Stabenow, Colleagues Pass 21st Century GI Bill to Provide our Nation's Newest Veterans a Quality, Affordable Education
U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) today announced Senate passage of the Supplemental Appropriations bill, which includes provision based on the Post 9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act, S.22. This 21st Century G.I. bill would closely resemble the benefits provided to World War II veterans under the original G.I. Bill of Rights. The full bill will now go back to the House of Representatives for consideration.
"Our state is the proud home to over 760,000 brave men and women who have worn the uniform in defense of our country - and thousands more are currently serving in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan," said Stabenow. "When they joined the military, they put their lives on the line in service to our country. At the same time, we promised these heroes that they would be treated with respect and dignity. That's what the 21st Century G.I. Bill is all about."
The 21st Century G.I. Bill will not only provide veterans with access to a quality, affordable education, but will also serve to ease the transition from military to civilian life as well as stimulate the economy. The original G.I. Bill sparked economic growth and expansion that lasted for a generation.
Veterans of the Guard and Reserve will receive equal benefits for their active duty service, a necessary provision as the Guard and Reserve take on more and more deployments and combat tours. The bipartisan legislation is strongly supported by leading veterans' service organizations, including the Veterans of Foreign Wars, The American Legion, the Military Officers' Association of American, and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.
Specifically, the bill will:
Provide increased educational benefits to all members of the military who have served on active duty for at least three months since September 11, 2001.
Offer educational assistance in proportion to the total length of active duty service on or after 9/11, from three to 36 months, to provide maximum benefit of the cost of any in-state public school's tuition and fees for four academic years.
Create a new program in which the government would match any additional contributions to veterans from colleagues and universities whose tuition is more expensive than the maximum assistance provided.
Allow veterans up to fifteen years after they leave active duty to use their educational assistance benefit, rather than ten years currently provided under the Montgomery G.I. program.