhaps using their GI Bill benefits for the longest amount of time. Servicemembers can take advantage of their Post GI Bill benefits for up to 15 years after honorable discharge or retirement from military service.
TRANSFER YOUR GI BILL
A portion of your Post 9-11 GI Bill tuition stipend, as well as the tutoring allowance, may be transferred to a qualified veterans' family member. It's your GI Bill and your choice. Expand your education, your opportunity and your earning power, and that of your family, with the support of your GI Bill.
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