Veterans to lose school funding

For the Fall 2011 semester, changes are underway for recipients of the Post 9/11 GI Bill due to the enactment of the Veterans’ Education Assistance Improvement Act of 2010.

To expand eligibility and to guarantee that the Post 9/11 Bill offers the same benefits as other versions of educational assistance, Congress was forced to reduce costs. This includes trimming portions of the original Post 9/11 Bill.

Veteran benefits will be reduced so active duty personnel and the National Guard can receive a more equal piece of the government aid.

The original 9/11 Bill has allowed veterans and active duty to attend colleges and vocational schools without having to worry about the daunting issue of high tuition.

To top it off, students are allowed a housing and book stipend.

As a result of the changes, “interval pay,” or winter and spring break pay, is no longer being made available for veterans. The stipend helped recipients pay the monthly basic allowance for the weeks they weren’t in school, and plays a major part in the even distribution of benefits.

Online students will have a little more money in their pockets this year as a housing allowance goes in to effect on Oct. 1. It accounts for half of the basic allowance for housing for on-campus students.

Members of the National Guard that were mobilized by the orders before or after the events of Sept. 11, 2001, are now eligible for the new 9/11 GI Bill, and the percentage of their eligibility will be increased.

Active duty members now have their benefits tiered, which means that the fees are prorated based on eligibility tiers that range from 40 to 70 percent, just as veterans receive.

Students on active duty will also see a new book stipend that is transferable to spouses.

For veterans, the housing stipend will now be prorated based on the number of classes the student is taking. For example, if one is taking nine hours, they would receive 80 percent of the basic allowance for housing rate. This makes a significant difference, as before the new 9/11 bill, a veteran student had to be enrolled only half the time to get 100 percent of the housing allowance.

Veterans will also be getting some perks. They can now receive reimbursement of fees paid towards national exams such as the SAT and ACT.

In addition, veterans enrolled in non-college degree programs can use new benefits to pay up to $17,500 of in-state tuition.

On-the-job training, flight programs and correspondence training under the new provisions are now available as well.

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