Editor’s note: If your computer prohibits you from watching the video above, watch it on Facebook by clicking here.
On Feb. 15, VA and the National Military Family Association hosted the #ExploreVA Facebook Live event on VA education benefit changes. Robert M. Worley II, VA’s director of Education Service, and Besa Pinchotti, communications director for NMFA, discussed these recent changes and how they may affect Veterans, service members and their family members looking to further their education.
“Many people think that the GI Bill only applies to four-year institutions, bachelor’s degrees or associate degrees,” says Worley. “You can get graduate degrees using your benefits. There are non-college degree programs where you can earn certificates, you can go to technical schools, even OTJT (on-the-job training) apprenticeships.”
Pinchotti asked several questions with respect to the Colmery Act, commonly known as the Forever GI Bill. To reiterate Worley’s answers, the new legislation:
- Eliminates the 15-year time limit for those who left active duty on or after January 1, 2013 from a period of at least 90 days
- Restores lost benefits due to a school closure or disapproval
- Provides up to nine months of additional Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to eligible individuals who are enrolled in a program of education in a STEM field
- Allows Veterans who had eligibility under the Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP) and lost it due to the sunset of the program to have that service credited toward the Post-9/11 GI Bill Program
When the conversation ended, VA’s social media team remained online to answer questions from participants and directed them to additional resources, such as Explore.VA.gov, where you can find out more information about all education benefits.
In case you missed it, check out some of the questions and answers below.
Several participants had questions about whether the Forever GI Bill would affect them based on the year they left service. The Forever GI Bill only eliminates the time limit for those who left active duty on or after January 1, 2013. For Veterans who left active duty before that date, the 15-year time limit still applies.
Some Veterans were curious about the restoration process for benefits lost due to a school closure. You can learn more and apply here.
Other Veterans wanted to know about the dates of enactment for the new legislation.
Service members inquired about which education benefits are available based on their specific situation.
Participants were also interested in learning more about transferring GI Bill benefits to their spouses or children.
Thank you to all Veterans, service members and their supporters who participated in the event! Stay tuned to the ExploreVA events page for information about upcoming events.