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New GI Bill Eases the Transition From Active Duty to Student

HOUSTON (May 27, 2009) – Making it easier and more affordable for veterans to complete their education is what the new GI Bill will do beginning August 2009.

Billed as the most comprehensive education benefit package since the original GI Bill, the Post-9/11 GI Bill (or Chapter 33) is available to individuals who served on active duty after September 10, 2001. 

The amount of benefits provided is determined by the amount of time served on active duty.  The maximum basic benefit provides the cost of tuition and fees, a monthly housing allowance and a yearly books and supplies stipend of up to $1,000 per year.  The maximum basic benefit is earned after serving a total of 36 months of active duty service or after 30 days of continuous service for those who were discharged for a service-connected disability.  Those who served between 90 days and 36 months of total active duty service will be eligible for a percentage of the maximum benefit.

One of the advantages to this new bill is that veterans no longer need to pay tuition up front and then wait to be reimbursed by the VA. Tuition and fees are paid directly to the school once the school receives a Certificate of Eligibility from the VA.

 “Sometimes it’s hard for those veterans just getting out of the service to come up with that initial payment.  This is going to alleviate that up front, out of pocket expense,” says Tammi Bodenhamer, a financial aid officer with LSC-Kingwood.

There are many factors to be considered to find out if the Post-9/11 GI Bill is the best option for you.   Once the application is processed, the VA will determine the correct percentage of benefits. 

For additional information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill and how to apply, call a VA counselor at 1-800-827-1000 or visit www.gibill.va.gov.  Additionally, the Veterans Service Office for the Lone Star College System can be reached at 832-813-6574 or 832-813-6651. Contact the financial aid office at LSC-Kingwood at 281-312-1624.