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GI Bill Updates for 2010

By Celeste Stewart

The last major revision of the GI Bill occurred in 2008. Commonly called the Post-9/11 GI Bill, it expanded coverage to include training, additional educational expenses, and stipends for books and housing. In addition, the Post-9/11 GI Bill also allowed for the transfer of unused educational benefits to spouses or children of eligible veterans.

While the proposed GI Bill updates for 2010 aren’t nearly as expansive as the 2008 overhaul, they do address some of the flaws discovered after the bill was implemented. For example, calculating the cost of benefits has been difficult due to the current practice of awarding veterans a benefit equal to the cost of the public institution with the highest tuition in their states.

The GI Bill updates for 2010 address this complicated calculation by proposing a single formula based on the national average of public and private baccalaureate programs rather than state-by-state formulas.

Updates for the GI Bill

According to the Library of Congress Bill Summary and Status for S.3447, the proposed GI Bill updates for 2010 would:

  1. Revise eligibility definitions.
  2. Expand eligibility to include some National Guard service members.
  3. Revise monthly stipends and assistance amounts.
  4. Revise the types of approved programs of education.
  5. Include correspondence courses, flight training, and on-the-job training at nontraditional institutions.
  6. Include distance learning.
  7. Cover some education programs participated in while on active duty.
  8. Cover more than one licensing or certification test.
  9. Allow eligible individuals to transfer supplemental educational assistance to the post-9/11 program.
  10. Expand the transfer of unused educational benefits to family members to individuals who are no longer members of the Armed Forces.
  11. Bar duplication of certain educational assistance benefits.
  12. Increase the reporting fee paid by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to an educational institution for providing information concerning an individual’s enrollment in a program of education.
  13. Repeal the authority to make certain interval payments.

These GI Bill updates for 2010 would leave the provisions of the Post-9/11 GI Bill largely intact. The bill’s sponsor, Senator Daniel K. Akaka of Hawaii, said in a July 2010 press release, “I am committed to strengthening the new program for post-9/11 troops and veterans, and I look forward to moving this improvement bill to a vote.” That same press release indicates that the bill is supported by veterans groups including the Veterans of Foreign Wars and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

While these GI Bill updates for 2010 are more likely to become reality in 2011 than in 2010, the wheels are in motion to expand eligibility and make the entire process more efficient.

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