WASHINGTON (May 11, 2009) Last year, Congress enacted the new GI Bill for the 21st Century to restore the promise of a full, four-year college education for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, making them part of the economic recovery. That measure takes effect on August 1, 2009, and starting May 1st, veterans can now apply for a certificate of eligibility for the new college benefit at the VA website www.gibill.va.gov. Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (D-Mechanicsville) is encouraging individuals who served on active duty on or after September 11, 2001 to submit an application to determine eligibility for the benefit.
In offering a free college education to our nations veterans, the original G.I. Bill sparked economic growth for a whole generation of Americans and helped build the largest middle class in history, stated Rep. Hoyer. This new benefit meets the promise of the original G.I. Bill program and helps make the current generation of troops and veterans part of a new economic recovery, just as the Greatest Generation of World War II helped generate tremendous postwar prosperity.
Generally, the measure provides up to four years of education benefits at a college or university for individuals with at least 90 days of active duty service on or after September 11, 2001 who have been honorably discharged from service. The benefits are correlated on a sliding scale of years served, and to receive full benefits, you must have served on active duty for three years. These benefits are generally payable for up to 15 years following release from active duty.
Under the G.I. Bill program, the following is paid for:
-- Tuition and fees of up to the maximum in-state tuition and fees at a public institution in your state;
-- Monthly housing allowance at the location of the school, based on the Basic Allowance for Housing for an E-5 with dependents; and
-- Annual books and supplies stipend of up to $1,000.
For further information visit www.gibill.va.gov or call toll-free at 1-888-GI-BILL-1 (1-888-442-4551) to speak with a Veterans Benefits Counselor.