In 2008, Congress passed the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act; creating the most extensive educational assistance program since the Serviceman’s Readjustment Act of 1944 (aka the GI Bill) was signed into law. VA began paying the Post-9/11 GI Bill benefit in August of 2009 and this week we celebrate the fourth anniversary of this important benefit.
In the past four years, VA has issued more than $30 billion in Post-9/11 GI Bill benefit payments, and helped nearly 1 million service members, Veterans, and their families pursue their education and career goals. The Post-9/11 GI Bill provides a tremendous opportunity for these beneficiaries to attend a college, university or trade school and build a foundation for the future.
Approved training under the Post-9/11 GI Bill includes a wide range of academic and vocational training opportunities, such as: graduate and undergraduate degrees, vocational/technical training, on-the-job training, flight training, correspondence training, licensing and national testing programs, entrepreneurship training, and tutorial assistance.
There were challenges implementing this extensive benefit program. But, since automating education claims processing, VA has greatly decreased wait time for beneficiaries attending school under the Post 9/11 GI Bill. VA is now processing benefit payments for currently enrolled students in an average of seven days.
In addition, VA is working with schools, community organizations and other partners to ensure beneficiaries have all the information they need to best use their education benefits. In April 2012, President Obama signed Executive Order 13607 which established the Principles of Excellence, offering guidelines that promote student success and ensure accurate information are available about institutions and their programs. Over 6,000 educational and training institutions have agreed to comply with these principles, including providing:
- Education plans for all military and Veteran education beneficiaries
- An end to fraudulent and aggressive recruiting techniques and misrepresentation
- A designated point of contact for academic and financial advice at each school
This summer, VA is launching new tools on the GI Bill homepage to help beneficiaries learn more about their vocational aptitudes and select an education institution.
- The ‘Factors to Consider When Choosing a School’ guide offers future students steps to take when researching, choosing, and attending a school.
- CareerScope® measures a student’s aptitude and interests through a self-administered online test, identifying potential career paths.
- The GI Bill® Comparison Tool allows students to research and compare schools, including key indicators like average student loan debt and graduation rates.
Visit the GI Bill homepage for more information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill and other Veteran education programs.
Robert M. Worley II is the Director of VA’s Education Service.