A Roundup of Changes to the GI Bill



 

Since a revision of the Post-9/11 GI Bill was signed into law at the beginning of the year, we’ve made it a priority to explain the changes that could significantly impact students either attending school or about to start this fall. This week, many of those changes are being implemented, and it’s important that students understand how their benefits might be affected.

Why the changes?

Education benefits are now available for folks in the National Guard that accumulated active duty time under Title 32, and expands options for non-degree seeking students, like flight school and apprenticeships. That change puts education benefits into the hands of tens of thousands of Veterans. But to allow more Veterans to take advantage of the Post-9/11 GI Bill (also known as Chapter 33), concessions had to be made to pay for it. Two changes to Chapter 33 will impact just about every student Veteran, and another change will change the way private school students receive tuition payments.

Break pay ends, but eligibility is expanded

Most Veterans are concerned over the loss of break pay, which were payments made during the holiday break and on either side of a summer semester (if classes were taken in the summer). Up until now, VA paid housing stipends for those days out of class. It was a help to students that needed additional income to pay rent. But there’s a catch that not everyone knew about: Those days were subtracted from the GI Bill eligibility time of 36 months. Now, you can use that time for more education. In a four year degree plan, that additional time could add up to a semester or more of education benefits. That means a semester more of tuition and housing stipends. I used myself as an example to explain this concept before:

In between the fall and spring of 2009-2010, my break pay was $1,153 since I was enrolled full time, which would amount to a total of $4,612 break pay for a four year undergraduate degree (the amount of semester breaks will vary from student to student). The cost of just one semester of study at the school I planned on attending was $14,150. If I were to run out of benefits before securing a degree, I would be liable for $14,150 each semester remaining, instead of being out $4,612 but receiving full tuition and housing for the semester.

Most students take several courses that don’t fulfill a degree plan, like prep courses or remedial classes (in my case, three remedial math courses, which amounts to nearly a full semester of classes that fulfill no requirement). Students often need that extra time to avoid the exhaustion of benefits.

Housing payments now prorated

A loophole in the housing payment rules made it possible to get the full housing payment with just one credit over half time. Now, it corresponds with the rate of pursuit, rounded to the nearest tenth. For example, A student that attends school three quarters time will receive 80 percent. Just remember that a student must attend at more than half time to receive the housing allowance.

Private, out-of-state and foreign school tuition capped

This change will affect a smaller group of students, but the changes are nevertheless critical to understand. The new rules signed into law established a national maximum of $17,500 to be paid to private and foreign schools. Schools that elect to use Yellow Ribbon to help defray the cost of tuition to students will continue the program, and some schools are committed to maxing out their contribution so no students are on the hook for tuition. Others just pay part of the balance. If you’re interested in a private school, check with the Veterans service office to see if their Yellow Ribbon contribution pays for the entire balance or just a portion.

The tuition for out-of-state students will be paid up to the in-state level, and just like private schools, Yellow Ribbon can help defray the leftover charges.

Grandfathered students

Recently, Congress passed a law that would grandfather students accepted or enrolled in private schools on or before January 4, 2011, when the new changes were signed into law. Students in Arizona, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Texas will be grandfathered under the new rules. Active duty folks that attend private school will not be covered under the grandfather clause, and are not eligible for Yellow Ribbon.

As of this writing, the law has not been signed by the President, but we will be sure to update when it gets to his desk.

Changes boost benefits

The three changes above can be seen as either a boon or a bust for some students, but there are other changes that take effect today as well. From VA’s GI Bill page:

  • Allows reimbursement for more than one “license or certification” test (previously only one test was allowed). However, entitlement is now charged
  • Allows reimbursement of fees paid to take national exams used for admission to an institution of higher learning (e.g., SAT, ACT, GMAT, LSAT)
  • Allows those who are eligible for both Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (chapter 31) benefits and Post-9/11 GI Bill (chapter 33) benefits to choose the Post-9/11 GI Bill’s monthly housing allowance instead of the chapter 31 subsistence allowance.
  • NOAA and PHS personnel are now eligible to transfer their entitlement to eligible dependents

More changes take effect October 1, we’ll be sure to cover them as the fall approaches. Until then, subscribe to VA’s GI Bill Facebook page and bookmark the GI Bill homepage for future updates.

bac95/Flickr

Author

Alex Horton

Comments

  1. Amanda Clark    

    The loss of break pay is gonna be pretty hard. In fact, its probably the most devastating change. Seriously a bad idea.

    1. Alex Horton    

      It’s definitely not easy Amanda. Are you going to graduate before using up all of your GI Bill?

      1. Amanda Clark    

        Yep, I’m gonna have plenty of time left on it.

        1. Amanda Clark    

          I’ve very much made a point of saving to help cover the break expenses between summer and fall quarters (getting paid Sep 1 for three weeks of August classes, getting a really small payment on Oct 1, then waiting till Nov 1 for the next large payment). Even then, its going to be a very, very close call.
          The thing is, I know there must be vets who are in an even worse position than me. This fall is my last quarter, and I’d gladly give up months of benefits in order to get the gap pay back.

    2. Bradley Henderson    

      I’m in the same boat. I’ve been using Chapter 31 MGIB since late 2008 and this fall quarter (starting September 6, ending November 21) will be my last term needed for graduation (Bachelors). I will still have several months of full pay remaining (with my kicker I paid in, that’s $1571 a month) that will be left on the table. So, like many others in a similar situation, to be told “oh well you get to retain that money for more education payments! Yay you! Yay VA!” is downright insulting.

      1. Bradley Henderson    

        Also, I’m attending and graduating from a private University in which my monthly payment just covers my tuition costs when at full rate. Books have pretty much been out of my own pocket the whole way, which I’ve never complained about. But, eliminating the break pay (the 5-10 days between quarters in my case) now leaves me having to pay some (significant) tuition costs out of pocket. I have been off active duty since 2002 and work full time, so an online (read: expensive) degree program was my only option. The only silver lining is that this came at the tail end of my using my benefits. I couldn’t have effectively used the MGIB toward a degree with these changes.

        1. Alex Horton    

          Bradley, I’m pointing that out as another way to view these changes before people panic and make hasty decisions. I know this has the potential to negatively affect folks who relied on the housing payments to make rent in between semesters. We’re all individuals, and the rules affect everyone in a different way.

          When I was in school and working full time, I took three summer semesters in a row to keep my housing payments steady. But if I had the choice, I would’ve opted out to keep those eligbility months. I enrolled in Voc Rehab for many reasons, but one of them was I didn’t have enough time left, and would’ve paid out of pocket to finish my degree for a semester–a semester that could’ve been paid for if I had saved those days. And, I wouldn’t have lost any money if you think about it. I would’ve been even since those days are spent on the other side, just with tuition tacked on.

          Guess what I’m trying to say is, this is going to make it tough on a lot of students. Simply put. But if you can manage rent between semesters, I think it’s better in the long run. But if you MUST have those payments, I regret that. I have my own thoughts about the changes, but VA doesn’t make law. We just carry it out.

      2. Richard    

        I agree, it’s insulting. I’ve been unemployed for almost two years now & I still have a year to get my AAS degree. Tell you what though, these VA big wig will not see any cut on their benefit, they’ll see more increase. It’s really upsetting. The vets always get the short end of the stick.

    3. David    

      I feel as though those of us who elected for the Post 9-11 option should be grandfathered in for the housing allowance. The reason I chose it was because I got full BAH. Now that they have changed that, I would rather have the traditional MGIB. I elected for the Post 9-11 because of the housing allowance. I think it is ridiculous that they have a significant change like this. Many of us would have not elected to take the Post 9-11 knowing that they would change the housing allowance. They should give us the option to revert to the MGIB or grandfather us into what we previously had agreed and elected to receive. I have called my Congressman and Senator, I urge the rest of you to do the same!

    4. Kena Zumalt    

      I don’t see this so much as a way to help veterans save entitlement as a way to show a cost savings in the GI Bill program. You will find that specific column in a spreadsheet on the VA websit.

    5. Charles Elder    

      what happens when you use your GI Bill to obtain your BA but dont have any money to continue to
      Grad School.

    6. Donny J    

      Receiving free money for college and living expenses is… hard? People are losing their jobs every day. Single mothers are working three jobs to support their kids and go to school. You have a free ride and free home. Stop complaining and be grateful taxpayers give so much (of the little they have) for you.

      1. Ted J    

        Dear Donny J.

        First of all, my benefits are not a privilege, they are a right. I am only asking for what is my right to receive. Secondly, we are fighting two wars right now and most of the American public has not been affected by this fact. For them the wars a far off and do not affect them at home (Other than worrying about the debt limit)

        I served my time in the military and have earned the right to get what benefits are due me. I am sure that members of the Senate and Congress continue to get paid when they are not in session. What is good for them should be good for us too.

        1. Donny J    

          Oh Please. $2,000 a month for housing and free college education for four years AFTER your service is not a right, it’s a damn big perk. I wouldn’t even call your excessive salary a right for the many servicemembers who do their jobs poorly, lead poorly or are just plain lazy. I think your paychecks should be based on ability, not rank and time in grade.

          Yes, those who risk their lives in war deserve the right to be paid well. Those we sit in a cubicle in the states, twiddling their thumbs, putting forth minimal effort DO NOT deserve the same pay and benefits.

          And yes, America has been affected by the wars. The stock market, real estate, the economy, jobs. What hasn’t? Our dollars fund the war.

          The only significant change I see is that out of state tuition is capped for the first year at $12k. After the first year, you become an in-state student. I’m sure you can adapt and overcome.

          BTW, government employees haven’t received raises for the past two years. You have. Also, congress makes up a microscopic fraction of the country. You are raking in the cash, even after you leave the military, while tax-paying families foreclose on their homes and line up for food stamps. Spoiled is what you are.

        2. chris    

          Your are a retard have you even served. JUST SHUT YOUR DAMN mouth!!! prolly one of the people that protest at military funerals.

        3. SterlingF    

          Who the hell is this Donny guy? please let me meet this guy someday and I will explain in detail how wrong he is..has he even served…I spent 3 yrs and half a dozen mnths in theatre and was medivaced out when I got blown up…sorry Donny I didnt die..I guess your gonna have to pay for my medical bills and train me for a diff. life..you absolute piece of shit!!!..and these are the people who I went over and fought for only to see garbage like this…YOU DONNY are a fuckin prick!

        4. Mitch    

          Hey guys first off I would like to say Donny your an idiot. You need to understand military veterians deserve their benefits, every last one of them from the stellar perfromers to the sh*t bags that make it through the cracks and slime their way through service. Don’t come with that government employees having gotten raises in two years crap! Unlike some and I do meaning some government employees, Military personnel put their lifes on the line everyday in and out of combat. The Military services as the fists that through the blows for the President and Congress who tough talk to other countries and nations. Most politicians now-a-days never even serviced! POST 9/11 is just a start on how much better vets need to be treated…. You need to read “The War Comes Home: Washington’s Battle against America’s Veterans ” by Aaron Glantz that will show you the real deal how America really needs to fix it’s treatment of vets!

  2. Tom Maxim    

    Thanks for keeping us up to speed on our benefits.

  3. stephen    

    yeah that would be a very fine for the studies ..

  4. Herb Carmen    

    Active duty are still not eligible for Yellow Ribbon? That needs to be fixed ASAP.

    1. Mark    

      Active duty needs to worry about being on active duty and not going to school full time.

      1. Jonathan Hoffman    

        That’s a horrible thing to say. Lots of Soldiers get off work by 5pm giving them plenty of time to take classes at night. When I was in Iraq I had plenty of downtime to take online classes, even with working 12 hour shifts 7 days a week.

        An active duty Soldier is no different than a civilian working full time, they should get the same rights to attend school.

        1. David Shearman    

          Good points Jonathan. Plus, do we really want to encourage ambitious service members to leave active duty in order to receive the benefits they’d have while not on active duty? I’d think it would be better to have them stay in.

      2. Paul    

        I’m in an enlisted to officer program in the Marine Corps so I’m on active duty while attending school full time. I go to George Washington and this significantly affects me. While I agree with the cap I believe that active duty students such as me were overlooked and need to be grandfathered in.

        1. Bella    

          I completely agree! MCEP, at least the unit that my husband is at has soo many moving parts. Because of this new change to the GI Bil (and not being grandfathered) he is expected to take 5 classes at one time, conduct training at both BN and Company levels, field work ups, stand duty, attend drill and/ or PT and NOW work for the university to make up the difference!!! How the hell are you guys NOT grandfathered in or not able to qualify for the yellow ribbon program?! It makes me SO mad sometimes. My husband is taking a harder degree program and so I watch him doing all these things and never complaining about sleep. Its crazy for you guys not to be allowed these opportunities if it is allowed for veterans. Especially when you aren’t given the choice to revert back to the original GI Bill after they made these changes.

      3. Joseph    

        Mark needs to worry about himself and not others. How many morons do you remember would get off of work in the evening and drink all night and return to work with a hangover the next morning? Now compare that to how many you saw bettering themselves by going to school in their down time. Which would you rather them do? Again, Mark you are a moron…don’t speak, you will only hurt yourself.

      4. Bella    

        IT SOUNDS TO ME LIKE YOU ARE A GRUNT OR A P.O.G. WHO WISHES THEY WERE A GRUNT. Mark you are very ignorant. Instead of going out and partying, going to buy-me-drinky bars, and playing video games in the barracks, many of us try to better our self by attending school. I realize you are a Marine 24 hours a day 7 days a week but it is truly ok for you to pick up a book, attend a class, and learn more about life than singing cadence, cleaning a weapon and learning about Marine Corps values. Believe it or not a lot of things you learn in school can help you out in the Marine Corps.

    2. David Shearman    

      Agreed Herb. We’ve had some folks here at GU reach out to Congress and the VSOs, but there doesn’t seem to be much desire to do anything about it. Definitely needs fixing, though.

  5. OIF Veteran/VA Employee    

    I believe that most of the Veterans who posted comments lost sight of the bigger picture. Veteran Education Benefits are being changed/ammended not for the betterment of the Veteran, but to cut cost-spending by the Government. In my opinion, the Veteran deserves what was originally promised and entitled to. Due to recent “round up of changes” I have and will continue to encourage fellow Veterans to apply and utilize all benefits that are available.

    The truth is that in the near future the governement might be forced to freeze or inforce strict guidelines for programs such as, Veteran Education Benefits, Veteran Healthcare, and Disability Compensation. As some might say…Get it while its hot. My final comment is to the indivduals who do not care about their fellow Veterans and who are content with how Veterans are being treated…THANKS for being a BLUE FALCON.

    1. dale    

      I agree. It should be a choice of the veteran. I had been thinking of going to a better school that is out of state,changing my residence, but the housing and cost of living is a lot more, the allowance is the same, and with the breaks in school, I just can’t afford it now.

    2. Amanda Clark    

      Alas, wasn’t the change to break pay passed by the *last* Congress late last year, and signed into law just after New Years?

    3. Sarah    

      You all are slightly ignorant. If you don’t have money for housing in between semesters then contact the VA about that new program to keep veterans off the streets or something. You all don’t know how to manage money or something. There are government grants and loans in addition to the GIBill and Post 911. I’m betting 90 percent of you signed your enlistment contract without a full understanding of the schooling benifits and now your just on here complaining about the free money that the government doesn’t even have to give you. You people are the reason I am embarrassed to admit I was ever in the miliary. A buch of whinners. Exactly why I got out, all or YOU!

      1. OIF Veteran/VA Employee    

        @Sarah, the issue is not having money for housing, it’s the principle that when you promise another human being and/or group of people certain entitlements, you do not take them away..especially Veterans. The honeymoon period for Veterans and U.S. Service members is coming to an end. With drastic changes in our economy, lawmakers have eyed up Veterans benefits and see them as fair game. Since they are not willing to cut spending from their own special interest groups. I know that in a perfect what is promised stays true, since nothing is ever perfect I’d like to see ALL Veterans treated and protected better than they are even a POAG like you.

        FYI, walk around Washington D.C. by the VA Medical Center, you’ll numerous homeless Veterans. Tell them the VA has issued a statement announcing an end to homelessness and ask them if they want to be enrolled into any of the many programs out there. You’ll find the response surprising..Good Luck.

      2. Someone    

        Blah blah blah “or something”, blah blah blah “or something”. By the way the word you’re looking for is “benefits”. You’re “slightly ignorant”, a post military service education provided in part by the Post 911 GI BILL can fix that.

      3. Daniel    

        @Sarah I am not sure what you are trying to say. Is it that you are ashamed to say to were one of us? If so stop using the GIBILL, stop using the benefits and leave this site if you are so ashamed of admitting that you were one of us. I mean seriously you a troll who’s only option is to spot nonsense and vent your spleen on everyone else just because you failed at one of the world’s easiest job.
        Just because not all of us are “sea Lawyers” like your self does not mean we are not entitled to all of those benefits that this country owes us for our time and our lives. So rather than spew the discontent you fell you have that you are try to act your age NOT your shoe size.est jobs. Ie; show up on time, get a haircut, wear clean uniforms. I mean we have it pretty good. That is not to say that there are not times when this job does have some seriously bad moments, but overall this is a great

  6. USMCVet    

    What needs to be changed is the diploma mills that are currently ripping off the government University of Phoenix, etc that charge twice as much as legit colleges and then just push people through. These institutions should not be funded under the GI Bill. I know many vets wasting their time and our tax dollars at these schools just to get the housing allowance, learning nothing and just collecting a check.

    1. Mark    

      True story! Online schooling is suck a scam!

      1. David    

        OIF veteran: online students as well as face to face students, take the same finals at the end of the semester. Some students may feel better taking face to face, while others may not. Online requires more discipline.

        1. Jennifer    

          I completely agree. I am an online student and work full-time. I do not have the time to get to classes after work. Online schools allow me to finish my degree. My courses require several hours of reading (each class has at least 8-16 hours of reading) and then you work in the time for each assignment (again, usually 2-3 assignments each week for each class) and not to mention teaching the subjects to yourself based on the reading and assignments and the countless hours spent studying, Im pretty sure I work just as hard as a face to face student, if not harder!

          I do have to say that I agree about University of Phoenix, they are extremely expensive for an online school, but not all online universities are expensive. I attend American Military University and my tuition is $250 a credit hour and most of the courses offered are 3 credit hours. That is a fairly reasonable price if you ask me. And they cover all books for undergraduates and a discounted rate for graduates books.

          Personally, I think you should check your sources before you criticize all online schools and students.

    2. Bradley Henderson    

      Some schools (even Phoenix [no I’m not a UoP student or alum]) are regionally accredited and legitimate schools. In fact I recently hired someone with a MA from Phoenix and he received full benefits from the company (fortune 500) for his advanced education. His degree was treated no less than his counterparts with State and Big 10 MA/MS’s.

    3. Doug    

      AMEN!!!!! I suggest thoroughly researching whatever colleges you are considering. Remember, accredited is NOT the same as respected.

  7. CCSF Veteran Alliance    

    When payments are choppy, rent stays the same. This is going to affect a lot of veterans that will go homeless or be evicted. This is a combined arms mission against veterans’ livelihood.

    Read more of my article on the “City College of San Francisco Veterans Alliance” Facebook page

    1. Sarah    

      So utilize the program for keeping homeless vets off the streets and stop complaining. Or go apply for welfare. And see a financial advisor because your an idiot.

      1. chris    

        your the F***king idiot!!!!

      2. chris    

        Your the F***ing Idiot Ass**LE

  8. An SCO    

    Alex, you are incorrect about the $17,500 cap applying to Out-of-state students. PL 111-377 clearly states that the $17,500 cap only applies to private and foreign institutions. Out-of-state students at public institutions will only receive the in-state portion of their tuition & fees, unless their school chose to participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program to cover the out-of-state portion.

    1. Alex Horton    

      Thanks. I said the following in the post regarding the matter:

      “The tuition for out-of-state students will be paid up to the in-state level, and just like private schools, Yellow Ribbon can help defray the leftover charges.”

  9. Josh    

    Where is the change my school official was telling me about that Grants will be taken out before the tuition is sent to the VA so students don’t get the benefit of Pell grants and such?

    1. Susan    

      Josh, if your SCO told you that, he/she is misimformed. Title IV funds (Pell grants & Stafford loans) are exempt from the net cost calculation.

      “Effective August 1, 2011. The amount of tuition and fees payable for programs offered by Institutions of Higher Learning will change. The in-state, undergraduate state maximum amounts for tuition and fees will no longer apply.
      • U.S. Public Schools: The actual net cost for in-state tuition and fees after the application of any waiver, scholarship, aid, or assistance [other than loans and funds under section 401(b) of the Higher Education Act of 1965], provided directly to the institution and specifically designated for the sole purpose of defraying tuition and fees.
      • Private and Foreign Schools: The lesser of the actual net cost for tuition and fees after the application of any waiver, scholarship, aid, or assistance [other than loans and funds under section 401(b) of the Higher Education Act of 1965], provided directly to the institution and specifically designated for the sole purpose of defraying tuition and fees, or $17,500 for the academic year beginning on August 1, 2011.”

      Note “section 401(b) of the Higher Education Act of 1965” is commonly referred to as Title Iv funds.

  10. shea    

    does this mean that if you are using the rehabilitation and employment chapter to go to school as I am that it counts off of your post 911 GI bill Time? And Also did they change the amount of active duty service time you need to transfer your gi benefits to your child, I had about 6 and half years,

  11. Amanda Clark    

    The more I think about it, the more I think the combination of making BAH dependent on course load plus eliminating break pay is going to create a really bad feedback effect for veterans.

    Eliminating break pay is going to force vets to take part time jobs in order to help cover expenses, which in turn is going to force them to take less classes in order to accommodate work, which in turn means less BAH money each month, which means school is going to take longer to go through. My *guess* is that more students simply aren’t going to make it through and simply give up; surely a cost savings in the long run, but hardly beneficial to actual veterans.

  12. Brian    

    Is there any particular reason the VA hasn’t paid my school for the summer quarter in turn holding up my BAH payment???

    1. MattB    

      Why are you posting this here? Just to complain? There are a variety of reasons that might be happening, but no one here is gonna be able to answer that.

  13. Paul    

    So now for example I’m supposed to find a full time job for the two weeks of christmas break, good thinking. Christmas is a great time to cut our benefit, because I know I’m always rolling in extra cash come the holidays, get real. These changes make it far more difficult to dedicate yourself to school full time. My family is prepared to run a tight ship while Im in school but with these changes I’m now going to have to either work part time and slow my progression in school (using up my benefit without gaining as many credits per semester, so the argument that it helps you on the back end is flawed) or take out student loans to bridge the gap (what the GI bill was supposed to help me avoid).

    I average 22 credit hours a semester, and I could do that before these changes, it was JUST enough to eek by. No longer, understand that you’ve taken a great program and made it worse.

    In addition, I’ve been attending two schools simultaneously so even though I’ll far exceed full time hours with them combined, with the way things are going I bet I’ll only receive this wonderful prorated BAH for whichever school I have the most at.

  14. Khia    

    It sucks that they are only paying up to in-state tuition. Even though “This change will affect smaller groups of students…” Doesn’t seem insignificant to the “smaller groups” it affects. Thanks for the afterthought Gov.

  15. Richard    

    Another way for the Government/politicians to screw the vets so they can have more money in their pocket. Everything is paid for for them & their families while we who served suffer. They should be the ones getting their benefits cut, not us.

  16. Joe Average Vet    

    Richard is right. This is the Third cut in Veterans benefits we have seen since 2008. First, Vets get no Cola for two years, while government employees get their raises. This amounts to a “cut” in benefits since inflation has eroded away our payments, without a Cola.
    Next, they are cutting “break pay” for student Vets who can least afford it. These cuts are for Vets who already have their benefits.
    Finally, the VA “found a way” to cut Vets benefits who have not yet received them, that is, they are waiting on them. By increasing the waiting time Vets must wait on benefits by increasing the backlog, Veterans who need their benefits the most are forced to wait even longer. If/when they ever do get their benefits, of course there is no interest ever paid, so Vets get a third cut…the cut because the benefit wait is so much longer, and then they finally pay Veterans their benefits with inflated dollars and no interest. The increase in backlog amounts to the third “cut” in Va benefits, hurting Vets that need it the most, all done while the VA budget increased dramatically and VA executive pay skyrocketed.

  17. Kristin Cruse    

    This is ridiculous not that even posting this comment will even make a difference for anything its just the simple point that I served my country at my own choice and I got injured while deployed and I want to go to school (have been for 2 years now) and get a degree that will give me a better job and set myself up for success and the only benefits that I receive is a portion of a promised full bah payment if i actually go to a class that is in the classroom which requires time, a car, gas, insurance, car maintanence. I have to pay for those things in order to even get to the class then on top of that I still have to feed myself and cloth and house myself. In order to make bah i have to go to the classroom physically so when will I have the opportunity to even work if I had a job??? can someone please tell me how this makes sense. If they wanted to cut cost why didnt they just change the length of time one gets to complete a degree. It only takes at the most 2 years to get a degree and thats just doing the bear minimum each semester. So why not cut the time down which would obviously save money because veterans would be attending school for less time. Secondly, the VA should be actually looking into the schools they allow students to go to. These online schools like Pheonix are ridiculous and should not be covered. Veterans attending those kinds of schools are only going to get the benefits. Thirdly, if veterans are continously failing classes and retaking them over and over their benefits should be dropped. Lastly, they should change the affective date that one had to be in for and the length of time on active duty required to even receive post 9/11 benefits. If someone only served 90 days on active duty since 9/11 they do not deserve these benefits. They did not fight in a war. Also the one that irratates me the most are those who are receiving educational benefits and never even graduated from basic training or AIT. WHY ARE THESE PEOPLE ABLE TO REAP THE BENEFITS WHEN THEY NEVER SERVED!!!??. All of these should have been things that the “government” should have thought of first before cutting the deserving veterans benefits. It is not fair that I was promised something and now it is being taken away. If I knew this was how it was going to happen I would have kept the old gi bill and never switched. I think that everyone who was attending school prior to this effective date of August 1 should be grandfathered into the actual agreement that was made between the veteran and the VA. Anyone after that date should be affected by this change. You cant just give a certain amount of money for years and have veterans depending on that paycheck to live and then just say o wait we are going to change it and say its for the better when its really not its going to cause alot of drop outs and homeless vets which will only increase the need for help for homeless vets. Like I said I know this comment being posted on this website isnt going to do anything but I think people should here. HIGHLY UPSET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  18. 3/2 SSP    

    God forbid a veteran has to get a part-time job over the summer. And what is this break-pay? I never received such a thing. I’ll tell you what sucks is that I’m not going to graduate before my eligibility runs out. Tuition @ my school is like 38k a year.

    I never in my wildest dreams thought the government would pay for ALL my schooling AND give me BAH @ 2750/month. I’m extremely grateful for what I receive and couldn’t fathom complaining.

    1. David    

      Totally agree… Obtained my BA degree from univ of Md and working on my masters It can be done….

  19. David    

    Not good that veterans have to suffer when some r disabled and trying to b a productive part of society, by continuing their education. Cuts should start with congressional benefits/pay .I see why so many of us are tempting suicide, they would not understand the pressures veterans endure but instead adding more fuel to the fire

  20. George    

    I had to get a part-time job while I went to both undergraduate and graduate school. It’s extremely hard, but the short-time sacrifice of long hours/juggling priorities for the long-term gain is something veterans know more about than most US citizens. And for me, this juggling act actually made me more focused when studying.

    All the best.

    1. David    

      Welcome to the paper chase…lol

  21. David    

    Some of bus have forgotten that when we served the country, we volunteered, there was no draft. However, were told that we would have benefits once we served. However, changing the contract between service members n the govt should be unconstitutional. Doing it right in the middle when benefits r needed the most is obscure especially for disabled vets. Hoping things get better b4 they get worse.

  22. lilian    

    are you serious? i cant believe the amount of complaints, like its so hard to live off of nearly, or a couple grand a month. what is it, like a couple of week between summer and fall, or fall and winter? aw poor guys, going to have to make a grand work for a couple of months a year. and those that are finishing, take up something else. it wont hurt to get more education. it would look nice to see you have a BA in this, and an AA in that. just deal with it.

    1. Jack Thompson    

      Let’s not forget who pays that couple grand a year, American citizens who are struggling themselves, have shown nothing but support and can’t even afford school themselves. I’m sorry, but our military are a bunch of spoiled children, out of touch with reality.

      1. Davis    

        Are we forgetting that the GI Bill was something that we had to pay into, it is not just given to us as a benefit. So it is not free money, it is an investment.

  23. lilian    

    Im a single mom, that lost a job, a car, and a house last year, and a daughter and roommates this year. no i can afford a car and insurance, i take a bus to school. last semester i had to take a train and busses to school. but im not going to cry about it. cause i have it alot better than others. i have it alot better than i did with out the GI bill. those that are spoiled will complain about what they don’t have, and those who struggled will be greatful for what they have. my name is lilian.

  24. One of the Forgotten Vets    

    Do you like the benefit of being able to transfer part or all of your GI Bill to your dependants???

    Did you know that there is a population of fully qualified Vets that do NOT have that oppertunity?

    As a retired Chief with 24 honorable years of Active Service from 10/1984 to 10/2008, I AM DENIED THAT BENEFIT ENTIRELY and so is ANYONE that retired from the Navy between 9/11/2001 and 8/2009. (I’m not 100% sure about the other services)

    It’s a travesty. Its a slap in the face to EVERY vet, especially those that retired before 8/2009.

    ATC(AW) Retired

    1. Jon    

      No, you haven’t been denied. You’re just not eligible. What do you think Civil War soldiers would have given to be eligible for your military pebsion program? Stop complaining. Use the GI Bill yourself, get a good job, and save for your children’s education.

      1. One of the Forgotten Vets    

        Jon,

        Thank you for your extremely helpful and insightful reply.

    2. UR Right    

      What is the reasoning for this disparity? Perhaps someone could provide the reasoning…it would be interesting to hear. After all we are one military right?

      1. One of the Forgotten Vets    

        U R Right,

        The reason I have been given is that the Navy decided to use the benefit as a re-enlistment incentive. Which is all well and fine, but it gave no thought to those of us that proudly served and would have no oppertunity to re-enlist due to our retirement date.

        This could be fixed very easily with a waiver policy for all those that retired before 8/2009. I guess I’m going to have to start to get vets affected together and attempt to lobby the change.

        The strong language in my post is only due to frustration.

        One of the Forgotten Vets

  25. Juan Claudio    

    I served in the Marine Corps from 2005-2009 while active duty, for those of you who criticize Online Education I was able to complete my AA in General Studies while active. You as an individual who belongs to the Armed Forces you have to be capable of researching the University and make sure the accreditations are REGIONAL not NATIONAL this makes a big difference since National Accreditations are not generally accepted what community colleges, public universities and good Private colleges want are REGIONAL accreditations such as Association of southern State Colleges for example. The Department of Education has this website where you can check the accreditations of colleges: http://ope.ed.gov/accreditation/
    After getting out of the Corps I transferred my degree from American Military University which is regionally accredited to University of North Carolina Greensboro after a year and a half of completing my pre reqs for a Bachelors of Science in Nursing I finally got accepted into UNCG School of Nursing. Getting accepted was very challenging I begin this fall with all Nursing classes. I accepted using my post 911 GI BILL to go to college and become a Nurse not to collect BAH though it is a great benefit. Many GI Bill recipients are here complaining and it is just horrible to think that former military members actually think they are going to be bottle fed by the US government while you are in college. Grow up suck it up and keep pushing forward, we all know that while in college many charges and cost incur, there many options for those cost like pell grants that Im sure that those of you who keep posting here saying you are unemployed and going to college get covered by the Pell Grant, second scholarships many of those available and last student loans, yes I said it STUDENT LOANS HELLO you need these to survive GI BILL benefits in my case are not enough since I am married and have TWO kids. I hope that many of you who have these benefits use as much of them as you can cause you never know when they will be gone!

  26. Chemalcolm    

    I rather have the option for break pay or no break pay. Some students do not need that extra semester because of classes taken while still serving or by loading up on more than just 12hrs during a traditional semester, which negates the days lost. Yet, it can be difficult to garner a full-time job as soon as school ends when you are handling final exams/projects/papers to cover rent and other living expenses because of no break pay. In addition, it can be very unprofessional to work for a few weeks then put in a two weeks notice when the next semester start is approaching.

    1. dale    

      I agree. I think too that if you already have a couple of years of transferable credit hours you should be eligible to apply for an exemption to get full BAH for the entire year since you will not need the four years to obtain your degree if you choose to do so, But I guess they didn’t think of this, or maybe they did and realized it would be a great way to reduce spending

  27. Megan    

    I think another big aspect that has changed is that the VA won’t pay the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition for public schools any more- this has hit me the hardest, and I’m sure many others have had to rethink their college of choice.

    1. dale    

      This too has affected me. I had planned on transferring to the University of Tennessee, but now can not.

  28. Brian    

    The VA still has not told those of us who had reduced eligibility due to Title 32 orders how this will be fixed. I’m currently at 50% but qualify for 100% under the new law. Will this be automatic?

  29. Steve    

    I am a bit confused. I attended a private school in NY 2010 – 2011. For the 2011-2012 I have been accepted to a private school in Georgia. Not sure how they came up with the 7 states that were grandfathered ??? Does anyone know if I am grandfathered for attending a private school prior to Jan. 4 or do I lose it because I switched states?

  30. Joseph    

    I have been using Ch 33 since 2009. When I originally enrolled, I submitted DD 214’s for both the Title 10 & 32 service. Do I have to re-enroll to receive the percentage increase or will the VA do it automatically?

  31. OIF Veteran/VA Employee    

    OIF Veteran/VA Employee
    August 3rd, 2011
    I believe that most of the Veterans who posted comments lost sight of the bigger picture. Veteran Education Benefits are being changed/ammended not for the betterment of the Veteran, but to cut cost-spending by the Government. In my opinion, the Veteran deserves what was originally promised and entitled to. Due to recent “round up of changes” I have and will continue to encourage fellow Veterans to apply and utilize all benefits that are available.

    The truth is that in the near future the governement might be forced to freeze or inforce strict guidelines for programs such as, Veteran Education Benefits, Veteran Healthcare, and Disability Compensation. As some might say…Get it while its hot. My final comment is to the indivduals who do not care about their fellow Veterans and who are content with how Veterans are being treated…THANKS for being a BLUE FALCON.

    [Reply]

    dale Reply:
    August 3rd, 2011 at 11:16 am

    I agree. It should be a choice of the veteran. I had been thinking of going to a better school that is out of state,changing my residence, but the housing and cost of living is a lot more, the allowance is the same, and with the breaks in school, I just can’t afford it now.

    [Reply]

    Amanda Clark Reply:
    August 3rd, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    Alas, wasn’t the change to break pay passed by the *last* Congress late last year, and signed into law just after New Years?

    [Reply]

    Sarah Reply:
    August 4th, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    You all are slightly ignorant. If you don’t have money for housing in between semesters then contact the VA about that new program to keep veterans off the streets or something. You all don’t know how to manage money or something. There are government grants and loans in addition to the GIBill and Post 911. I’m betting 90 percent of you signed your enlistment contract without a full understanding of the schooling benifits and now your just on here complaining about the free money that the government doesn’t even have to give you. You people are the reason I am embarrassed to admit I was ever in the miliary. A buch of whinners. Exactly why I got out, all or YOU!

    [Reply]

    OIF Veteran/VA Employee Reply:
    August 5th, 2011 at 8:31 am

    @Sarah, the issue is not having money for housing, it’s the principle that when you promise another human being and/or group of people certain entitlements, you do not take them away..especially Veterans. The honeymoon period for Veterans and U.S. Service members is coming to an end. With drastic changes in our economy, lawmakers have eyed up Veterans benefits and see them as fair game. Since they are not willing to cut spending from their own special interest groups. I know that in a perfect what is promised stays true, since nothing is ever perfect I’d like to see ALL Veterans treated and protected better than they are…even a POAG like you.

  32. Claire    

    Hi there,

    I had a question regarding the GI Bill. My Fiancee has done 5 deployments – 4 with The USMC, 1 with The National Guard, since 9/11. He went to trucker school for 6 weeks after being told his GI BIll covered the $7000 expense. This was inbetween deployments in 2006. I was going over some of his old paperwork for him and found out that out of the $7000 + that he was told he would be reimbursed (he paid for the school upfront)…..that he was only reimbursed $400.00!!. When I inquired about this at the State level in Indiana where he went to the school (we now live in wisconsin) I was told it was because it was only a 6 week course?!…my argument lays here – irregardless of how long it was he was told that he qualified otherwise he would not have done it. I found our from information online that this school is infamous for telling veterans that they are qualified as they get them to sign a “financing” contract that they can’t get out of once the wheels start into motion….infact several of the employees have taken their Boss….the owner of the truck school to court as when they spoke up about their wrong doings they were fired!. …..as a Military brat myself and somebody who completely respects and honors what my Fiancee has and still is going through I am absolutely stumped as to how they can get away with treating combat veterans in this disgusting manner. Everything he was promised by the military in order for him to put his life on the line (numerous times) has NOT been honored – could somebody possibly shed some light on what can be done about these purposeful acts of deceipt?…….GOD it makes me so angry for him and every other Veteran out there…..if you put your life on the line…yeh, we’ll give you this, this and this….if you make it home alive….oops forgot to tell you we were full of shit…..sorry………yeh welcome home……….see ya………

  33. Fran Kirby    

    I am using the old GI Bill and then in November will switch to the Post 9-11 GI Bill thru the school I attend. While I do believe some cuts are necessary to save cost, it should not be for those that have honroably served this nation. We pledge 100% of ourselves when we enlisted in the service with certain things that were promised to us when we did. We are now seeing those promises being broken or changed thru no fault of our own. We did not break our promise. We all understand we did not or never will get rich in the military but we considered the benefits like medical and educational benefits (that we actually paid into) as part of the package after our service. the VA and the government should honor its promise to the veterans in regards to benefits without changing rules. If they wish to eliminate cost, I receive a letter for every single appointment I have (and recurring weekly appointments). There is alot of waste in the VA that seems to be ok to continue, but its not ok to continue the benefits as planned for veterans. My civilian health insurance premiums have gone up since the VA now bills my insurance company for treatment for injuries incurred on active duty. The veterans of yesterday and today need to be treated better. We are not asking for a handout, but what we are entitled to without any changes.

  34. Andy Anderson    

    I am an older disabled vet who recently lost my job due to my service connected disability getting worse. Underwent several surgeries and extensive medical treatment and still speak highly of the V.A, medical facilities and staff that have taken care of me. I did not qualify for unemployment because I was unable to hold a job physically. I was not permately disabled to qualify for Social Security and had a claim with V.A. for over two years now to get my rating up. I do qualify for Voc Rehab, but can’t physically attend school. I use the computer at the library because I can’t afford internet. Served in two wars never been on welfare, and now I rely on my wife’s income because I am too proud.

    I am very greatfull for fellow vets and hope you get the full benefits that were promised to you. But we are second rate Americans because we speak individually. Why is there a government union for Firemen, Police and teachers, and several other agencies, but no Military union looking out for the active men and women yeh I know that’s impossible but who looks out for us the military man and women whether on active duty or done with are commitment?, why does it take loosing everything before help comes? Why does the promises get changed without a vets input? Why are raises not priority for our active military? Why do disabled vets still live in poverty levels? Now I am not ungrateful with my country just disappointed with our government. Yes we all volunteered in the latest conflicts, but that was to protect our great country not to play police around the world. We severed proudly and went when asked, we did so with honor, every serviceman and women, every branch of service we all did what was ask so is having our own voice that unites us wrong.

    I run into veterans all the time that have served in Korea, and Vietnam and do not know of the benefits that are there for them.
    I met a man who has several cancers that are covered by V.A. and he lost his house and basically everything he worked for all his life to pay medical the medical bills, I took him to V.A. helped him get his claim done a year and a half later he is a 100% with a service connected disability and his medical bills are paid for. There are others who need us to share what we know to help them get the treatments owed to them. Now they run campaign commercials all the time you think they would run one advertisement for veteran to get the benefits they deserve and have earned.

    It’s going to take one of you smart young vets to unite us all from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Panama, and to the current conflicts and peacetime veterans are numbers are staggering high we would be a force to be reckoned with. We have enough agencies helping us one at a time and doing a great job, But one that unites us all will be the next step to ensure V,A. and our government does not keep taking away what we need to be productive citizen who honored there country by serving.

    So whether it’s active duty pay, college fund or veteran benefits it’s time we had a say how they take care of us by Standing together as we do in War or peacetime.

    God Bless fellow Veteran

  35. Thomas    

    Guess it would have been wise for everyone to complete their degree while on active duty, using Tuition Assistance. Hence why I have my degree and still a full gamet of the Army College Fund/ Post 9-11 GI Bill to use. Nothing comes for free, we all know this. If you need more money, student loans are always available. Better yet, re-enlist and use TA.

    1. Davis    

      This is not about more money, it is about a program I paid into with the intent of having that money available. If I am enrolled in school half-time, 3/4 or full-time a break here or there does not lower my tuition, or any other fees so why is it affecting the benefits that I not only earned by serving my country honorably but paid into as well.

  36. Jack Thompson    

    You’re not entitled to anything. So quit your whining. Servicemembers get paid good money while serving. In this economy, be extremely grateful to receive anything as a civilian. I wouldn’t be complaining about a full ride and free housing for 4+ years. Don’t forget who pays that bill.

    1. One of the Forgotten Vets    

      Apparently it is YOU and Congress who has forgotten “who pays the bills”.

      “Servicemembers get paid good money while serving.” – Hmmm… That is the furthest statement from the truth. Many service members are forced to apply for state assistence because of the negative delta in their paychecks.

      How much is YOUR life worth? I don’t know of any other job (except for Police and Firefighters, who are ALSO under compensated) that has “May be killed by hostile fire” in the job description.

      I served 24 years so that you were able to keep your freedom and speak your mind in any way you wish. And don’t delude yoiurself… If it wasn’t for the men and women of the US Military, you would now be living in a province of China right now.

      Your welcome.

      1. Doug    

        They do not have to charge that time between semesters towards using a school semester. the wy I see it, is a person who’s not got a job and has dependents has to stop going to school, pick up a job which are sparse at best, and try and make rent two or four times a year, shall we take easter break out of it to, we aren’t going to school then. I am retired and get benefits so it’s not so bad for me but say I only did four years, am single got two kids, and now I gotta arrange day care and hope that won’t eat up all my rent money and so on…it just creates problems where problems don’t have to exist, they merely have to stop counting that time as time in school and continue the living stipend. Most vets go straight through summer, fall, spring and winter anyway….to me that means that have to stop and start the benefits four times. It’s ridiculous, we earned it, we should get that no questions.

  37. Donny J    

    $2,000 a month for housing and free college education for four years AFTER your service is not a right, it’s a damn big perk. I wouldn’t even call your excessive salary a right for the many servicemembers who do their jobs poorly, lead poorly or are just plain lazy. I think your paychecks should be based on ability, not rank and time in grade.

    Yes, those who risk their lives in war deserve the right to be paid well. Those we sit in a cubicle in the states, twiddling their thumbs, putting forth minimal effort DO NOT deserve the same pay and benefits.

    And yes, America has been affected by the wars. The stock market, real estate, the economy, jobs. What hasn’t? Our dollars fund the war.

    The only significant change I see is that out of state tuition is capped for the first year at $12k. After the first year, you become an in-state student. I’m sure you can adapt and overcome.

    BTW, government employees haven’t received raises for the past two years. You have. Also, congress makes up a microscopic fraction of the country. You are raking in the cash, even after you leave the military, while tax-paying families foreclose on their homes and line up for food stamps. Spoiled is what you are.

  38. mike andrewes    

    Does title 32 Air National Guard annual training now count towards the 9/11 GI Bill? I have 3 years 2 months active duty time. Not including title 32 annual training time, I have 2 years 11 months and 15 days active duty time. I was hoping to get 100% eligibility. Thanks for your help on this.

  39. Phillip    

    How about the fact that the loose of gap pay came as my marriage was ending from countless deployments. Now I have had to get a part time job just so I will have a job during those gap periods. Not to mention that I have lost her income, but not the bills I am commented to. This added stress was the straw that broke this camels back. I have went from a 3.7 point GPA while conducting funerals and parades for the VFW and belonging to several campus extra curricular activity including Phi Theta Kappa academic society to failing. Now I will be in debt to the V. A. with no hope to go back to school for quiet some time. So how did that help me with obtaining more in the end? !!!!!

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  42. Will    

    So I had a very interesting phone call to the VA today about my Post 9/11 GI Bill and University of Phoenix

    I was told by my ground campus advisor that as of Aug the VA was no longer paying break pay and as of OCT the VA would start paying 1/2 the national average (672 I think) BAH to online students. Now seeing that every campus class I was taking, I was only in class for 4 weeks, I stood to only get paid for 4 of every 5 weeks. For my area BAH is low, so I would only lose about $150 – $200 per month. This would save me gas and time so I thought it would be well worth it.

    I stayed out of class from mid Aug to Oct 4th and started online classes. When I started getting my GI Bill again it was only $500 ish. I was sure that this was only because it was a partial month. Because of a mix up on my paperwork that transferred me to online from ground campus, I didn’t get another payment until a week ago. The paid me back pay as well, again only $500 ish per class/month. I called the UoP GI center and was told:

    “To be considered full time student, we have to report you classes as 4 weeks. If we sent over the 5 weeks then the VA would say you are 3/4 time student and you would receive even less pay.”

    Sounded fishy to me, so I called the VA GI center and asked them the same question. I was told:

    “The UoP does report only 4 week classes, I don’t know why they do it. Other schools that have the same class length report 5 week classes and the students get paid for the full month. All the UoP has to do is certify you guys for the full 5 weeks and you would get the full amount.”

    2 different companies, 2 different stories. I called another VA rep, waited another 25 minutes on hold. He told me almost word for word what the first one told me. Now I am the type of person that likes to check my naughty and nice list three times. I called back to VA and asked a third rep. Only 15 minutes on hold this time. Same story, UoP should report 5 week classes, we do go 5 weeks, if we only go 4 then I want to know why I have to make attendance post 5 weeks. This rep said that as students we should all write in to UoP and make them change it.

    Dont take my word for it. Call the VA. Here is the direct number to the GI Bill center (888-442-4551 Select 1 for touch tone phone, Select 2 for Post 9/11 GI Bill, then Select 0 for a Rep) Wait the 5, 10, 20 minutes to talk to them. Get the facts for yourself and join me. I have already sent in 3 letters and intend to not stop till they certify the truth to the VA.

    We…

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