Proposed GI Bill Fix Falls Short

When the original Post-9/11 GI Bill (let’s call it the beta version) was released, many of us noted some glaring problems, especially in the area of fairness. Last year Congress passed a fix (call it GI Bill 2.0) which was supposed to remove the inequities of the Post-9/11 GI Bill (beta version). But it didn’t take long to see that the fix will cause more harm to some vets than the original. In particular, the new $17,500 a year tuition cap, which could force currently enrolled veteran students to go deeper in debt to cover the higher tuition costs of some privately operated universities.

In an attempt to shield vets from possible financial hardship, Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL) has introduced a patch – H.R. 1383, the Restoring GI Bill Fairness Act of 2011(let’s call it GI Bill 2.1). H.R. 1383 will temporarily authorize the VA to cover the tuition and fees for veterans attending non-public education and training institutions that have tuition and fees which exceed $17,500 a year. This latest patch, which was called the “hold no harm” clause, was originally included in the House version of GI Bill 2.0, but didn’t make it to the final version.

The Trade-Off – Unfortunately, there is a catch, to pay for this fix the housing stipends will not increase with the basic allowance for housing rate (BAH)  for two years. This “pay as you go” budget requirement will not take away any benefits; it will simply freeze the housing stipends at their 2011 levels.

Miller’s bill is a step in the right direction; however, what about those students who are currently enrolled as non-residents in publicly-operated schools who will see their tuition payment limited to the in-state “resident” rates? They are exposed to as big a financial hit as vets enrolled in high-cost privately operated schools. Where is their “hold no harm” clause? Maybe in GI Bill 2.2?

Be sure to contact your elected officials and let them know how you feel about this bill or any other proposals that could improve the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

About the Author

Terry Howell
Before becoming the Managing Editor for Military.com, Terry served 20 years in the U.S. Coast Guard as an Aviation Electrician’s Mate and aircrewman. In his final role in the Coast Guard, Terry served as a Career Development Advisor, where he provided career, finance, education, and benefits counseling to servicemembers and their families. Since retiring from the Coast Guard, Terry has authored the book, The Military Advantage, managed the content for TurboTap, the DoD's online transition program and VAforVets, the VA's transition assistance website. Terry earned both his Bachelor's and MBA at Corban University using Military Tuition Assistance and his GI Bill benefits to help cover the cost.

27 Comments on "Proposed GI Bill Fix Falls Short"

  1. Have we forgotten that our vets take care of us? When is ANYBODY gonna remember that?I'm glad I'm old and sick; cause when I was growing up the bad guys where VIET NAM vets, now all vets are getting it in the rear! I'm married to a Viet Nam vet whose still trying to get his, and I'm just Damn sick of VBA and everything to do with it! Veterans do all the sacrificing and come home to merde! It's a sin and a shame the way vets are treated, I don't care what your MOS is, you're still getting lied to when inducted, and lied to when you get out. It's no wonder that so many vets are homeless on the streets, they get their little money and don't want anyone bothering them, they've been lied to enough. SHAME! SHAME! SHAME!

  2. I am active duty and plan on retiring in a few months after 23years of service. I have served in combat for the last 10 of those years in Iraq and Afg disposing IEDs. I am lucky to still be alive -while I am still here on this earth, I am ready to go to school full time and pursue my lifelong dream of becoming an Electrical Engineer. The school I have planned on attending for the last 5 years is private, but I would be able to attend with the current GI Bill "Beta" rules -as promised. Now that GI Bill 2.0 is coming out (the 2.1 fix won't help me as I understand it), I am hearing that I will have to take on mounds of debt because it isn't fair? This was promised to me. I think that if a student is accepted to a top notch university on the merits of the their academic record attending night school while active duty, they should be allowed to recieve the promised "beta" rates. It just so happens that as I prepare to retire and attend fall 2011 classes, this is when the new "benificial changes" go into effect. This defaults on what was promised and is wrong.

  3. If the "non-residents" are 100% Post 9/11 GI bill eligibl, they can use the Yellow Ribbon Program, providing their school has a Yellow Ribbon agreement with the VA. Otherwise, they are up the creek.

    Ron

  4. roy morris | April 14, 2011 at 7:21 pm |

    I am a medically retired Army vet. I was injured in Iraq in 2006 and discharged in 2007. I worked as a mechanic for about a year when I was discharged to support my wife and my son. When the post 9/11GI Bill was proposed to me, I was able to attend a private college in NY and was promised that tuition would be paid for including BAH for semester breaks. With this information, I quit my job and started attending college full time. It is very hard to work 40 hrs./week and attend full time college and expect to do well. Now that the gi bill is changing, my breaks won’t be paid for and I may have to finish my education elsewhere. What’s worse is that my old job isn’t looking to hire anymore. I don’t want more than what I was promised, I only want what was promised before I quit my job. If I don’t quit school and find a job before the August changes, I wont be able to pay my rent or feed my son during the breaks in between semesters. Nobody will hire me for 3weeks at a time. I feel a little betrayed, but that’s what I get for not having a back up plan where the gov. Plan fell through. Live and learn I guess. When I promised 5 years of loyal service, I held up my end of the bargain.

  5. Speechless | April 15, 2011 at 9:17 am |

    I truly do not understanding the complaint. The opportunity to attend most universities and pay nothing out of pocket and receive a stipend is incredible. I am a disabled Army Veteran of the Desert Storm/Shield and the daughter of a Vietnam Vet. I used the GI Bill which is less than half of what is being offered today to complete my degree. If you choose to attend a school whose tuition exceeds $17,000 a year you should pay the additional cost. I don't know if you've noticed but the economy isn't doing too hot. State employees are being forced to take days off without pay, federal employees face the possibility of furlough and will not receive cost of living raises for 2 – 5 years and there’s legislation being introduced to cut funding of programs for homeless Veterans but GI Bill payments should be higher?

  6. For someone who is speechless, you have a lot to say. If someone is promised a certain opportunity and in order to take advantage, he/she will have to forfeit their current job, the opportunity needs to be fulfilled. Otherwise, it is not an opportunity, it feels more like getting screwed.

  7. Speechless | April 15, 2011 at 4:32 pm |

    We are forced to pay Social Security so that the elderly can retire with the promise it will be there when we retire. Doesn’t look like the government will be keeping that promise either and that affects many more people. Yes it sucks! But for the government to keep handing out money it doesn’t have is irresponsible and the reason the economy is a mess.

  8. Those vets whoh served and are elgibile for 100% of the new GI Bill still can't transfer those benefits to the dependents. Why? At 100% they should be able to transfer their benefits to their spouse or unmarried dependents under the age of 26. Why are they being denied the right to do so?

  9. I remember the huge rip-offs by for profit diploma mills in the Vietnam era VA education program. Anybody remember how George Shinn made his millions? How is this current program addressing that risk?

  10. Dave in Calif | April 19, 2011 at 10:33 am |

    Crimany, some of y'all are sounding like democrats, where is mine, oh where is mine…me, me, me…When I got back from nam I had a family to support so I worked, then started night school, yep got GI bill for several years and went to a community college, way less expensive, then….20 years later I figured out how to go to a day time university, transferred my community college classes [wife and I foot the bill(s) on this venture] and finished up 2000 with my masters. No whining just work. Where there is will, there is a way. However, that being said, I feel for you, hang in fellow vets!
    Dave

  11. Ron

    As like the others mentioned, your good!

    I’m currently attending Embry-Riddle University.

    FL. 1 class is $1300… fl caps out at $880, yellow ribbon from

    The school picks up $210 and va Picks up the other$210.

  12. I don't know about everyone else, but as far as our vets and their families are concerned I don't think we can give them enough!!!! If there is more to give then it should be given!!!!!! I don't think it's entitlement issues and don't think people are "whining" I think they're voicing opinions on how to make things even better for our vets. That being said, I'm gonna "whine" and "beg for more" right now. The VA education benefit cap needs to be addressed. Right now it's 48 months of benefits regardless of how many "Bills" the veterans' service qualifies them for they can only get benefits for 48 months total. This means even under the POST 9/11 bill (which required service after 9/11) can not be used/transferred to a dependent if a veteran/soldier used the Montgomery GI Bill for his own education. What good is a transferable bill if it can't be used for the full 48 months to provide benefits? I say if the soldier had to serve a certain mission/time of service to qualify for the benefit then it needs to start over so it can be effective and beneficial to his family. Never forget the families of vets sacrifice a lot too.

  13. Alan Monte de Ramos | April 19, 2011 at 1:33 pm |

    The post 911 GI bill allows active duty personnel to transfer their benifits to their dependent but those who have seperated and are not on active duty dont have that option. Those that have served and were put on stop lose that were not enrolled in the GI Bill what so ever but are elgible under the post 911 GI bill dont have the same options as those on active duty that still have the normal GI Bill and can use the Post 911 GI bill for there dependent while using their GI Bill to go to school themselves. Something doesnt fell right about that. What I read was this was used as an incentive to keep those personnel on active duty. Where is the fairness in this didnt we all fight the same war. Now it seems that we have to fight congress to make things right when it was them that screwed it up in the first place.

  14. taskforcesmith | April 19, 2011 at 2:27 pm |

    Well Put Ron. BAH did cover for breaks up until this coming August that is. Now students will not be aid between the semesters. I see their concern as many did stop working to go to school full time now they are in a crunch as I also do not believe it is fair. But they just need to sit down and do a budget and figure out if it is possible to do a student loan or so forth to cover those weeks. Good luck everyone and I pray you do see the government is helping you a great deal, I know promises are promises but havent you ever revised a promise after you saw the impact??

  15. Spec4Brite | April 19, 2011 at 2:29 pm |

    At least y'all are getting GI Bill benefits… They lost my PAYMENTS into my GI Bill, so I never got to use it. And the VA? Oh… I'm not disabled enough…

  16. Can anyone tell me where I stand. My husband is eleigible under the Post 9/11 GI Bill. He served 18 months in Iraq, and is deploying again in ovember to Afghanistan. He is due to retire in 2012. Can he transfer the benefits to my daughter who starts college in the Fall without signing on for another year or 3 years ??? I cannot get a human voice anywhere to answer this question.
    Thanks for any information you can give me.

  17. Randy Owen | April 19, 2011 at 3:59 pm |

    I don't know the exact figures, but my VEAP I received for service from 80 to 84 was only 8100.00. It covered 48 months, period. (I did get 900 more through Montgomery GI bill, for additional time in national guard) All I can say is, state universities teach the same things the private ones do, so why go to the expensive one? And don't forget, (something my HS councilor forgot to mention) it is possible to attend college with pell grants, work study, SEOG, subsidized loans, and Scholarships. Also Americorps can help.
    My nephew is attending somewhere on post 9/11 and I think he spent more time in college then me.

  18. When will someone address the retraining/reeducation needs of older Vet's! I didn't use my GI Bill (HDischarge Nov 1977) and now that I need to get reeducated so that I can still compete in the job market, I don't get squat. I'm not alone… I share this plight with many Vet's who went to work right after their discharge from active duty and had to support a family so never got around to using their education benefit! If we serve, why can't we decide when to use our ten years of education benefits? Why are we penalized for working our A$$ off when we get out and then again when technology exceeds our training and we have to go back to school to match our knowledge with the job criteria? We served our country to ensure their freedoms but our country doesn't want to give us the freedom to decide when we need use our GI Education Benefit! It is WRONG and this is what should be drafted into one of these Bills!

  19. Nograduation | April 19, 2011 at 5:06 pm |

    I was told I could use mine, come to find out 30 years later I could have. I was given the wrong information and I have lost all educational benefits. I was njured in service before finishing boot camp because of a Medical Staff Sergent orders, and lack of logic, and her medical training (lack of it). Then she told me I wasn't eligible for anything. There is so much wrong information given to the veterans. When one tries to correct information they are told can't be corrected. Even with proof!!!!

  20. I just recently tried to use my Montgomery GI bill. I was told it was only good to use 10 years after my ETS date… Which was in 1993… so in 2003 when I too needed a College education to keep up with Technology in it was not available to me. Today I finally committed to a 2-4 year college run, and tried one more time to use the GI Bill. And gain in Dec 2010 I was told the same thing. I should have used it before 2003..

  21. The ten year deal was brought in with no anoucement to rob vets of something they earned,if I was told when I entered the was a time limited I would not have reenlisted,when I got out my priority was to feed and house my family.I did get my degree but paid for it myself,the government in general only cares while you are serving,once you get out you get half bake medical and all the crumbs they do not want!! Mean while they get every first class benfit I say let them fight their wars and you'll see has fast that tune changes! Were is the VFW and DVA on this giving a award to the president for robbing us of our benfits!!!

  22. Air Force Nurse | April 20, 2011 at 12:02 am |

    As it stands today, there is a maximum of 48 months of benefits at the full time rate total. Well I say that needs to be changed. I say a Bill needs to be passed adding an additional 12 months of benefits to all eligible parties. It is only fair I think. 60 months of benefits is what I ask for.

  23. Drew ex-navy | April 20, 2011 at 3:59 am |

    You know what…. I think that if you whine…. you don't deserve it! Yes, I agree that congress shouldn't be able to chnage the rules right in the middle of it all, but if you go to your school and ask them what they can do it helps. I have friends that work to pay for their school and some even with kids of their own. Nobody said bettering yourself was easy or cheap. So take the lumps and dust yourself off. Then make sure you find the right person, ask the tough questions, and do it with a smile cause life is too short.

  24. We're lucky we get anything.

    It's too bad that for as much time as the military invests in survival and self-sufficiency training, most veterans are more concerned with trying to milk the system dry than they are with trying to use the skills they were taught.

    Semper.
    Iraq Vet

  25. CPT Russell Kirby | April 20, 2011 at 4:34 pm |

    I started out with a Bachelors degree when I enlisted. When I became an officer I completed my Masters of Science degree in 111 days, working 2 days a week and taking 5 graduate courses at once for two semesters. It only cost me $11,000 out of my own pocket. I'm still paying for it after retirement. It's like going into a gambling casino they (the Army) always come out way ahead. Give the rest of my GI Bill to someone that can use it.

    CPT Kirby

  26. Fortune Flores | May 12, 2011 at 6:14 pm |

    You guys need to know that us older vets have to borrow loads of money just to go to school and run up a huge debt. The unfairness of it all is the 10 year cutoff date to use it. I volunteered during the Vietnam War and could have been injured or worse. I tell you it sucks….period!

  27. army VET 19k | February 13, 2012 at 9:25 pm |

    I had to transfer school because of the changes, they paid all at my old schoola year later they changed it so i had to paid 2,000 out of pocket. i know thats good for most but i joined the army so that they would pay for all of college.

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