FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Chrissy Stevens (212) 982-9699 or Chrissy@iava.org
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
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Innovative GI Bill Website Launched by IAVA
NewGIBill.org Helps Veterans Understand Historic New Benefit, Navigate VA
Washington, DC- Today, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the nation's first and largest non-partisan, nonprofit organization representing veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, announced the launch of a groundbreaking outreach campaign, anchored by the website NewGIBill.org, to provide educational resources to new veterans seeking to attend college on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, which takes effect August 1.
"As the media frenzy continues this week over Michael Vick's next move, nearly half a million new veterans are readying to take advantage of the historic new GI Bill. These new and improved benefits will transform the path of an entire generation of veterans and build the leaders of tomorrow," said IAVA Executive Paul Rieckhoff. "IAVA is committed to ensuring that every veteran has the tools and resources they need to navigate the complicated GI Bill application process. The VA site is cumbersome, and other sites are looking to make a buck off of veterans. Veterans need a modern, trusted place to go for all their GI Bill questions. That is why IAVA created NewGIBill.org."
NewGIBill.org will help Iraq and Afghanistan veterans navigate the Post-9/11 GI Bill's confusing application process. The website features a comprehensive section of frequently asked questions; a blog that provides real-time updates about the bill; three of the most accurate benefit calculators for calculating benefits, eligibility, and transferability; a streamlined checklist for applying for benefits; and an information section for colleges and universities to help make their campuses more veteran-friendly.
Throughout 2007 and 2008, IAVA played a lead role in creating the Post-9/11 GI Bill, working closing with other veterans groups, and Senators Jim Webb (D-VA), Chuck Hagel (R-NE), John Warner (R-VA) and Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ). The 18-month campaign included an in-depth issue report highlighting the need for a new GI Bill, targeted print and online advertising to give the bill national prominence, consistent media outreach and extensive lobbying efforts by Iraq and Afghanistan veterans on Capitol Hill. To view a detailed timeline of IAVA's campaign to pass the new GI Bill, click here.
Despite the historic nature of the passage of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, there are some complications that could result in many veterans losing out on some or all of the benefit. IAVA has identified some of these key issues:
- The VA separated tuition and fees when capping benefits, causing large inequities and confusion.
- The living allowance is denied to distance learners.
- Title 32 Active Guard Reserve (AGR) service does not count toward the new GI Bill benefits.
- Tuition and fees are capped at each state's public school charges, resulting in wide disparities.
- On-the-job, apprenticeship, certificate and vocational programs are specifically excluded from benefits.
"Over the past two years, IAVA has worked tirelessly for the passage of the new GI Bill. But we are not done yet. Tens of thousands of veterans could be adversely affected by the current problems with the bill" Rieckhoff added. "IAVA is committed to ensuring that all of these issues are addressed quickly so that no veteran is left behind. We are hopeful Congress and the Administration will confront these defects quickly. Our veterans have waited long enough."
To arrange an interview with Executive Director Paul Rieckhoff or a member veteran going to school on the new GI Bill, contact Chrissy Stevens, 212-982-9699, Chrissy@iava.org.
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (www.IAVA.org) is the country's first and largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and has more than 125,000 veteran members and civilian supporters nationwide. Its mission is to improve the lives of this country's newest generation of veterans and their families.