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Saturday, November 28, 2020

Nation

Ahead of Higher Ed: Veteran benefits just got easier to reap


Veterans were given a new federal tool this week to reap their post-9/11 GI Bill benefits and find appropriate educational and training institutions.

The United States Department of Veterans Affairs launched a new website that makes scorecards for the more than 10,000 approved universities and training programs for veterans who have served since Sept. 10, 2001, for at least 90 days and their family members in some cases, according to the VA website.

The scorecard lists all of the following:

  • The estimated benefits, including tuition and fee coverage, housing allowance and book stipend

  • The number of GI Bill beneficiaries enrolled in the establishment

  • Whether the institution has agreed to President Barack Obama’s Principles of Excellence

  • Whether the institution has a Yellow Ribbon option, an additional scholarship for out-of-state, qualifying veterans

  • Non-veteran-specific indicators like graduation rates, loan default rates and the median federal loan borrowing

The data and information come from more than 17 sources, including federal agencies, and according to Inside Higher Ed, sharing data between the VA and the Education Department is rare, veterans’ groups said.

The new scorecard system and website holds everyone accountable, assistant director of the American Legion’s national economic division Steve Gonzalez said to Inside Higher Ed, and the new web tool isn’t planned to stop where it is now. In the future, the site will compile student outcome data for all veterans at an institution.

“This is just the beginning,” Gonzalez said.

According to the website, there are 1,404 GI Bill beneficiaries at the University. These veterans have 100 percent of their in-state tuition with a monthly $1,623 housing allowance and a yearly $1,000 book stipend. UH has agreed to the president’s Principles of Excellence but does not have the Yellow Ribbon option.

The non-veteran-specific data shows that UH is at an overall graduation rate of 46.2 percent with the median federal loan borrowing at $14,500, which is tracked in the “low” rating. According to the loan default rates, UH is at 9.7 percent, compared to the national average of 13.6 percent.

New student veterans can be GI Bill-certified by going to UH’s Veterans Services office or filling out an application online. Veterans can also visit the office for other aid and programs throughout the year.

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