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New GI Bill helping vets in college

The new Post 9/11 GI Bill is the largest investment to help veterans receive an education since World War II.

The new bill is written in a style similar to the WWII GI Bill, replacing the outdated Montgomery GI Bill.

It covers upfront tuition payments directly to the school, any public university or college in the country and many private schools, a monthly living allowance equal to an E-5 with dependents (up to $1,081 per month) and a book stipend of $1,000 per year.

“The bill has made it possible for many veterans to attend college that may not have had a chance otherwise,” said Tyler Junior College Admissions Recruiter Mike Collins.

For veterans to qualify for this benefit, they must have served at least 90 days active duty service post 9/11, or have served 30 days and with a discharge due to a service connected injury or illness.

“This is a great thing,” said Clinton Loveless, former 82nd airborne division of the Army.

The National Guard and Reserves are also eligible for this benefit. Reservists will continue to receive a percentage of the active duty GI Bill based on the length of their active duty service.

This bill will allow them to accumulate active duty service from multiple tours, which means more service equals higher benefits.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) has endorsed four pieces of legislation that will help upgrade the Post 9/11 GI Bill to help achieve their goal of a simple, equitable and generous GI Bill for all veterans.

“The age range we have seen at TJC for the new Post 9/11 GI Bill are veterans in their twenties,” said Collins.

The Department of Veteran Affairs predicts the number of student veterans receiving benefits is expected to increase as much as 25 percent. By 2011, campuses can expect to see 250,000 more American vets on campus.

Schools that attract veterans will share in the $78 billion the federal government will spend in the next decade on educational benefits under the Post 9/11 GI Bill, which went into effect Aug. 1.

Collins said there are about 300 veteran students on campus and the number is increasing.

“TJC will continue to see an increase in veterans utilizing the new Post 9/11 GI Bill as it truly does offer the veterans a chance to either start or continue their educational goals,” Collins said.

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