According to the VA, the system updates needed to implement the Post-9/11 GI Bill (known as GI Bill 2.0) are on track to hit the August and October deadlines. However, there are at least three bills in Congress which would change these changes. (See below for a list of pending changes)
The most promising of these bills, H.R. 1383, the Restoring GI Bill Fairness Act of 2011, was passed quickly by the House, but is currently awaiting action by the Senate. If passed, 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.
HR 1383 and the Senate version (S.745 – offered by Sen, Chuck Shumer (D-NY)) would add back in the “hold no harm” element to the law, which was removed during the mark-up process last year. The Shumer version of this bill was recently passed by the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee and is now back to the Senate. A vote was not yet scheduled at the time of this update.
Another bill, H.R. 2002, would expand Post-9/11 GI Bill Transferability to cover those who have been retired due to disability or medical reasons and allows retirees to make the transfer within 36 months of their retirement. This bill was referred to subcommittee on June 24, 2011.
Unfortunately, the Post 9/11 GI Bill Payment Restoration Act (HR 1451), is not getting any traction in the Congress. Introduced by Representative Susan Davis (D-CA), on April 8, 2011, the bill would repeal the portion of the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Improvements Act of 2010 and in effect reinstate the “interval pay” or living expense stipends paid during school breaks. This bill would affect the greatest number of veterans, however, it appears to have stalled in Committee in late April.
Here is a quick summary of the pending Post-9/11 GI Bill changes include the following:
- New $17,500 annual tuition rate limits for private or foreign school – Effective August 1, 2011.
- Transferability expanded to include NOAA and PHS personnel – Effective August 1, 2011
- Book stipend for students on active duty (and their eligible spouses).- Effective October 1, 2011.
- Prorated housing stipend for students enrolled at less than full-time – Effective August 1, 2011.
- No payments during school breaks – The VA will no longer pay “interval pay.”
- Multiple Licensing, Certification and National Placement Exams will be reimbursable – Effective August 1, 2011.
- Expanded Vocation Training opportunities for vets seeking Non-college degree (NCD) programs; On-the-job and apprenticeship training; Flight programs; and Correspondence training – Effective October 1, 2011.
- New Voc-Rehab stipend options for Vocational Rehabilitation participants. – Effective August 1, 2011.