On Friday Congress passed an altered version of the existing Post 9/11 GI Bill, which is designed to address issues that arose with the previous legislation. The updated bill will:
- provide full tuition for those attending a public school in their home state and up to $17,500 in tuition payments for those attending private schools (this number will rise annually, based on the avg. cost of tuition).
- allow funds to be used for vocational schools, distance education programs, and on-the-job training
- cover 90,000 National Guardsmen and Reserves who were previously ineligible to apply for the benefit.
- Ensure that students who are taking classes online will be awarded a portion of the housing stipend, which can total more than $2000/month
- Allow a 10 year restriction for taking advantage of the benefit may be waived for spouses and dependents if they had to delay attending college in order to take care of a wounded service member
These changes will take affect in August and the VA is working to get their payment process streamlined by then to avoid any delay of these tuition payments – a problem that arose with the passage of the original legislation.