Military Financial Aid

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Military service undoubtedly comes with its hazards, but it also provides unique compensation. Many young adults in America who have hopes for higher education but lack the funding choose to enlist in the military to take advantage of its education financial aid programs, such as the GI Bill. Although receiving these benefits is a primary motivator for many enlistees, more than a third of veterans don’t take advantage of these programs — possibly because they remain unaware of the details. So what are these programs and what do they have to offer?
The GI Bill
The Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, commonly referrd to as the GI Bill, was a benefit program formulated to help returning veterans of World War II receive lower mortgage rates, loans to purchase farms, one year of unemployment compensation and cash payments for the tuition of colleges towards vocational and traditional education. Over the decades, the GI Bill has been revised into today’s modern version, with the passing of the Post 9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008. Known as the Post 9/11 GI Bill or 21st Century GI Bill of Rights, the act has expanded the educational benefits for military veterans who have served active duty since September 11, 2001.
The main benefits of the GI Bill include paid tuition for four academic years in an approved program up to the cost of the most expensive in-state undergraduate public tuition in the state where the veteran is enrolling. The amount received depends on the number of months the veteran served on active-duty on or after September 11, 2001. The minimum requirement is 90 days of service, which offers veterans 40 percent of tuition fees. The eligibility period to claim educational benefits is 15 years after concluding active duty. International education programs outside the United States are also eligible.
Also included in the GI Bill is a monthly living stipend for living costs and housing. The amount allowed is based off of the region the veteran will be attending. For instance, a veteran can expect a higher monthly stipend when attending school in New York City compared to other regions with lower, more affordable costs of living. A reduced stipend is also given for those veterans enrolled in online universities. Additionally, there is an annual stipend of up to $1,000 for miscellaneous costs, such as books, supplies and enrollment fees. Up to $2,000 towards one-time licensing or certification testing is also covered.
The Yellow Ribbon Program
For more expensive private schools, the GI Bill’s Yellow Ribbon Program enables participating private institutions to share the cost of tuition with the federal government. There is a $17,500 a year cap on additional tuition that the government matches with the school.
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For more information for veterans looking to take advantage of their educational benefits, please refer to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs website. For a more personalized and plain-spoken website, be sure to check out Today’s GI Bill website.
Joshua John currently works in community relations for the University of Southern California, which provides an advanced standing MSW and the opportunity for social works to earn an online social work degree. He also loves gadgets, movies, and all things Batman. Follow him on twitter: @joshuavjohn
Military service undoubtedly comes with its hazards, but it also provides unique compensation. Many young adults in America who have hopes for higher education but lack the funding choose to enlist in the military to take advantage of its education financial aid programs, such as the GI Bill. Although receiving these benefits is a primary motivator for many enlistees, more than a third of veterans don’t take advantage of these programs — possibly because they remain unaware of the details. So what are these programs and what do they have to offer?

The GI Bill
The Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, commonly referrd to as the GI Bill, was a benefit program formulated to help returning veterans of World War II receive lower mortgage rates, loans to purchase farms, one year of unemployment compensation and cash payments for the tuition of colleges towards vocational and traditional education. Over the decades, the GI Bill has been revised into today’s modern version, with the passing of the Post 9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008. Known as the Post 9/11 GI Bill or 21st Century GI Bill of Rights, the act has expanded the educational benefits for military veterans who have served active duty since September 11, 2001. 

The main benefits of the GI Bill include paid tuition for four academic years in an approved program up to the cost of the most expensive in-state undergraduate public tuition in the state where the veteran is enrolling. The amount received depends on the number of months the veteran served on active-duty on or after September 11, 2001. The minimum requirement is 90 days of service, which offers veterans 40 percent of tuition fees. The eligibility period to claim educational benefits is 15 years after concluding active duty. International education programs outside the United States are also eligible.

Also included in the GI Bill is a monthly living stipend for living costs and housing. The amount allowed is based off of the region the veteran will be attending. For instance, a veteran can expect a higher monthly stipend when attending school in New York City compared to other regions with lower, more affordable costs of living. A reduced stipend is also given for those veterans enrolled in online universities. Additionally, there is an annual stipend of up to $1,000 for miscellaneous costs, such as books, supplies and enrollment fees. Up to $2,000 towards one-time licensing or certification testing is also covered.

The Yellow Ribbon Program
For more expensive private schools, the GI Bill’s Yellow Ribbon Program enables participating private institutions to share the cost of tuition with the federal government. There is a $17,500 a year cap on additional tuition that the government matches with the school.---

For more information for veterans looking to take advantage of their educational benefits, please refer to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs website. For a more personalized and plain-spoken website, be sure to check out Today’s GI Bill website.

Joshua John currently works in community relations for the University of Southern California, which provides an advanced standing MSW and the opportunity for social works to earn an online social work degree. He also loves gadgets, movies, and all things Batman. Follow him on twitter: @joshuavjohn

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