POST-9/11 GI BILL
Veterans looking for financial assistance for their education can turn to the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs’ Post-9/11 GI Bill. Tuition and fees, housing, and books are among the provisions partially or fully covered for veterans who served at least 90 aggregate days of active duty following Sept. 10, 2001. Monies can be used toward education at public and private colleges, universities, and trade schools as well as for licensing, tutorial assistance, and testing, such as the LSAT or SAT. The minimum benefit, at 40 percent, is available for tuition and fees for veterans who served between 90 days and six months while the maximum benefit, at 100 percent, is available for tuition and fees for veterans who served at least 36 months of active duty.
Veterans are eligible for these benefits for up to 15 years from their last period of active duty ending with an Honorable Discharge that consisted of at least 90 days of service after the above September date. Specific benefits are also available to those who have served for at least 30 consecutive days and been honorably discharged due to a service-related disability. With at least six years of qualifying service and still serving, unused benefits can be transferred to a spouse or beneficiaries under this plan, but generally, an additional four years of active duty service are required.
THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRSBenefits.va.gov provides a one-page PDF flier that outlines benefits available to veterans based on time served on active duty. Its at-a-glance format can be a good starting point for veterans wanting to understand their basic eligibility. READ MORE
IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN VETERANS OF AMERICANewgibill.org explains how the Post-9/11 GI Bill replaces the older Montgomery GI Bill system by providing veterans with up-front tuition payments directly to their schools. Veterans can also find a checklist on the site to help them through the various steps in preparing to start school, including applying for plan benefits. READ MORE
AIR FORCE PERSONNEL CENTERThis site explains the basics of the Post-9/11 GI Bill for those who have served in the Air Force, also noting that payments from the bill are only eligible for education and training received after Aug. 1, 2009, and not before. READ MORE
NAVY PERSONNEL COMMANDThose who served in the Navy may find this site useful for its explanation of the Post 9-11/GI Bill. A six-part video series on the bill is also available, addressing topics ranging from eligibility to service obligations to claims. READ MORE
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSEVeterans can find information on this website about the transferability of their GI benefits to spouses and beneficiaries. Transferability processes and procedures are explained, and an application and fact sheet are also available. READ MORE
GRANTS, SCHOLARSHIPS, AND TUITION ASSISTANCE
Veterans may be able to recoup tuition and fees for a college education through other financial assistance programs. Many organizations greatly value a veteran’s active-duty commitment and provide options for them to pursue a postsecondary education. Veterans may want to contact the school or schools they are considering attending to see if any specific scholarships are available. Scholarship opportunities may also be offered for spouses, children and other family members of veterans.
- AFGHANISTAN AND IRAQ WAR VETERANS SCHOLARSHIP READ MOREVeterans, reservists and active-duty personnel of Enduring Freedom-Afghanistan or Iraqi Freedom Operations can seek educational scholarships of $2,500 when they are enrolled in a two-year or four-year undergraduate degree program.
- INTERNATIONAL CULINARY CENTER READ MOREWith locations in New York and California, this school gives more than $1 million in scholarship money to military veterans interested in culinary or other career training.
- AMVETS NATIONAL SERVICE FOUNDATION READ MOREAt amvets.org, veterans can read about annual scholarship opportunities that are available to them as well as their spouses, children, and grandchildren. Most scholarships are available in $1,000 to $4,000 amounts, and online applications are usually posted by Jan. 30 of each year.
- IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN SERVICE PELL GRANT READ MORE Children who lost their parents or guardians in the line of duty in Iraq or Afghanistan may be eligible for this Pell Grant award but must have been under the age of 24 at the time of their parent’s death.
- ARMY WOMEN’S FOUNDATION READ MORELegacy scholarships are offered annually to women who serve in the Army and their children. Amounts awarded are $1,000 for community colleges and $2,500 for four-year institutions.
- LEAVE NO VETERAN BEHIND READ MOREThis organization provides training opportunities for veterans and retroactive scholarships for those who have already completed some type of postsecondary training, but are in financial hardship and need help paying off student-loan debt.
- DISABLED WAR VETERANS SCHOLARSHIPS READ MOREHonorably-discharged veterans, military personnel and reservists disabled in the line of duty during Enduring Freedom-Afghanistan or Iraqi Freedom Operations can seek a scholarship of $2,500 when they are pursuing a two-year or four-year undergraduate degree.
- MARINE CORPS NATIONAL LEAGUE SCHOLARSHIP READ MOREChildren of Marines who have lost their lives in the line of duty may be eligible for technical training and undergraduate degree scholarships. Additionally, children, stepchildren, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and spouses of Marine Corps League or Auxiliary members can apply for scholarships.
- FLEET RESERVE ASSOCIATION READ MOREA variety of scholarships are available to veterans, military members and their families through this association, which has provided more than $850,000 in educational scholarships since 2000.
- MARINE CORPS SCHOLARSHIP FOUNDATION READ MORESince 1962, this organization has provided more than 30,000 scholarships to children of military personnel to help with their college education costs, with particular attention given to those who have lost a parent in the line of duty or who are especially in need of financial assistance.
IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN VETERANS OF AMERICANewgibill.org provides details about the costs that veterans could face beyond the cap set by the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Veterans can also use a GI Bill calculator to ascertain the tuition, fees and other costs covered by the VA for specific schools.
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF INDEPENDENT COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIESThis website provides information on what private schools are doing to make education more affordable to veterans through the Yellow Ribbon Program. A FAQs page answers a variety of questions about eligibility and enrollment at these independent colleges.
INSIDE HIGHER EDThis news source explains how more than 700 colleges signed up to participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program when it launched in 2009.
LIST OF YELLOW RIBBON FAQSThis extensive fact sheet, provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, offers numerous questions about enrollment and provides a governmental e-mail address for veterans to send questions about the Yellow Ribbon program.
SCHOOLS PARTICIPATING IN THE YELLOW RIBBON PROGRAMThe U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs provides a list of schools, searchable by state, that participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program. However, veterans should contact specific schools listed for more information.
SCHOOLS NOT PARTICIPATING IN THE YELLOW RIBBON PROGRAM
This web page, offered through the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, explains why some private institutions may not be participating in the Yellow Ribbon Program. READ MORE
THE WHITE HOUSEThe full impact of the Post-9/11 GI Bill can be understood through this 2013 White House press release that showcases the one-millionth veteran to become the recipient of the bill’s benefits. Veterans may find this veteran’s story encouraging as they embark on their own adventures to make use of the Post-9/11 GI Bill.
YELLOW RIBBON PROGRAM
Veterans who want to attend a private or a public out-of-state school could end up paying some of the costs themselves. The Veterans Affairs (VA) sets a national maximum covered for tuition and fees at private schools per academic year and only pays up to the resident rate for public schools. The Yellow Ribbon Program has been set up to help off-set some of these costs, and allows schools to enter into agreements with the VA through which the VA matches every dollar the school contributes toward tuition and fees beyond the maximum covered by the Post 9/11 GI Bill. This amount can help veterans at the 100% Post 9/11 GI Bill tier cover much or all of the difference between what the school charges and what the Post 9/11 GI Bill pays.
- THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS – Veterans can find specific details about the Yellow Ribbon Program on this site, including that the school of their choice must agree to participate and cannot offer Yellow Ribbon benefits to more than the maximum number of veterans specified in their participation agreement. READ MORE
- MARINE GUNNERY SERGEANT JOHN DAVID FRY SCHOLARSHIP READ MOREChildren whose parents died in the line of duty after Sept. 10, 2001 can receive up to 36 months of educational benefits at the 100 percent level. Benefits are available until a beneficiary’s 33rd birthday, but cannot be used in conjunction with the Yellow Ribbon program.
- SWIFT TRANSPORTATION COMPANY READ MOREVeterans interested in a trucking career can look to Swift Transportation for help with tuition assistance. The company has provided full scholarships to veterans to attend a Swift Academy of their choosing. Selective Reservists (including National Guard) are eligible for $1,000 scholarships. Both scholarships require a one-year commitment.
- MILITARY OFFICERS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA READ MOREThis organization makes interest-free loans available to students under the age of 24 who are children of former, active or retired officers or enlisted military personnel. Students must be pursuing a full-time undergraduate program and can receive interest-free loans for amounts up to $5,500 that are renewable for up to five years.
- SURVIVORS’ AND DEPENDENTS’ EDUCATIONAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM READ MOREEducational benefits are provided to eligible beneficiaries of veterans who are completely disabled from a service-related injury or whom have died as a result of duty or from a service-obtained injury. Benefits can be used to toward apprenticeships, certificate and degree programs and on-the-job training.
- NAVY/MARINE CORPS RELIEF SOCIETY READ MOREInterest-free loans and grants are available to the children of veterans (including deceased) and active-duty military personnel dependents who want to pursue a two- or four-year undergraduate education at an accredited institution.
- TROOPS TO TEACHERS READ MOREThis federal and state funded program helps former and current members of the U.S. military pursue training to start a second career as a teacher. Stipends may be available to eligible candidates.
- PARALYZED VETERANS OF AMERICA READ MOREMembers of Paralyzed Veterans, their spouses, and their unmarried children may be eligible for scholarship money to attend an accredited school or university. More than $300,000 has been awarded since the founding of the scholarship program in 1986.
- VETERANS EDUCATION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM READ MOREVeterans who have contributed to an education fund with deductions from their military paycheck will have these matched by the VA on a 2-to-1 basis and can use these funds to seek a certificate or college degree, licensing and certifications, correspondence courses, and more. Veterans that served between 1977 and 1985 may be eligible for this program.
- PAT TILLMAN FOUNDATION READ MORE Veterans and their spouses who show leadership potential are eligible for scholarships through this foundation. More than $4.6 million in scholarships has already been given, many to students pursuing degrees at the master’s and doctorate levels.
- VETERANS OF FOREIGN WARS “SPORT CLIPS HELP A HERO” SCHOLARSHIP READ MOREUp to $5,000 is available to veterans, active-duty personnel, and those in the reserves (all at the rank of E-5 or below) who are in need of financial assistance to be able to attend college and who have been accepted into or are currently enrolled in a VA-approved postsecondary institution.
- PURPLE HEART SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM READ MOREPurple Heart recipients, their spouses, children, and grandchildren may be eligible to receive scholarship funds to help cover costs related to tuition, fees, and other education-related expenses for an undergraduate program.
- VETERANS STUDENT LOAN RELIEF FUND READ MOREVeterans who served in the Iraq or Afghanistan wars or in related missions and who attended an undergraduate for-profit school during or after service may be eligible for up to $5,000 in student loan relief. The program is offered through the IAVA, Scholarship America and the Kisco Foundation, and veterans can determine their eligibility through a scholarship verification questionnaire on the site’s home page.
- SOCIAL FINANCE, INC. READ MOREVeterans can seek education loans with attractive rates from investors interested in helping with tuition and fees at an academic institution. Veterans must already be enrolled in a program or have completed a program of education. More than 3,000 borrowers have received loans so far.
- WOMEN’S MEMORIAL FOUNDATION SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM READ MOREFemale military veterans and those on active duty who are in need of financial assistance can apply for a $500 scholarship through this scholarship program when enrolled in either a bachelor’s or master’s degree program.
- SONS & DAUGHTERS OF PEARL HARBOR SURVIVORS SCHOLARSHIP READ MOREMembers of this organization, including children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and other blood relatives of those serving in the Armed Forces stationed on the Island of Oahu or nearby on Dec. 7, 1941, may be eligible for a $1,000 academic scholarship
Veterans returning to college may need help adjusting to civilian life to succeed. They may also want assistance improving their academic and study skills, or even just in understanding how to select a college. None of it is easy, and our list of resources below can help veterans to navigate these sticky areas. With up to 88 percent of veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars dropping out of college, according to Stars and Stripes, upping the chance for success may be a move in the right direction.
Many veterans need help brushing up on basic math and writing skills, or just in understanding the expectations of a college-level program. Veterans can improve their skills through resources online, as well as through programs available through campus veterans’ centers. They may also wonder what kinds of degrees or majors to study. Finally, they may want to know a how to select a school to attend, if they can obtain credit for classes taken during service, and whether online education is something worth pursuing. That is the focus of this section, and we’ve fully fleshed out the list of resources below to help veterans obtain answers to those questions.
More than 1 million veterans have now taken advantage of the benefits that come through the Post-9/11 GI Bill since it became available in 2009, but some want to improve their study skills to increase their opportunities for college success. Many schools offer specific general-education classes for veterans to help them refresh their knowledge in areas such as computer technology, English, math, and writing while others have employed staff specifically to reach out and provide services to these veterans.
For example, Sierra College, in Rocklin, Calif., offers a Boots to Books program, which includes a three-unit English class and a three-unit personal development class, both specifically designed to address the needs of veterans. Students returning to school will want to check with their specific college or postsecondary institution to see what kinds of special services or classes are available for veterans.
ADDITIONAL STUDY SKILLS RESOURCES FOR VETERANS
Veterans Employment Center – A resource to help connect veterans and their families to career development opportunities
Veterans Job Search Guide – A veteran’s guide to job hunting in the civilian world
usajobs.gov – Job and internship listings within the Federal Government
100,000 Jobs Mission – A list of over 140 companies looking to hire veterans
Feds hire vets – Federal employment information for Veterans, transitioning service members, and their families
ClearanceJobs.com – Matches job seekers that hold active or current Department of Defense, Department of State, and Department of Energy security clearances to hiring employers and recruiters looking for skilled cleared candidates
ClearedJobs.Net – A growing job board for professionals with security clearances looking for jobs in the defense and intelligence community
HireVeterans.com – Connecting U.S. military veterans with civilian careers
civilianjobs.com – An online networking solution for U.S. soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines that are currently transitioning from the military as well as veterans with varying amounts of business experience
GI Jobs Magazine – A premier publication for military transitioners. It provides education, transition assistance, and job opportunities for military vets. This is a must see!
HireHeroesUSA.org – Career placement assistance to all returning service men and women
vetjobs.com – Resource for those transitioning from the military, National Guard, Reserve Component Members, and veterans that have separated over the last several decades and are now productive members of the civilian work force in all disciplines
TAOnline.com – The largest single source of transition assistance information and tools for today’s separating military. On this transition assistance web site service members, both prior and current, can find the resources needed to transition from their much appreciated military service, to the perfect civilian career. Contains resume information, transition locator, job hunting advice, and relocation information
National Resource Directory – Resource to connect wounded warriors, service members, veterans, and those who support them, including information on benefits & compensation, education & training, and employment
Military.com (monster Veteran Employment Center) – Free resources to connect and inform the Americans with military affinity, including active duty, reservists, guard members, retirees, veterans, and family members