On August 1, the Post 9/11 GI Bill turned four years old. Since its inception in 2009, it has paid out over $30 billion in payments to nearly 1 million service members, veterans and their families.
Along the way, we have seen many changes to the original Post 9/11 GI Bill, but perhaps the greatest changes happened with the implementation of the GI Bill 2.0 in 2011. Included in that major update were:
- the elimination of interval pay – the pay a student received between semesters and school breaks.
- a prorated housing allowance based on zip code of the school and the number of credits taken by the student.
- the standardization of private school tuition payments to a fixed yearly amount, changing from the old in-state tuition system that varied widely depending on where the student went to school.
In April 2012, President Obama signed into law The Principles of Excellence – legislation that will help end fraudulent and aggressive practices some schools used to get GI Bill students to enroll, and to better educate and inform prospective students of their financial obligations when enrolling in a school.
Within the last year, the VA implemented their Long Term Solution (LTS) software; it uses a rules-based business industry technology that provides end-to-end claims to payment automated processing. Since implementing LTS, processing time has been cut in half resulting in students getting paid quicker. Students already in the system now get paid on average seven days after submitting a claim.
The latest change that took effect on August 1st was the implementation of an automatic four- year obligation of future service (regardless of the number of years already served) for servicemembers selecting to transfer part or all of their Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits to a spouse or dependent child(ren) after the August 1st date.
Also soon, the VA will launch some new “tools” that will better help GI Bill users identify their vocational strengths, and in the end, help them select an institution of higher learning or vocational technical school that will better serve their aptitude skills or career choice.
At birth, the Post 9/11 GI Bill was already the most comprehensive and extensive education assistance program since the beginning of the GI Bill – a result of the Serviceman’s Readjustment Act of 1944. And every year changes make it an even better GI Bill. Happy birthday!