Changes to Post-9/11 GI Bill Have Big Impact for Online Students

Kansas City, Mo. – January 14, 2011 – Since the launch of the new Post-9/11 GI Bill in August of 2009, many have been calling for changes to the bill that would correct some oversights and allow for a broader access to education for all eligible service members and veterans.  Just a few weeks ago, President Obama signed the Post-9/11 Veterans Education Assistance Improvements Act of 2010 into law. These changes will have a big impact for service members and veterans who are eligible for the education benefits, especially those who are attending school online at institutions like Grantham University.

Up until now, service members and veterans who attended a solely online college or online university were not eligible to receive the housing allowance benefit, a stipulation that many deemed unfair.  Under the new provisions, online students are now eligible to receive one half of the national average of the program’s housing allowance, which will be $673.50 for 2011 (amount based on percentage of eligibility and rate of pursuit).

“Ensuring that service members and veterans have access to affordable higher education is one of our top priorities at the University,” said Dr. Fredrick Snow, president of Grantham University. “The recent changes to the GI Bill, combined with our Veterans Scholarship program, will further ease the financial stress that some of our students face, especially those who are trying to meet the needs of a family, work full-time, and pursue a college degree.”

Other Post-9/11 GI Bill changes include:

  • Paying for on-the-job training, some flight training; apprenticeship training and correspondence courses
  • Allowing reservists and Guardsmen to have their time supporting emergencies called by their state governors credited to the time needed to qualify for educational benefits
  • Pro-rating the housing allowance to exclude payments when students are not in class;
  • Allowing students on active duty receive the stipend for books and supplies
  • Allowing people eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill, but participating in VA’s Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) benefits to choose between the GI Bill’s housing allowance or VR&E’s subsistence allowance
  • Permitting reimbursement for more than one “license and certification” test
  • Reimbursing fees to take national admission tests, such as SAT, ACT, GMAT and LSAT
  • Establishing a national cap of $17,500 annually for tuition and fees in a private or a foreign school, not including contributions by educational institutions under the “Yellow Ribbon” program

The new provisions outlined in the Post-9/11 Veterans Education Assistance Improvements Act of 2010 will go into effect at some point in 2011.  To view more detailed information about these provisions and the dates they’ll be implemented, visit: http://www.gibill.va.gov/post-911/post-911-gi-bill-summary/Post911_changes.html.

Since the start of the new Post-9/11 GI Bill in August of 2009, the VA has provided almost $7.2 billion in tuition, housing, and stipends for more than 425,000 service members, veterans or eligible family members pursuing higher education.

To learn more about Grantham University’s online degrees and its Veterans Scholarship program, visit: www.grantham.edu.