A GI Bill milestone of sorts was reached this week, the Post-9/11 GI Bill is now three years old. Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) pointed out that on the third anniversary of the signing, “more than 500,000 have enrolled in classes on the Post-9/11 GI Bill. That’s half a million men and women who otherwise might not have had the opportunity to attend college.”
For most of those 500K veterans, the Post-9/11 GI Bill has been an amazing blessing, a great tool to help them transition from the military into a new civilian career. As Webb put it, “Educated veterans not only have an easier transition and readjustment experience, but they boast higher income levels.”
However, the anniversary of the Post-9/11 GI Bill should not be mentioned without also mentioning that the P911 has not been all it was cracked up to be. From the horrendous back-log of claims in the fall of 2009 to the continued struggle to remedy the “unintended consequences” and technical glitches, this new GI Bill has been a huge disappointment for many student vets. Not to mention the administrative nightmare it has been for the VA and schools alike. And, to the dismay of about 4,000 student vets, the upcoming changes -- which are intended to fix the original P911 issues -- are likely cause more financial pain.
So in answer to Webb’s statement this week that the “United States has never erred when it has made sustained new investments in higher education and job training – and its veterans,” I would ask him to tell that to the veterans who continue to struggle financially due to the unintended consequences of his Post-9/11 GI Bill and the subsequent costs of trying to fix it.
Read more about the upcoming Changes to Post-9/11 GI Bill.