Veterans urged to utilize GI Bill benefits

Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard is encouraging eligible veterans to take advantage of the new college education benefits passed by Congress under the GI Bill for the 21st Century.An estimated 2.1 million members of the military who have served on active duty since Sept. 11, 2001, including activated reservists and members of the National Guard, are eligible for up to four years of educational benefits, including stipends for housing and books. "The original GI Bill, which passed in June of 1944 during World War II, sparked widespread economic growth for a whole generation of Americans. It made a free college education available to more than 15 million returning war veterans," Roybal-Allard said. "As with our World War II veterans, I am confident the new GI Bill for the 21st Century will help make America's Iraq and Afghanistan veterans part of a new American economic recovery. "Considering that many of our troops have served two, three or more tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, we owe it to these men and women to afford them the many opportunities our nation has to offer." Last year, Congress restored the promise of a full, four-year college education for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. This year, Congress extended those benefits to all children of deceased soldiers with no minimum military service needed to qualify. The program pays for tuition and fees up to the maximum in-state tuition and fees at a public institution; a monthly housing allowance at the location of the school; and an annual books and supplies stipend up to $1,000. Benefits are generally payable for up to 15 years following release from active duty.

********** Published: August 7, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 16