New GI Bill Changes Become Law


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As you probably heard this week, President Obama has signed new GI Bill legislation into law.  This will affect students that are using Post 9/11 GI Bill as well as Vocational Rehabilitation.  VA’s GI Bill page offers a summary of the major changes for both students and schools.

There’s a lot to say about the most recent changes, but we wanted to let everyone know the new rules as soon as possible.  In the coming days and weeks the GI Bill will be a focus on this blog, so stay tuned for a complete breakdown of education benefits, as well as how the recent changes might affect you later this year.

Author

Alex Horton

Comments

  1. Joseph Wade    

    It seems to me that Vets are angry about changes. I think that if this blog site is worth anything, it will post the senators email that we should direct our complaints to. Our complaints are valid Horton, and being brushed over by saying “well look at all the good things” is not okay. Why don’t you just agree instead of trying to run a good PR campaign. How much are they paying you to sell out? The truth is that the break pay is a rip off. One, because they actually count that as part of our benefit, and two, because they all of a sudden take it off the table. The native amerricans got treated like this, albeit on a much more horrid scale, but in effect it’s the same thing. Don’t worry, like being underquipped, underrmanned, and overworked, finding a way to manage, we will do so again. It is the vets that always were the backbone of this country, and we won’t crack. Just tell the politicians that rewrote this bill not to pat themselves on the back when win the economic war this nation is in.
    If the feds want to do the right thing, they will give break pay back and they won’t count it against veterans time using the GI Bill, and they will make that retroactive to the time the GI BIll began.

    1. Alex Horton    

      Joseph, probably not a good idea to sling around senator’s names, but you can look up the information yourself. The Senate bill was S. 3447: Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Improvements Act of 2010

      I’m not crazy about the changes, and I’ve said it before on here. Especially the tuition cap. But I’m not on the Hill either, so I don’t make these decisions.

      When I was using the GI Bill, I wish I could’ve turned down break pay. It’s simply not a good deal and everyone would be better off with the extra months tacked on. I’d like to see a grandfather clause too, and I do my best to mention it to anyone who can have a positive impact on legislative changes. That’s the best a low level guy like me can do.

  2. Joh Martin    

    I think that “ALL” Honorably Discharged Veterans who got the short end when we joined by being in the middle of both decent GI Bill Programs, and were handed the V.E.A.P., Should be given the benefit of taking advantage of the Present GI Bill!!!!

  3. BOHICA'd again    

    Let’s see, under the “unimproved” GI Bill, was allowed a max of $12K per term at a private school. Now with the “improved” GI Bill… allowed $17.5K per year. My school is Fall-Spring and Summer I was allowed a max of $12K per semester, for a total of $36 K per year. Now I will receive a max of $17.5 K per year. A loss for me of $18.5k per year. I already started on the GI Bill, I should be able to use what I was promised until my program is over. There needs to be a grandfather clause for those like me to continue with the current program. I have two more years left and I will not be able to come up with the $37K that I now need. Thanks…Congress…OK to bail out the banks and lenders…and let them have their “deserved” bonuses…but US servicemen and women… screwed again. You can’t count on anyone. Thank you very much Congress

    1. Doug    

      I agree with you my Son is in the boat. His Tuition is $42 K per year not sure how he is going to do this? I was assuming he could take out a student loan to pay the difference and when the $17,500 comes in every year to use that to pay off what he would still owe. However he was told that was a No Go. Like you said Congress did not take any of this into consideration if you were already enrolled!

  4. Hootman    

    I was in Mosul Thanksgiving, Christmas, and spring of ’06. I lived on top of the hill by the side gate.
    It is funny that you talk about National Guard Title 32 and online benefits. When I got back to NC from Mosul I came off of title 10 orders and went on Title 32 as the rear detachment NCO for 14 months (May 06 to July 07). I came off of those orders and went back to drill once a month. I had my AAS degree before I went to Iraq. When I came back I started back to school and used all of my Ch 30 GI Bill and retired from the Guard in ‘09. I started on my 12 months of benefits under the Post 9-11 GI Bill continuing to go to school online. I will finish my bachelors degree in March ’11 along with my GI Bill benefits. The Post 9-11 benefits for Title 32 and online will not be retro and I will not be eligible for any additional benefits. So the students who fall in the “black hole” time period were expecting the benefit to be “improved” and we started/continued our education based on these perceived improvements. So it is not difficult to understand why so many people are upset by these changes. Overall the “smoke and mirror” changes, the “robbing from Peter to pay Paul”, the perception of improvement has not been received with a warm welcome. With the Commander in Chief giving out money like he can just print more, to big corporations who are dragging this country down, it is a real kick in the a** to all of the veterans. I am thankful to have the benefits that I currently have, but again in Appalachian American terms “Those big shots who think that they can just pull the wool over our eyes had better wake up and smell the bacon, cause we veterans ain’t stupid. We didn’t go to college first so we had to go in the military (Sen Kerry).” Continuing to give money to these failing companies is like throwing fifths of liquor to an alcoholic. A wise man once provided a definition stating “If you continue to do the same thing expecting different results…” Active duty and veterans who defend this country should not have to be concerned with their government “saving money” on them. It is a profound investment in this country to provide an education to the men and women who provide us with freedom. My two cents to the whole issue would be, instead of continuing to throw money away, robbing from Peter to pay Paul, and smoke and mirrors, take a chance on investing it in these men and women. They just might surprise you.

    1. Alex Horton    

      Hard to argue with that, but you did pretty good by stretching it out and getting the additional 12 months of benefits. 48 academic months is nothing to sneeze at, and I wasted a chunk of mine at community college where I should have just put my head down and paid out of pocket. Now I have less than half my GI Bill left and not even 60 credits to my name. You did well, and if you want to pursue a graduate degree, it’s a lot easier to get grants and scholarships than undergrad from what I understand. Congrats on your impending graduation this spring.

      I might have bumped into you in that massive chow hall line on Marez on Thanksgiving. I was in 5/20 (3rd Stryker Brigade) and patrolled the west side of town from July to early December 2006, when we moved down to Baghdad.

      1. Hootman    

        There was a crowd of people, but the food was good! The new chow hall was awesome. I was with the 505th Engineers who was going out at night and repairing IED crater holes. The Stryker boys would report the location of the holes and we would pour concrete in them. I was a Humvee driver in a gun truck. I “white lighted” a many a Stryker at about 0300 when they would try to go “black out” and sneak up on us. My gunner had a 5 million candle power spot light wired straight to the battery of the Humvee. Strykers did not like to be shot with that thing. It would light up a roof top 3 block away.

  5. Hootman    

    I was under the impression that this “new and improved” bill was going to keep all of the current benefits the same and “improve” some of the benefits that were not included to start with. When this new bill was being talked about over the last year I did not hear any mention of anything being changed from the original bill. If there is one thing that I do not want to be is a whiner and a complainer, but I am at a loss with this new bill. To put it in Appalachian American terms “these changes smell like a bunch of politicians have been wallering around in them!” It is like one of the posts said before this is just a bunch of smoke and mirrors taking away from parts of the bill to fund other parts of the bill. The big corporations received billions of dollars for a bail out due to their poor business ethic and writing checks that they could not cover. Now we have a group of people who gave or are currently giving the country a blank check payable up to and including their life and getting what amounts to scraps! After serving 17 years as a combat engineer, 36 months OIF (Balad, Q-West, Marez/Diamond Back), being medically retired, and weathering some serious residuals from all of it, I get the feeling that I, along with countless others, have sacrificed a great deal. So again in Appalachian American terms “Quit screwing around with our benefits and an give us what we fought for! It is time for the ones who volunteered to protect this country, drag their families through hell, keep the politicians in a job, and this country from speaking a foreign language to get their fair share.” Does this sound like whining? Probably so if you have never experienced the joys of the military.

    1. Alex Horton    

      Hootman, I have my own thoughts on how lawmakers balance the over funding of some programs by cutting others, so I’ll bite my tongue and comment on what is already law. The new rules allow for more National Guard members that were activated under Title 32 to use Chapter 33 benefits. The bill also gives Voc Rehab students the same BAH as Chapter 33 students, allocates money for non degree programs like flight school and pays BAH to students who take all of their classes online. All of these benefits are new, and it will open the door to a segment of the Veteran population not served by the earlier bill.

      Like I said before, the break pay and the cap were conceded to help pay for the above, and it’s tough for those who need money during the break. It’s “new and improved” to some, and not to others. But I think an unintended benefit of the whole thing is the saving of tuition and BAH payments, which added together is a lot more than between-semester bridge payments that often didn’t cover the same value as normal payments.

      I covered the same ground in Mosul. When were you there?

  6. Concerned    

    Why is “new and improved” seldom new and never improved?

  7. ISchifer    

    I am a veteran, mother of 2, I was hoping to go back to school when I heard of the new and “improved” GI bill, and was very exited until I read that they are going to take away the BAH during the school breaks. I want to go full time, and concentrate on my studies, not on how am I going to pay rent and feed my kids… I am very disappointed that I will have to put my dream of someday becoming a nurse on hold because I can not afford not to have a full time job and study at the same time. (Not if I want to pass the classes, try studying with a 3 and a 5 yr old) The President and the VA need to think about these things when they are making changes. We served our Country we deserve a roof over our heads, or should I just tell my landlord “sorry the VA will not pay me for housing during my school break” Thanks for getting my hopes up….

    1. Alex Horton    

      I know that lack of break pay stings. But this is something I didn’t know: the break pay was not a freebie. It was taken out of the total 36 months of benefits, and it was usually far less than a usual BAH payment (at least it was for me). So it’s hard in between semesters, but that is another half month or full month of saved benefits that will go toward tuition and more BAH. It seems in the long run to be a better deal.

  8. Luke    

    I hope the changes will be postivie good luck mate

    Luke

  9. FJ    

    Greatest Generation after WWII went to school on the first GI Bill. Mainly because, well, they had to — there were no jobs! (Sound familiar?)

    I’d recommend that all returning vets take advantage of this program.

    1. Alex Horton    

      Exactly right FJ. The post war recession gave few options, and the Greatest Generation became that not because of what they did in the war, but what they did after.

      1. brenda hayes    

        Alex,

        What’s with my reply to Pamperin?

        “Awaiting moderation”

        I also notice it was taken out of sequence?

        Thanks,

        BH,
        Vetwife Advocate

        Your IT people need to fix the CAPTCHA problem and it seems I am not the only one having problems.

        I figured since this was your newest blog; you would be reading this tomorrow…that’s why I placed it here.RU

        1. Alex Horton    

          Brenda, comments with email addresses or several links automatically go into moderation. This helps to cut down on spammers. Every morning I check the comments and approve the ones that are legitimate (like yours). It’s now up. As far as the CAPTCHA, the guy who runs the IT of the blog is outside the firewall, but we’re trying to remedy that. When he comes aboard we’ll get on the code problem as soon as possible.

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