Today President Donald Trump expanded educational benefits granted under the GI Bill by signing legislation that allows veterans unlimited access to college assitance.
Previously, veterans had a 15-year time limit to put their GI benefits to use, after which they would expire. Funding for college related expenses is also increased by thousands of dollars per veteran.
The new law is called the “Forever GI Act,” which expands upon an earlier 2008 law which guaranteed veterans a full-ride scholarship to any in-state public university, or a similar cash sum to attend a private university.
There are also many other improvements for veterans found in the new bill. Here’s a summary, courtesy of Army Times:
There’s no longer an expiration date.
Previously, veterans had to use their Post-9/11 GI Bill within 15 years of their last 90-day period of active-duty service. That requirement is going away.
This portion of the law will apply to anyone who left the military after January 1, 2013. It will also apply to spouses who are receiving education benefits through the Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship for family members of service members who have been killed in the line of duty since Sept. 10, 2001.
Purple Heart recipients will get more benefits.
The new GI Bill allows anyone who has received a Purple Heart on or after Sept. 11, 2001 to receive 100 percent of the benefits offered under the Post-9/11 GI Bill, which includes coverage of tuition costs at a public school’s in-state rate for 36 months and stipends for textbooks and housing. This provision will go into effect in August 2018.
More people are eligible for Yellow Ribbon.
The Yellow Ribbon Program is a voluntary agreement between schools and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to split school costs not covered by the GI Bill, reducing or eliminating the amount students must pay themselves.
There’s some extra money — and time — for STEM degrees.
Some college degrees in science, technology, engineering and math fields take longer than four years to complete, which is why the new law authorizes an additional school year of GI Bill funds on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Scholarships of up to $30,000 will be available for eligible GI Bill users starting in August 2018.
Vets hurt by school shutdowns will get benefits back.
A provision in the new GI Bill that will restore benefits to victims of school closures has been a long-time coming for the staff at Student Veterans of America.
The VA will measure eligibility for benefits differently.
Starting August 2018, this bill changes the way the VA uses time in service to calculate eligibility.
Previously, service members with at least 90 days but less than six months of active-duty service would be eligible for up to 40 percent of the full GI Bill benefits. Under new regulations, the same 90-days-to-six-month window is equal to 50 percent of benefits. Service members with at least six months and less than 18 months of service will be eligible for 60 percent of benefits.
Among the other changes include a slight decrease in housing stipends, but no one currently receiving a housing stipend will see a reduction in benefits. Benefits will also be transferable upon death, and spouses and children of fallen soldiers will see an increase in the monthly education stipend they recieve from the “Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program.”
There’s a story you won’t see on CNN today!