Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4) helped pass legislation that will make it easier for veterans to use the 9/11 GI Bill. The Post 9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Improvements Act (S.3447) expands access to non-tuition education assistance and extends the program to veterans seeking training that will place them directly in the work force.
"The men and women who serve our country were willing to sacrifice everything to keep us safe, and the least we can do is eliminate unnecessary or unfair barriers that prevent them from accessing the benefits they have rightfully earned," said Himes. "Academic study coupled with the skills these individuals have already developed will give them the background to become leaders in their own communities and workplaces."
The bill streamlines the 9/11 GI Bill and makes the program more equitable by expanding access to the program and covering additional, often cost-prohibitive expenses. Improvements include:
* Expanding opportunities for training and education, covering vocational and technical schools, apprenticeships, and on the job training that were not previously covered.
* Giving active duty students a book stipend of $1,000 per year, the same amount offered to veterans under the program.
* Providing living allowances for distance learners, including injured veterans forced to take online classes.
* Simplifying the Yellow Ribbon Program for veterans attending private colleges and universities and taking graduate courses, eliminating the confusing state cap system, and setting a $17,500 per year cap for tuition and fees.
* Granting full credit to National Guardsmen, including those called up to respond to national disasters like Hurricane Katrina or the BP oil spill, making more than 130,000 eligible for this education benefit.
Himes has aggressively supported efforts to improve access to the benefits veterans earned serving our country. He has helped pass legislation to strengthen the economy for veterans, make historic investments in veterans services and health care, increase military pay, and strengthen support for military families.
This legislation is supported by a range of veterans organizations, including the American Legion, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Disabled American Veterans, Military Officers Association of America, National Guard Association, National Association of Uniformed Services, and Student Veterans of America.