By Kevin Flynn
The Post-9/11 GI Bill is very important for those considering enlisting in the military. This bill outlines the educational benefits earned by those who serve in the military. This bill was signed in July 2008 to mirror the World War II GI Bill. Since the bill was signed, approximately 295,000 members have received $4 billion worth of benefits. A person must have served 90 or more days on active duty since 9/11/2001 to qualify.
What does the bill cover?
- Up to 100% of your tuition
- A monthly housing stipend
- Up to $1000 a year for Books and Supplies
- The ability to transfer these benefits to family
The Veterans Administration will pay the tuition directly to the college or university. The amount of the payment is based on the State the school is located.
The monthly housing payment, or stipend, depends on the zip code the school is located. It can range from $1,200 to $2,700 per month. The book payment benefit is based on credit hours, a member can receive $41 for books for each credit hour. The length of time a member served determines the total amount of benefits. The longer one has served the greater the benefits. If a member served 3 years then 100% of tuition is covered. If 30 months but the member was discharged because of disability then the benefit is also 100% of tuition. The benefit drops off 10% for each drop of six months, so 90% for 30 months all the way down to 50% for six total months. Someone who served 90 days receives a 40% benefit level.
Of note, this summer the bill was revisited by the military’s assistant director for personnel and readiness, Robert Clark. He thinks the GI Bill is critical to retention as well as recruitment. Clark believes that money for education remains a top reason for young Americans to join and stay in the military. He recommended updating the bill to include reserve component troops. The bill would also expand for members activated for national emergency response teams. Finally, service members who have to leave the military due to hardship or for medical reasons are eligible as long as they have an honorable discharge.
The bill would also pay fees based on charges reported by the institution to include out-of-state tuition. For private colleges the bill would allow for fees according to statistics obtained from the Department of Education. There would be an average charge based on all institutions to serve as a baseline. Housing payments would also be based on full or part time attendance, with a ratio matching the course load. In addition, housing stipends would be ok for members attending vocational schools, flight schools and even apprenticeships.