The GI Bill is a program that allows military members to earn the funds to pay for college or other vocational training through their service. The program was first introduced after the Korean War and was most recently revamped following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Now referred to as Post 9/11 GI Bill, the program covers tuition and fees at all in-state public institutions, including technical and vocational schools. Also provided under the program is a monthly stipend to help cover living expenses and an annual allowance for books. Although the program may not cover the total cost of out-of-state or private schools, there may be additional assistance to service members under the Yellow Ribbon Program.
In order to be eligible for the program, a service member must have served on active duty for at least 90 aggregate days after September 11, 2001. Children of military members killed in the line of duty since 9/11 may also be eligible to receive benefits under the program. How long a person serves on active duty will determine how much they are entitled to receive, with maximum benefits being earned after 36 months of active duty, unless they are discharged due to a service related injury.
In order to ensure that they are getting their maximum benefits and fully understand what is and is not covered, service members are urged to contact their chosen school’s VA benefits coordinator who can answer their questions and assist them with the paperwork. A common question newly discharged members have is how long they have following their military service to use their education benefits. Generally, a service member will be eligible to receive benefits under this program for 15 years following the date of discharge or the last date on which they had served at least 90 consecutive days on active duty.
Visit www.gibill.va.gov to learn more about the benefits available to those who have served and sacrificed for this country.