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GI Bill Overview

President Franklin D. Roosevelt first enacted the GI Bill on June 22, 1944. The original bill had a provision for veterans to receive low interest, zero down payment loans, a 52/20 clause giving released servicemen $20.00 a week for 52 weeks while they were looking for work and assistance to pursue vocational training or higher education. The 1944 GI Bill was followed by subsequent changes to the original GI Bill in 1952, 1966 and 1972. In 1973 the United States moved to an all-volunteer military. With this came the introduction of the Veterans Educational Assistance Program (Chapter 32) (VEAP), which introduced the idea of requiring participants to make contributions towards their educational benefits. For every dollar a serviceman placed into the educational fund the VA would match their contributions 2 to 1.

In 1984 the GI Bill was revamped again under the direction of Gillespie “Sonny” Montgomery. Known as the Montgomery GI Bill-Active Duty (Chapter 30) (MGBI), this bill was the successor of the original GI Bill but with a twist. Under MGIB active duty personnel pay $100 a month for 12 months during their active duty to receive a substantially greater amount that can be used for education or training after they leave service. Additionally, the "$600 Buy-Up" allows active duty members to optionally contribute up to $600 to their MGIB entitlement. Once the $600 contribution is made, the monthly benefit increases by $150 each month for 36 months, equalling $5,400 of additional educational benefits. MGIB offers 36 months worth of benefits and can be used up to ten years after leaving service with an honorable discharge.

In 2008 Congress passed the Post-9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33) expanding benefits for servicemen/women who have served since September 2001. Under the Post-9/11 GI Bill educational benefits were expanded to include housing allowances and book stipends among other things. In 2010 the government passed yet another Post-9/11 Veterans Education Assistance Improvements Act of 2010 (GI Bill 2.0). GI Bill 2.0 extends eligibility to members of the National Guard. At the same time GI Bill 2.0 caps annual tuition and fees coverage to Veterans attending private and foreign universities and removes interval pay (lowering) the housing allowance available to Veterans. GI Bill 2.0 will also remove the state-by-state tuition caps. Most of the changes for GI 2.O go into effect August and October of 2011.

Because servicemen may be eligible for provisions under the Montgomery GI Bill, REAP and the Post 9/11 GI Bill and may be effected by the coming changes of GI Bill 2.0 it is very important to seek vocational and/or career counseling before leaving service. The needs of each individual are unique and how, when and where you use your GI Bill benefits can be substantially impacted by all the requirements and clauses in Montgomery, REAP, Post 9/11 and GI Bill 2.0.

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