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Senate Passes GI Bill for Today's Soldiers

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Senate Passes GI Bill for Today's Soldiers

McCaskill votes to expand educational benefits for military men and women

U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill today voted with her colleagues in the Senate to overwhelmingly pass legislation that will expand educational benefits for today's soldiers, similar to the benefits provided to America's "Greatest Generation" under World War II's "GI Bill." The bipartisan Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act (S.22), which passed with a vote of 75-22, will provide those who have served in the military since September 11, 2001, an opportunity to pursue a higher education. McCaskill co-sponsored the bill.

"The GI Bill of World War II lifted up an entire generation of soldiers - including my father - by giving them the opportunity to receive a higher education. This generation of soldiers has served every bit as bravely as those of World War II, and they deserve the benefits and educational opportunities provided 60 years ago; I feel strongly that my dad would have agreed," McCaskill said.

During World War II, Congress established educational assistance for veterans under the first "GI Bill". With the benefits provided under this law, 7.8 million veterans received additional education, rapidly boosting the number of Americans pursuing higher education and generating seven dollars in the economy for every dollar invested in the veterans. Since World War II, Congress has passed new GI bills to give benefits to military servicemembers but none were as extensive or as generous as the original and most were designed to provide a benefit for peacetime service as opposed to wartime service.

McCaskill says the legislation passed today is particularly important because it will help the men and women who have served in our military readjust to civilian life and have the education they need to succeed outside the military, while rewarding their years of service to their country.

Summary of the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act (S.22):

* Benefits provided under the bill would allow veterans pursuing an approved program of education to receive payments covering the established charges of their programs, up to the cost of the most expensive in-state public school, plus a monthly stipend equivalent to housing costs in their area. The bill would allow additional payments for tutorial assistance, as well as licensure and certification tests.

* Increased educational benefits would be available to all members of the military who have served on active duty since September 11, 2001, including activated reservists and National Guard. To qualify, veterans must have served at least three to thirty-six months of qualified active duty, beginning on or after September 11, 2001.

* The bill provides for educational benefits to be paid in amounts linked to the amount of active duty served in the military after 9/11. Generally, veterans would receive some amount of assistance proportional to their service. Veterans would receive the benefits during their time in school, up to 36 months of benefits, which equals four academic years. Veterans would also still be eligible to receive any incentive-based supplemental educational assistance from their military branch for which they quality.

* Veterans would have up to fifteen years after they leave active duty to use their educational assistance entitlement. Veterans would be barred from receiving concurrent assistance from this program and another similar program.

* The bill would create a new program in which the government will agree to match, dollar for dollar, any voluntary additional contributions to veterans from institutions whose tuition is more expensive than the maximum educational assistance provided under S. 22.

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