A new pilot program from the Department of Veterans Affairs aims to help student veterans enroll in non-traditional programs that teach high-tech skills.
Dubbed the Veteran Employment Through Technology Education Courses (VET TEC) program, it was announced Feb. 13 on the GI Bill website.
What Is VET TEC?
The VET TEC program, set to start in April, focuses on high-tech skills that are in demand in today's workplace, the VA says.
According to the VA, VET TEC will pay you a housing allowance and take care of tuition costs just like the Post-9/11 GI Bill. The difference is that you have to take classes in one of five areas:
- Information science
- Computer programming
- Data processing
- Media applications
- Computer software
The primary difference between this program and the Post-9/11 GI Bill is that the classes are much shorter than regular college or vocational training, sometimes requiring only months or weeks to gain certification.
Who Is Eligible for VET TEC?
Anyone currently eligible to use their GI Bill -- Montgomery or Post-9/11 -- is qualified for the program as long as they haven't passed the time limit to use their benefits and have at least one day of benefits remaining.
Unlike most GI Bill programs, any training received as part of VET TEC will not decrease your GI Bill entitlement in any way. It is essentially free money.
How Does VET TEC Work?
VET TEC is designed to move veterans into the job force faster than a traditional college program. Acquiring essential skills in such a short time gives you the opportunity to advance your career sooner rather than later.
Many of the "coding boot camps" and other high-tech training will be included in this new program.
To combat fraud, waste and abuse, the VA will pay the training provider 25 percent of the course cost when you enroll. Another 25 percent will be paid when you complete the program. The remaining 50 percent of the cost of training will be paid to the provider only when you "secure meaningful employment in the field of study that you enrolled in."
According to the VA, training providers can be listed as a "preferred provider" if they agree to return all money they got from the VA if you don't find meaningful employment within 180 days.
How to Sign Up for VET TEC
The program has just been announced and, according to the VA, an online application will be available soon. The GI Bill website will be updated with an application, as well as a listing of all approved places you can use the program.
Just like any other program, applying doesn't mean you will be accepted. Schools may have certain qualifications or testing requirements you must meet before you can enroll.
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