Changes Made to Post-9/11 GI Bill

The Department of Veterans Affairs characterized the changes in the education benefits as “streamlining.” President Barrack Obama signed it into law Tuesday. The new legislation (Post-9/11 Veterans Education Assistance Improvements Act of 2010) allows for coverage of many non-college programs, offers book stipends and gives Reservists and Guardsmen credit for state service.

Here are some of the new provisions identified by the VA in a press release:

·         Paying for on-the-job training, some flight training; apprenticeship training and correspondence courses;

·         Allowing reservists and Guardsmen to have their time supporting emergencies called by their state governors credited to the time needed to qualify for educational benefits;

·         Providing one half of the national average for the program’s housing allowance to students enrolled in distance learning;

·         Pro-rating the housing allowance to exclude payments when students are not in class;

·         Allowing students on active duty receive the stipend for books and supplies;

·         Allowing people eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill, but participating in VA’s Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) benefits to choose between the GI Bill’s housing allowance or VR&E’s subsistence allowance;

·         Permitting reimbursement for more than one “license and certification” test; 

·         Reimbursing fees to take national admission tests, such as SAT, ACT, GMAT and LSAT; and

·         Establishing a national cap of $17,500 annually for tuition and fees in a private or a foreign school, not including contributions by educational institutions under the “Yellow Ribbon” program.

You can get the dates when the changes take effect and more detail here.


Military Child of the Year – Nominations Anyone?

Willie Banks is Operation Homefront's 2010 Military Child of the Year. Photo courtesy U.S. Army.

Do you know a child of a military family who is doing extraordinary things, volunteering, excelling at school, helping at home and in the community? Do you know a child showing incredible resilience and leadership while having a parent or parents on deployment?

Then, Operation Homefront wants you to nominate that child for its 2011 Military Child of the Year Award. The winners will receive $5,000 and be flown to Washington D.C. with a parent or guardian for a ceremony on April 7, 2011.

This is the third year for the award. Previously, only one child was selected to represent all military branches. The award has been expanded so this year one child each will be selected from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. The five winners will be selected by Operation Homefront staff members and volunteer service members and spouses.

Last year’s winner, 10-year-old Willie Banks, helped to care for his younger sister when his mother deployed to Iraq. His father, an Army major, died when Willie was a toddler. He also volunteers at church, school and on the athletic field.

The 2009 winner, Brittany Wallace took the title. When her father was severely injured in Iraq, Brittany took over as head of the household while her mother tended to his rehabilitation. Brittany, who was 17 at the time, took care of her two younger siblings, cleaned the house and made meals –- all while keeping up her grades at school.

Nominees must have:
• Must have valid military ID or currently be enrolled in DEERS
• Must be between the ages of 8-18
• Must be able to travel to Washington, D.C. for the ceremony on April 7, 2011

Deadline for nominations is Jan. 31 which can be submitted online. Click here to nominate a child.

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