One major step forward for improving veterans’ economic opportunities is almost complete. IAVA led the fight to provide today’s veterans with the same kind of education benefits America provided to veterans of World War II.
In June 2008, we won. The new “Post-9/11” GI Bill makes college affordable for 1.7 million veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, but a number of technical fixes are necessary in 2009 to maximize the GI Bill’s effectiveness.
Streamline and Simplify the Post-9/11 GI Bill
- IAVA calls on Congress to oversee the accurate and timely implementation of all portions of the “Post-9/11 GI Bill,” including the tuition benefit, housing allowance, book stipend, and transferability provisions.
- Eliminate the confusion of multiple education benefits by ensuring that the Post 9/11 GI Bill covers all types of education programs.
- Veterans pursuing vocational and distance learning programs should be entitled to the same tuition benefits as veterans attending traditional colleges.
- Rather than an unwieldy state-by-state benefit system, the Post-9/11 GI Bill benefit should have a national tuition cap tied to the price of the most expensive public school (currently about $13,000/yr). Partial tuition payments should be based on a percentage of this cap, not individual tuition costs.
- The Yellow Ribbon Program, which provides matching federal funds for private school scholarships given to GI Bill recipients, should be universally available to those in reserve component.
- Veterans with remaining educational entitlement should be able to use their benefit to pay back student loans.
- Veterans attending school part time should receive a pro-rated housing benefit.
- Active Guard Reserve (AGR) service should be counted toward benefits calculations