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The G.I Bill 2.0: What You Need to Know

March 5, 2012

Changes were made to the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill to provide more assistance to service members and assure that they also get the educational aid necessary for school. The G.I. Bill 2.0 changes for Post-9/11 G.I. went into effect last August, but there were some that didn’t go into effect until October 2011. The changes may have changed your benefits. If you don’t currently know your situation, you should check with the Department of Veterans Affairs by calling 1-888-GIBILL-1.

The changes were in some ways retroactive and in others, not. This means that most of the changes to the Post-9/11 Bill were not retroactive. However, the change in eligibility for Guardsman was activated for title 32 orders and is retroactive to August 1st, 2009. This change went into effect on October 1st, 2011.

In addition, the amount of tuition and stipends that are paid under the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill will vary based on zip code and the rate of pursuit, which is how many credits that you are taking. Your number of months of post-September 11th, 2001 in active duty service will still determine the level of benefits as well. You can figure this out by contacting the VA, but here is a breakdown of benefit eligibility:

You’ll get 100 percent of your benefits if you have 36 months or more of total service. You also will receive 100 percent of benefits if you have served 30 or more days with disability related discharge. After that, you only receive 90 percent for 30 total months of service, 80 percent for 24 months of service, and so on in increments of 6.

There are also new benefits that you should understand based on new G.I. Bill 2.0. The Post-9/11 G.I. Bill offers several different education assistance programs The three major benefits will include up to 100 percent of paid tuition despite the education level you are seeking. In addition, you’ll get a monthly stupid and $1,000 a year for books and supplies if you attend full-time. Less than that, you will receive a portion of this payment which is based solely on the number of units per study. The payment rates are according to the length of your period of service.

Payments made to the school of your choice. The bill will pay for tuition and fees. Students who choose to attend private colleges and universities have a $17,500 annual tuition and fee cap. There is also the amount of established charges that are payable for the entire quarter, semester or term that are also paid directly to the school in a lump sum payment. There is also a monthly housing stipend that is paid based on the monthly basic allowance for housing. If you are on active duty or training at half time or less, then you are not eligible to receive this benefit.

One of the major changes is that students who are online or in distance learning programs will also get a living expenses stipend. Before, only students who went to school at brick and mortar institutions were able to receive this benefit. The new housing allowance is payable to students enrolled only in distance learning programs. This benefit is subject to prorate based on the number of credits being taken. The housing stipend is also less than the amount that you would receive if you went to a traditional school.

There are also changes to the type of service that counts towards G.I. eligibility. Active Service that is performed by National Guard members under title 32 who respond to a national emergency are able to use their time to count towards benefit eligibility.

The changes to the G.I. Bill will certainly help military students, particularly those who had issues getting benefits because they served in the National Guard or who weren’t in school full time, or who chose to take online courses. The new changes are there to help students get the educational benefits and pay for all the tuition and fees in order to graduate. The changes were a part of a G.I. Bill overhaul after thousands of complaints from veterans previously about the red tape and problems with the delivery of funds on time for school.

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