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GI Bill changes affect online students

On August 1, 2011, several provisions of the GI Bill will change. One of the biggest changes will benefit students taking only online courses by allowing them to receive a living stipend equal to half of the national average. Previously, students enrolled in online classes (also known as "distance learning") could not receive any stipend.

Other changes will affect tuition payments and interval pay (also called "break pay") for all students. This is a stipend that covers living expenses between the fall and spring semesters.

Congress made changes to the GI Bill of 2008 to expand opportunities for veterans to receive educational benefits by helping with their tuition, but many people have expressed concerns about the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Improvements Act of 2010 because it created a nationwide maximum reimbursement rate for private institutions. The change was meant to make scholarships more equitable, but it may affect some students currently enrolled in more expensive private schools.

Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has introduced legislation which would protect veterans currently enrolled from seeing cuts to their benefits.

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