New law expands GI bill for veteran students

By Krista Brooks

Published Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2011 – The Daily 49er

http://www.daily49er.com/news/new-law-expands-gi-bill-for-veteran-students-1.2654922#.TqtCfLLa6uI

Legislation that will expand a post-9/11 GI bill to accommodate veterans in pursuit of vocational training and other non-degree job training programs passed this month.

Dubbed “The Bill of all Trades,” this new measure helps veterans pay for schooling and housing, even allowing them to transfer its benefits to an immediate family member if they are injured on duty

For Karen Le, a first-year bio-chemistry major, the bill will help ease her stress.

“The GI Bill will help pay for my rent and allow me to focus more on school, rather than looking for a job,” Le said. “I went to boot camp directly out of high school and I haven’t been in school for three years. I need as much time to study for my major as I can get.”

The post-9/11 GI Bill has provided benefits to more than 558,000 veterans and family members, including tax credits for business, ranging from $5,600- $9,600, in order to encourage hiring of unemployed veterans.

The bill also helps support students financially as they transitions from military training to higher education or job training.

A major change to the bill was the amount of money issued to veterans.

The policy previously varied between states but is now capped at $17,500.

The GI Bill is also now a “final pay” source for veterans. That means if a veteran receives money from other scholarships or the state, those will be used before money from the GI Bill.

The Veteran Affairs Service on campus will determine when GI Bill money is used to pay a veteran’s tuition.

Cal State Long Beach Veteran Affairs Service Director Marshall W. Thomas applauds the new changes.

Thomas believes allowing the campus’ Veterans Affairs Services office to calculate when veteran’s need to use GI Bill money will lead to more accuracy.

Thomas will hold a Vet Net Ally Program for faculty and staff on Friday to educate those interested about veterans’ life.

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