In mid-December, Congress passed a sweeping veteran legislation bill which in part will include several GI Bill and education-related changes. Because an education is so valuable in crafting your career, it’s important to watch any and all updates made to the GI Bill. With a finite number of GI Bill months of entitlement, it’s important to conserve and calculate what you need in order to squeeze every dime out of your benefits.
5 Education Benefits Updates from GI Bill Legislation
Here are five of the educated-related benefits from the legislation, known as the Johnny Isakson and David P. Roe, M.D. Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvements Act of 2020, that will have the most impact on veteran education.
1. Pandemic-Related Loss of Benefit Protection
Students who withdraw from classes or a school due to pandemic-related causes would not lose their GI Bill eligibility. Nor would they lose benefits if a school suspends classes or closes entirely because of the pandemic.
2. In-State Tuition
Right now, VA-approved schools must charge non-resident veteran students that have been out less than three years the in-state tuition rate. But after the three years are up, the schools can charge non-resident veteran students outstate tuition. The change in this bill would force schools to charge non-resident students the in-state tuition rate regardless of when they got out of the military.
3. MGIB-AD Time Limit Extension
As you know, the Montgomery GI Bill-Active Duty has a delimitation date which is 10-year from date of discharge; after that date, it is no longer valid for use. This legislation eliminates the 10-year time limit.
4. Phase Out of the Montgomery GI Bill
Speaking of the MGIB-AD, enlistees who choose the Montgomery GI Bill-Active Duty (MGIB-AD) are charged $1,200 for that education benefit. However, the MGIB-AD has been largely overshadowed by the Post 9/11 GI Bill which is free just for serving. And in most cases, the Post 9/11 GI Bill provides better benefits then the fee-based MGIB-AD. In a study last year, the VA found that only 22,000 military members used the MGIB-AD compared with the 714,000 that used the Post 9/11 GI Bill. As a result of this legislation, the MGIB-AD it would be totally phased out as an option by 2030.
5. Expanded Funding for the VET TEC program
Included in the legislation is expanded funding for the VET TEC program. VET TEC is a program aimed to help veterans getting out increase their technology skills, so they are more marketable in the civilian marketplace. The Program budget was originally set at $15 million, but under the change funding would expand to $45 million.
Other Key GI Bill Updates
Other parts of this legislation offer various protections to veterans from predatory school practices and moves the VA overpayment debt collection process from the veteran to the school. The legislation easily passed both the House and Senate and is expected to be signed into law by the President.