By Jerry Headley – Cougar News Contributor
Veterans cheer and grimace as a series of changes to the Post-9/11 GI Bill, approved by President Obama, are set to take affect Aug. 1, 2011 through Sept. 1, 2011.
With the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 and the subsequent war on terror that followed, lawmakers have taken a stand to strengthen and support troops like never before.
Created in 2008, the Post-9/11 GI Bill, which provides educational benefits to armed forces veterans having served on active duty after 9/11, is a vast improvement over the preceding Montgomery GI Bill.
Improvements over the MGIB such as: a basic allowance for housing, an extended use or lose period, and an annual book stipend, have made this new bill a favorite among student vets.
“The new GI Bill was a great thing they put out for vets,” said Jasmine Ruys, COC Director of Admissions and Records. However, “They cannot afford the program they put into place.”
Due to our nationwide budget crisis, many speculate that a lack of funding has prompted the coming amendments to reorganize the popular bill.
One change to take place is the elimination of pay during dormant periods between semesters or “break pay.” While this change would have a limited effect on those vets participating in a summer session, the 24 days of winter intersession would mean no pay during arguably the most difficult time of year to find work.
Another disturbing amendment to the bill is its lack of coverage for all out-of-state tuition or fees. This means all non-resident students must pay these fees out of pocket until a residency period of 1 year and 1 day is achieved. While this rule may not be a complete break from the norm of most state school policies, to amend this policy after a non-resident student has already begun a funded program seems underhanded at best.
The praise of this amended bill is due to its final recognition of the National Guard’s active duty service. From its inception, the Post-9/11 GI Bill had excluded these veterans from receiving benefits by way of not classifying the Guard as an armed force.
Other changes to the bill include: added reimbursement for licensing or certification test, such as the SAT, ACT, or GMAT and the use of benefits for non-college programs like OJT, flight training, and correspondence courses.
For more information visit http://gibill.va.gov/.