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Owens Praises New Education Benefits for Veterans


Location: Fort Drum, NY

FORT DRUM -- Congressman Bill Owens today praised provisions of the post-9/11 G.I. Bill that allow American military veterans more opportunity and choice as they pursue a higher level of education or training. As of this month, veterans under the post-9/11 G.I. Bill can use benefits to attend non-traditional institutions as well as colleges and universities.

"With these expansions to the post-9/11 G.I. bill, we can help returning service members transition more quickly into private sector jobs while giving them every opportunity to remain in Northern and Central New York," said Owens. "With nearly 3.2 million unfilled jobs across the country, the training provided by these benefits will help us put America's heroes back to work."

Effective October 1st, veterans will be eligible for post-9/11 G.I. Bill benefits to cover non-college degree programs, on-the-job and apprenticeship training, flight schools, and correspondence programs. Additionally, active duty members will now receive a stipend for books and supplies, and National Guard members mobilized on or after September 11th, 2001 are now eligible for the post-9/11 G.I. Bill.

"As a veteran, I applaud the bipartisan work that has been done to provide the opportunities and benefits that American troops have earned," Owens added.

Expanded benefits include:

* Expanded education opportunity for veterans -- Veterans eligible for the post-9/11 G.I. Bill will now be able to use benefits to participate in the following programs, effective October 1, 2011:

o Non-college degree programs: Expanded benefits with pay the actual net cost for in-state tuition and fees at public, non-college degree institutions. For foreign or private institutions, the program will pay the actual net costs for in-state tuition and fees or $17,500, whichever is less. The benefits will also cover a limited stipend for books and supplies

o On-the-job and apprenticeship training: The post-9/11 G.I. Bill will pay a monthly benefit, based on time in the program, to supplement the salaries of certain veterans engaged in apprenticeships or on the job training. In conjunction with the national "Helmets to Hardhats" program, this provision of the G.I. Bill aims to connect veterans with quality construction jobs.

o Flight programs: The new programs will cover the net cost for in-state tuition and fees assessed by a flight school, up to $10,000.

o Distance Learning: Under the new programs, the actual net costs for in-state tuition and fees for correspondence training (up to $8,500) are covered.

* National Guard Eligibility -- The post-9/11 G.I. Bill recognizes the sacrifices made by National Guard members, as well as active duty service members, who were mobilized on Title 32 orders on-or-after September 11, 2001 by increasing their eligibility for the post-9/11 GI Bill.

* Housing Allowance for distance learners - The new benefits include a housing allowance for students enrolled solely in distance learning or online education, based on the number of credit hours they undertake.

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