Post-9/11 GI Bill has paid out $30 billion in first four years

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by George W. Reilly

 

The fourth anniversary of the Post-9/11 GI Bill was celebrated on Aug. 1, with the Department of Veterans Affairs issuing approximately $30 billion in payments helping nearly 1 million service members, veterans and their families pursue their education over that period.
The Post-9/11 GI Bill is the most extensive educational assistance program since the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, more commonly known as the GI Bill, became law. The new GI Bill provides comprehensive educational support through tuition, books and housing allowance to people with at least 90 days of total service after Sept. 10, 2001, or people discharged with a service-connected disability after 30 days.
Approved training under the bill includes graduate and undergraduate degrees, vocational and technical training, on-the-job training, flight training, correspondence training, licensing and national testing programs, entrepreneurship training and tutorial assistance.
The VA is now processing benefit payments for currently enrolled students in an average of seven days, thanks to implementation of VA’s Long Term Solution, an improved electronic claims-processing system.
In April 2012, President Obama signed Executive Order 13607, which established the Principles of Excellence, offering guidelines that promote student success under the program and ensure accurate information about institutions and their courses. More than 6,000 educational and training institutions have agreed to comply with these principles.
The VA is working with schools, community organizations and other partners to ensure that beneficiaries have all the information they need to use their education benefits, including an education plan for all military and veteran education beneficiaries, a designated point of contact for academic and financial advice at each school and an end to aggressive recruiting techniques and misrepresentation by fraudulent schools and programs.
This summer, the VA is launching new tools to help beneficiaries learn more about their vocational aptitudes and select an education institution. The “Factors to Consider When Choosing a School” guide (http://gibill.va.gov/documents/factsheets/Choosing_a_School.pdf) offers future students steps to take when researching, choosing and attending a school.
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