Changes coming to education benefits of military veterans

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By Sandra Kelly

 

The Department of Veterans Affairs has recently announced that changes will be coming the Post 9/11 GI Bill this October.  The changes, which were initiated by Congress, will go into effect on October 1st and will allow veterans to use the Post 9/11 GI Bill for programs such as non-college degrees, on the job training, and correspondence courses. 

Veterans will also be eligible to receive a portion of the national monthly housing allowance rate when enrolled only in distance learning courses.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has already started implanting these latest changes to the Post 9/11 GI Bill and has also begun processing fall 2011 enrollment certifications.  This outreach by the VA has allowed more college and universities to participate in the Yellow Ribbon program, which helps students avoid any out-of-pocket expenses that may exceed the GI Bill benefit.  Currently, more than 2,600 schools are participating in the Yellow Ribbon program.

These new changes are in addition to the changes made earlier this month that included paying the actual net cost of all public in-state tuition and fees, instead of just making payments based on the highest in-state tuition and fee rates for every state.  Private and foreign tuition rates are now capped at $17,500 per academic year.  Also, payments will be ceased during certain school breaks in order to preserve veterans’ entitlement for future academic semesters.

The recent changes to the Post 9/11 GI Bill will enable more veterans to increase their education through different avenues, enabling them to improve their chances of starting a career once they are finished with tour overseas.  To date, the GI Bill has awarded more than $11.5 billion in benefits to more than 537,000 students, allowing these students to further their education and reach their academic goals.

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