Most of the changes associated with the Post-9/11 Veterans Education Assistance Improvements Act (GI Bill 2.0) went into effect August 1. Many veterans, servicemembers, and their eligible family members saw some significant changes in the benefits.
The intent of the Post-9/11 Veterans Education Assistance Improvements Act is to expand eligibility, simplify tuition rates, and ensure that the Post-9/11 G Bill offers the same types of benefits as older versions of the GI Bill. To do so, congress was forced to reduce the cost by trimming certain aspects of the original program. In the end, some veterans will have their benefits reduced so that others may have a share of the benefits.
The following summary explains how these changes will affect the education benefits of specific groups of Post-9/11 GI Bill eligible students.
National Guard Eligibility Expanded - Certain National Guard members mobilized on Title 32 orders on-or-after September 11, 2001 are now eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill and any qualifying Title 32 mobilization may be used to increase your percentage of eligibility. Effective August 1, 2009, but not payable until October 1, 2011.
A New Online Housing Allowance - The housing allowance is payable to students enrolled solely in distance learning [This Includes Online Education], the housing allowance is half the national average BAH for an E-5 with dependents (the rate will be $673.50 for 2011). This I subject to prorating based on the number of credits being taken. - Effective October 1, 2011.
Note: This does not include active duty or their GI Bill eligible spouses.
Tiered Benefits - Active duty members saw their tuition and fees become prorated based on the eligibility tiers (40%-100%). This previously applied to veterans only. These same limitations apply to transferee spouses of active duty servicemembers. - Went into effect on March 5, 2011.
Tuition Rate Limits - Active Duty Members and their transferees are now subject to the same national rate as veterans ($17,500 a year) for enrolled in a private or foreign school pursuing a degree. In addition, they have their tuition and fees at public schools limited to the in-state tuition and fees rate. - Effective August 1, 2011.
Transferability Expanded - NOAA and PHS personnel are now eligible to transfer their entitlement to eligible dependents - Effective August 1, 2011
New Book Stipend - Allows students on active duty (and their eligible spouses) now receive the books and supplies stipend. - Effective October 1, 2011.
Tuition and Fees Changes - Tuition and fee rates for those attending a public school now have up to 100 percent of the tuition and fees covered at the in-state (or resident) rate. Tuition and fee rates for those attending a private or foreign school are now capped at $17,500 annually.
Note: The Yellow Ribbon Program still exists for out-of-state fees and costs (non-resident) above the cap.
Monthly Kicker Payments - The VA will now pay MGIB (chapter 30) and MGIB-SR (chapter 1606) ‘kickers’ or Army/Navy College Fund payments, on a monthly basis instead of a lump sum at the beginning of the term. - Effective August 1, 2011.
Prorated Housing Stipend - Students enrolled at more than half-time but less than full-time will now have their housing allowance prorated based on the number of classes they are taking (also called rate of pursuit). This amount will be rounded to the nearest tenth. For example a student enrolled with a rate of pursuit 75% would receive 80% of the BAH rate. - Effective August 1, 2011.
End of Payments During School Breaks – The VA no longer pays benefits during breaks – like spring or winter break. The end to “interval pay” applies to all VA education benefit programs unless under an Executive Order of the President or due to an emergency, such as a natural disaster or strike.
Multiple Licensing, Certification and National Placement Exams – Reimbursement for more than one “license or certification” test will be possible. In addition to reimbursement of fees paid to take national exams used for admission to an institution of higher learning (e.g., SAT, ACT, GMAT, LSAT). - Effective August 1, 2011.
Expanded Vocation Training Opportunities – Veterans will be eligible to Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to cover the following:
New Voc-Rehab Stipend Options - Vocational Rehabilitation participants may now elect the higher housing allowance offered by the Post-9/11 GI Bill if otherwise eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill. - Effective August 1, 2011.