Veteran GI bill discussions begin

Jesse Carruthers/The News

Samantha Villanueva
Staff writer

Beginning this past October, the children or the spouse of the country’s veterans have received another step in planning their educational futures.

Started in August 2009, the Post-9/11 GI Bill was a new initiative from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, geared toward aiding veterans once they return from combat. The proposal for the bill was brought up after the September 11, 2001 attacks, as part of a long list of new programs, such as the Yellow Ribbon program.

Recipients of the bill will have the advantages of all online classes and a reasonable housing allowance. One of the benefits that came up in October of this year is the ability for veterans to give the assistance to a member of their immediate family.

Alexandra Dietz, assistant registrar for veteran and military services at the University, said participants of this newly added benefit must meet a certain level of criteria.

“This is specifically for veterans of war and their family members,” she said. “Now a veteran is someone who has been on active days for a minimum of at least 90 days after the date of September 10, 2011.”

More requirements, besides the 90-day minimum, go into actually being considered for the program. One of those requirements is a long service in active duty.

“In order to be fully-covered or considered, however you wish to take it, they would had have to been in combat for about three years or so in an area of war such as Iraq or Afghanistan,” Dietz said.

Murray State students have benefitted from similar GI programs since its beginning but recentl new benefits have been added to help supplement assistance to more than just the veterans themselves.

“With just the revisions we have made in October, the families of our veterans also have more focus and attention to their education as well,” she said. “With this new benefit, the veterans can have either their spouse or children receive the help to pursue educational advances,” Dietz said.

The assistance amount actually depends on a wide range of criteria and can vary in amounts, she said.

“How much they receive really depend on their situation,” she said. “It varies on what exactly they are eligible to receive.”

When it comes to what the students will have assistance in paying, Ditez said the amount will cover the basic tuition costs and some other school fees that students may have.

“What they can use the money to pay off, or what they can be certain will be paid off is the basic tuition and some other various fees paid,” she said. “Those other fees include a book stipend to cover their books and a reasonable housing allowance.”

Prior to the October addition of new benefits, spouses of veterans who stood in line to receive the assistance did not have the help of the book stipend now offered.

Said Dietz: “Because of these new benefits we are putting in place, expectations for this to grow have increased. President Obama said he should have all troops home by the end of the year and with that brings for more opportunities for students using this assistance.”

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