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VA Outlines October Changes in Post-9/11 GI Bill

By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 11, 2011 – The third round of 2011 changes to the Post-9/11 GI Bill will take effect Oct. 1, a Department of Veterans Affairs official said today.

October’s changes allow eligible students to pay for more education and training programs with the GI Bill, Keith Wilson, director of VA’s education service, told reporters today during a telephone conference.

Programs not leading to college degrees, including programs offered at schools that don’t grant degrees, will now be eligible for GI Bill funding, Wilson said. Flight programs, correspondence training, on-the-job and apprenticeship training also are covered by the GI Bill, he added.

“That’s a significant expansion,” Wilson said.

Beginning in October, the GI Bill will offer a housing allowance to students not on active duty who are enrolled solely in distance learning, and will allow students on active duty to receive a stipend for books and supplies.

Wilson said another change in the housing allowance means students enrolled more than half time but less than full time will receive a pro-rated housing allowance, rather than the full allowance they used to get.

“Now the housing allowance is tied to the training time,” he said. “So if an individual wants a full housing allowance, they need to be a full-time student.”

The Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Improvements Act of 2010, which President Barack Obama signed into law Jan. 4 of this year, set forth three sets of GI Bill changes. Some of the act’s provisions already took effect in March and August.

The act establishes a cap of $17,500 in annual tuition for public and foreign schools, and allows payment of all in-state public school tuition and fees, Wilson said.

The act also did away with break pay or interval pay as of Aug. 1, he noted. This was a provision formerly allowing GI Bill benefits to continue for students on breaks of less than 30 days between periods of enrollment. Now, benefits can be paid only during periods of enrollment, though the 36 months of total eligibility remain unchanged.

The weeks during which students received benefits when not enrolled in school meant they were “burning entitlement,” which now will be preserved, Wilson noted, but he added students will have to plan carefully for periods between classes, such as traditional winter breaks.

To date, more than 537,000 students have received more than $11.5 billion in GI Bill benefits. Wilson said VA staffers already have received more than 130,000 applications for fall 2011 enrollment and have processed more than 110,000 of them.


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Post-9/11 GI Bill


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The opinions expressed in the following comments do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Defense.

8/26/2011 10:59:57 AM
These changes have been in the works for over 2 years and signed into law in January. The Post 9/11 program is much better than the one I signed up for 16 years ago. The continued effort to improve the program was needed and the added benefits are well deserved. And finally if you dont like the post 9/11 benifits, you were given the option ot stay with the original GI Bill but made a conscious effort to change to the Post 9/11 plan. I for one am very happy for the improvements made each year and look forward to see what can be done to improve the graduation rate of military students!
- ashley hubbard, Houston Texas

8/20/2011 12:18:56 PM
I do not understand how the DoD gets away with changing the benefits after these young men and women have done their service to our country. They call these "enhancements" but that is a crock. The benefits should stay the same that they were promised when they became soldiers. A contract is a contract.
- Twyleen, California

8/12/2011 7:36:05 AM
Really??? Can Congress and Obama stop changing my benefits I already served for. Also are you guys going to backpay those you didn't give BAH to due to them taking online courses?? What about us that have been using the post 9-11 gibill since 2009? Congress and Obama you disappoint me, you're basically amending a contractual agreement. When my country asked my partners and I to deploy to a combat theatre, we didn't amend our promise to fight!!! If the US wants to save money, put all government workers on a military pay scale and cap it to not surpass 100k annually. I'm sick and tired of wealthy Americans taking from Veterans instead of themselves!
- Aaron Lobato, Rockville, MD

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