About the GI Bill
The GI Bill, officially known as the Servicemen Readjustment Act of 1944, was established to help World War II veterans in pursuing a post-war education. In addition to providing financial support for veterans’ educations, the G.I. bill also provided a 1-year unemployment compensation. Furthermore, the G.I. Bill sought to financially assist veterans in purchasing homes and in starting businesses by providing low interest rate loans to the veterans, with no down payment for servicemen who sought financial help for financing a house. The GI Bill also aimed at providing war veterans with financial support during their job search period. At present, it includes all the benefits and profits that are extended to the veterans for their services during war as well as in peace-time.
Veteran Educational Assistance Program
At the end of the Vietnam War, it was observed that there were, by far, more Vietnam-era veterans who used the GI Bill for the purpose of pursuing a higher education compared to the veterans of the past. In 1973, the US military took further steps to offer benefits to veterans along similar lines as the G.I. Bill under the VEAP or Veteran Educational Assistance Program. Eligibility criteria for this program included proof of military service for more than 180 days, a good record and release from service without dishonor. The VEAP also required the veterans to donate to the program.
Montgomery GI Bill
In 1985, VEAP was replaced with the Montgomery GI Bill or MGIB, a voluntary program where participants cede $100 from their first year of pay. Subsequently, they qualify for receiving tuition assistance and a monthly stipend. The educational benefits for veterans in a full-time study program are extended up to a period of 36 months. Veterans are allowed to use the educational financial assistance to pursue a certificate course or a degree program, and they can take advantage of this opportunity during active service or after discharge or retirement. MGIB also offers a buy-up option to the veterans where they can pay up to $600 during active duty. For every $1 paid by them, the U.S. government grants $8. Consequently, the veterans can claim an additional $4,800. While the contribution of $600 has to be made during active service, the supplementary funds can only be retrieved post-retirement. In 2008, Congress approved further changes to the G.I. Bill, in which the benefits provided to the veterans were expanded. The GI Bill now offers to pay the full cost of any degree program in any public college of the state where the applicant resides. The G.I. Bill also offers house allowance along with $1000 for books.
Eligibility for MGIB
The veterans are allowed to use the benefits of MGIB until after ten-years of discharge or retirement from active service. However, the ten-year duration can be extended if the service member was not allowed to pursue training due to in-service medical disability or imprisonment in a foreign land.