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In the News: New GI Bill Expands Education Benefits for Fall ’09

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Congress passed a new and expanded GI Bill in 2008, which is set to significantly expand education benefits for members of the U.S. Armed Forces as early as this fall.

The new funding plan will allow soldiers who have served at least 90 days since 9/11 to receive up to the full cost of tuition and fees at the most expensive in-state school. The old GI Bill pays a set amount, regardless of which school you choose — and only veterans with longer service records are entitled to benefits.

The new bill will also allow veterans to receive funding for out-of-state and private schools, although exactly how that will work is still being determined by the Department of Veteran Affairs. We know for sure that the full cost of the most expensive public school tuition in your state will be applied. After that, the school will be able to choose to help cover the veteran’s tuition gap, qualifying it for matching federal grants as well.

Private schools like the University of Rochester, where tuition runs $25,000 per year, have already committed to doing so for its veterans (11 out of an undergraduate student body of more than 4,500). America’s largest online college, the University of Phoenix, which currently enrolls some 17,000 veterans, has announced that it also plans to participate in the program to top off the cost of tuition.

The bill will additionally provide a housing and cost of living subsidy to full-time students.

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