New GI Bill 2.0 was legislation that helped guarantee benefits for veterans who were not eligible for the original version of the Post-9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33) and increased benefits for over 400,000 veterans and their families across the country. Here are some of the improvements:
- Disabled Veterans: Raising monthly vocational rehabilitation benefits by nearly $800/month. This will help 21,000 disabled veterans, the size of the annual field of runners at the Boston Marathon, be able to afford to live and go to school. (August 2011)
- Improved Tuition Benefits: Simplifying the confusing tuition cap system and increasing the benefit rate in 45 states. SPC Weaver’s tuition benefit in California will increase by $8,000/year. Over 58,000 students will now receive higher tuition benefits, equal to the combined student population of Princeton, Harvard, Yale, MIT and William and Mary. (August 2011)
- Distance Learners: Granting over 25,000 full-time distance learners, a monthly living –allowance, including disabled veterans, single parents who provide at-home childcare, and rural veterans. (October 2011)
- Vocational Training: Authorizing generous New GI Bill benefits for apprenticeship and on-the-job training. This will help over 6,000 veterans participate in vocational training; the same number of workers that were needed to build the Hoover Dam. (October 2011)
- Trade Schools: Approving benefits for students studying at trade schools like a fire academy, truck driving school or a barber college. Approximately 6,000 students will now be able to attend a trade school next year, enough to staff the entire Los Angeles Fire Department. (October 2011)
- Full Time National Guard: Including full-time service in the National Guard as qualifying service toward New GI Bill eligibility. This will help over 85,000 previously excluded National Guardsmen, enough to fill the entire football stadium at the University of Texas. (October 2011)
- Active Duty: Granting over 19,000 active duty service members using their GI Bill benefits an annual book stipend of $1,000/year, enough to fill an entire military division. (October 2011)
- New Recruits: Saving new enlistees to the military $1,200 by not requiring them to sign-up for the old and inadequate GI Bill. This will help 180,000 new service members per year, equivalent to the entire fighting force of the U.S. Marine Corps
Although New GI Bill 2.0 will help many student veterans receive better benefits, there are some provisions that close loopholes in the Post-9/11 GI Bill and therefore will reduce benefits for other veterans.
- Part-Time Students: Prorates the monthly living allowance for the Post-9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33). This closed a loophole that was allowing part-time students to receive double the benefits as full-time students. Click here to learn more about part-time students,
- Active Duty Service members: Ensures that active duty service members receive the same tuition benefits as veterans (In-State tuition at public schools and $19,198.31/year for private schools). A loophole in the Post-9/11 GI Bill previously granted unlimited tuition/fees benefits only for active service members.
- Summer/Winter Break Pay: Essentially abolished interval payments for periods of time between academic terms. This was a very contentious provision that many veteran groups, including IAVA opposed.
- Private Students in Seven States: Student veterans attending high cost private schools in seven states that had high tuition reimbursement rates (AZ, MI, NH, NY, PA, SC TX) would have seen their tuition benefits drop. However, thanks to strong advocacy from IAVA and new legislation passed in July 2011, those students will be allowed to keep their higher rates till July 2014. Click here to read more about the grandfather clause for students in these seven states.
- Non-Federal Financial Aid: The VA will now only pay for tuition/fees that are not paid by other sources. So if you are receiving any “tuition specific” financial aid the VA will no longer double pay those tuition costs. Federal financial aid, anything you get from filling out the FAFSA, is excluded from consideration. Click here to read more about Financial Aid and the GI Bill.