Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that starting August 1, 2009, an estimated 2.1 million members of the military who have served on active duty since September 11, 2001, including activated reservists and members of the National Guard, will be eligible for up to four years of education benefits, including stipends for housing and books.
Last year, Congress enacted Public Law 110-252, which contains the new GI Bill for the 21st Century (the “Post-9/11 GI Bill”) to restore the promise of a full, four-year college education for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, making them part of the economic recovery. On May 1st, veterans were able to start applying for a certificate of eligibility for the new college benefits at the VA website (https://www.gibill.va.gov/). And this year, Congress extended those college benefits to all children of fallen soldiers, with no minimum military service needed to qualify.
“I want to thank the Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, Mr. Bob Filner, for his leadership on this issue and for continuing to look out for the needs of our veterans. We have a responsibility to serve those who bravely served us, and this full college education benefit for recent veterans will expand job opportunities for them, and strengthen our economy. I am proud that Republicans and Democrats were able to come together on this key veterans issue. This year, we were able to extend these benefits to all children of fallen services members after 9/11; who could be more deserving of our support than children whose moms or dads have died in military service to our nation?” Faleomavaega said.
Generally, this new GI Bill provides up to four years of education benefits at a college or university for individuals with at least 90 days of active duty service on or after September 11, 2001 who have been honorably discharged from service. The benefits are correlated on a sliding scale to the total months served and to receive full benefits, you must have served on active duty for three years. This program will pay for:
- tuition and fees of up to the maximum in-state tuition and fees at a public institution in your state;
- a monthly housing allowance at the location of the school, based on the Basic Allowance for Housing for an E-5 with dependents; and
- an annual books and supplies stipend of up to $1,000.
These benefits are generally payable for up to 15 years following release from active duty.
“This measure is the least we can do for our men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the defense of this nation. All of the children of service members who have died on active duty since 9-11-01 qualify for the full education benefit, regardless of the length of military service of their parent; these benefits expire 15 years after the 18th birthday of surviving military children,” Faleomavaega added.
“May God continue to bless the men and women of American Samoa and this great nation of the United States who have served, and are currently serving in the U.S. Armed Forces,” Faleomavaega concluded.