On December 16, 2010, the House passed the Post 9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Improvements Act (S.3447) to strengthen the New GI Bill for the 21st Century, which will provide a four-year college education for nearly 300,000 veterans enrolled in college this fall.
The new package makes it easier for veterans to use New GI Bill education benefits to pay for tuition at public and private universities, while covering veterans seeking training that will place them directly in the work force - all to help get our economy back on track. It is supported by a range of veterans' organizations, including the American Legion, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Disabled American Veterans, Military Officers Association of America, National Guard Association, National Association of Uniformed Services, and Student Veterans of America.
The bill streamlines the New GI Bill and make it more equitable by:
- Expanding opportunities for training and education, covering vocational and technical schools, apprenticeships and on the job training that were not previously covered.
- Giving active duty students a book stipend of $1,000 per year, like veterans under the program.
- Providing living allowances for distance learners, like injured veterans forced to take online classes.
- Simplifying the Yellow Ribbon Program for veterans attending private colleges and universities and taking graduate courses, eliminating the confusing state cap system, and setting a $17,500 per year cap for tuition and fees.
- Granting full credit to National Guardsmen, including those called up to respond to national disasters like Hurricane Katrina or the BP oil spill, making more than 130,000 eligible for this education benefit.
The bill is fiscally responsible, saving taxpayers hundreds of millions -- closing loopholes in the original legislation, matching living stipends to attendance status, and eliminating duplication of benefits.
These actions build on the record of this Congress, working with veterans and military family organizations, in
- strengthening the economy for veterans by
- providing a tax credit for hiring veterans, and disabled veterans with a payment of $250,
- increasing job opportunities with veterans' on-the-job training in the energy sector.
- providing historic investments in veterans services and health care,
- passing the largest veterans funding increase ever requested by a President in the budget,
- guaranteeing timely and reliable veterans funding, with funds approved one year in advance.
- providing troops and veterans the benefits they have earned and resources they need,
- giving troops a pay raise, restoring military readiness, and strengthening support for military families.
- Congress is working to keep our promises to our men and women in uniform. As the military pledges to leave no solider behind on the battlefield, we will leave no veteran behind when they come home.