Forever GI Bill’s Military Education Benefits

What is the GI Bill?

The Forever GI Bill is the education benefit for veterans and service members. The program includes aspects such as stipend for textbooks, monthly housing allowance, payment for tuition fees, and related supplies for a 36 month period. This program was designed for post 9/11 service members, with the history of the GI Bill tracing back to World War II. After the war, the US government launched the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act. This act ensures that veterans have a chance to get paid in the form of the home loan guarantee, education opportunities, training, and other such benefits. The official Forever GI Bill was signed into law by ex-president George Bush in 2008. This program went into effect by 2009. After that, in 2017, GI Bill was once again updated under Harry Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act.

Who is Eligible for the GI Bill program?

If you’ve served in the army since September 10, 2001, you are eligible for the program whether you are still serving or separated with an honorable discharge. The total GI Bill benefits that you can get from the program are given according to the amount of time that you spent in the army.

The Scale that determines the eligibility

  • 100%- for the ones that served for 36 months or more. The threshold is the consecutive 30 days, and it includes only those people who were discharged because of the duty-based or service-related disability.
  • 90 %- The minimum for this percentage is 30 months, and the maximum is 36 months. 
  • 80%- It can be less than 30 months, and the minimum active working time is determined as 24 months.
  • 70%-Minimum is the 18 month, and the maximum is 24 months
  • 60%- The army member should work at least 18 months and at most 12 months to get the 60 percent benefit
  • 50%- Between six to 12 month periods is a must
  • 40%- the member should work at least for 90 consecutive days, and the maximum for this percentage is six months
  • There are no GI Bill benefits for those people who worked less than 90 days.

Do not worry about the percentages because there will be quite a few changes after August 2020 when another portion of Forever GI Bill will go into effect. This percentage will change and become more accessible for individuals waiting on the benefits. The ninety days to six months period will be granted for 50%, and the six months to eighteen months period will be given for 60% of the benefit. 

The other benefit program is the Marine Gunnery John David Fry Scholarship offer, which intends to help the children or spouses of army members who got injured or died during their term. The benefit for the kids of army members will grant 100 percent to the children who are between 18 to 33 years. The spouses who did not get married for at least 15 years after their partner’s death will get 100 percent of GI Bill benefits as well. 

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How to apply for the GI Bill program?

There are a variety of ways in which you can apply for this program. You can do it online, and also you can go to the VA regional office around your location. You can call 1-888 GI Bill-1 to contact the VA and ask them to send you an email regarding the application process. The process is very simple, especially for people who choose online forms to apply. What is in that form? The online forms tell you to submit your personal information about educational qualifications, military background, a school that you want to attend, and so on. The form also asks you for bank account members and social security. If you would like to get more information regarding the process, you can always contact the college’s certifying official at that university. You can find that official at the aid department or registrar office of the school.  

Forever GI Bill Stem Certificate of Eligibility

After the application process ends and you receive the email from the regional VA, the next step is about learning your condition and what you are eligible to get from the Forever GI Bill Stem program. You will get this certificate from VA, and this is the document that you need to present to the university in which you want to enroll. You can use this certificate for your advantage during the study years. 

If there is a delay or something that happens without your fault, you can use this certificate as an excuse. In that case, the university cannot charge you with an additional tuition fee delay amount. As we mentioned before, you can send an online application to the system. Keep in mind that, the process can take some time, and you need to ask for updates regarding the process. It may take you around a few months until you can get your certificate of eligibility. 

How much can GI Bill pay for study?

The GI Bill benefits include housing allowance, textbooks and supplies, tuition fees, and more. For private and public universities, the amount of benefit varies with the tuition fees. For public ones, the GI Bill covers all the study-related costs. For private universities, it may cover the entire cost though it is more likely to get partial aids. The maximum amount for the 2019-20 season is $24 million. It is an estimation, but the amount will probably increase by the following years. There are alternative programs that can help you if you cannot get the full cost of education.

You need to search whether or not the school that you are going to apply to is participating in the Yellow Ribbon program or not. What is the Yellow Ribbon Program all about? This program is for those students who cannot get a full scholarship from their university, and it aims to split the cost that GI Bill is not covering. Who can get this opportunity? Right now, only surviving dependents and military veterans are eligible for this program. The recent updates on the case state that starting from August 2022, the active-duty troops will have a chance to get eligibility for this program as well. On the local VA’s website, you can check the list to see which schools are available for this program. 

Should you use GI Bill Benefits while being on active duty?

It is a matter of choice for all applicants. You can meet the requirements for getting the benefit before you leave the military position. While you are on active duty, you will not be able to get the monthly housing stipend from the Forever GI Bill program. The reason for that is the housing allowance that you get from military services. It depends on the university that you are going to attend, though generally, the housing stipend can cost even more than the tuition fee itself. As a result, if you decide to get it before your leave from the military, you will get a lower amount of student aid in comparison with the one that you could get after leaving military services. So, the choice is yours to decide which one is more appealing to you.

The GI Bill Housing Allowance Opportunity

Several factors affect the housing stipend that you are going to receive from the GI Bill program. For example, the percentage level of the benefit and the number of courses that you aim to get from the university is among those factors. Your regional VA calculates the rates, and they use the Department of Defense Basic Allowance for calculations. The cost of living, your estimated expenses are taken into consideration by VA while they decide the amount and the rate. After all this process, you get rank according to the results. If you are unsure about the amount, you can check it quickly through the comparison tool of the Forever GI Bill program. While using that program, you need to enter the school name and compare the results to see how much you can get by applying to those schools.

Few Things that you need to be aware of

Several people choose online courses over going to class. Though, they need to know that in that case, they will only be able to get a partial benefit. For the 2019-20 academic year, that benefit costs $890. We recommend you take at least one or two courses in person.  Thereby, you can be eligible for more student aid. 

How can you change the university with the Forever GI Bill program?

Once you start your studies with the help of GI Bill, you can change the school if you want to. The process looks the same with applying to the program in the first place. You need to submit an application that includes:

  • Your military background
  • The university that you are studying in
  • And the university that you want to go to

In addition, bank account numbers and social security should be added as well. Just like the application process, you can change the school online or go to the regional VA office. 

How to increase your chances to get more from GI Bill?

The Forever GI Bill is a program that President Trump signed. It would be an update for the Post 9/11 GI Bill program. There are several improvement areas that officials looked into while designing this program. To increase your chances of getting higher amounts and full benefit from this program, we recommend you to search for available options and choose the one that has easier minimum requirements and offers more money. There are some changes to the program, so you need to be careful about them and follow the recent updates.

The 9/11 GI Bill program was good, but it lacked some aspects. There were loopholes that officials changed and improved in the Forever GI Bill Program. Several schools shut down recently, and the students who got enrolled there with the aid from the GI 9/11 Bill program could not get what they deserved. Though in the Forever GI Bill program, they considered this and mentioned that all the students who got enrolled in a school that got closed after that, will be eligible to get a refund for what they spent on their study years. 

Transferability Rules for Unused Benefits

In the 9/11 GI Bill program, the benefits that transferred from the military member to a dependent was lost after the dependent family member passes away. So, the family of the military personnel loses the benefit in that case. According to new rules that Forever GI Bill offers, the lost benefit amount can be transferred to a new member of the family after the initial dependent passes away. This new update is very good news for the ones who suffered from this type of case. The changes apply to the dependents who died from August 1, 2019.

Can Purple Heart Recipients qualify for this program?

This is another update on the GI Bill. Previously not all the Purple Heart Recipient military workers could not get the aid. The minimum requirement was working at least three years in the military for applicants. If not, those applicants were denied by this program. After recent updates, PH recipients can get full advantage of the Forever GI Bill program. The service personnel who have gotten the Purple Heart since 2001 are now eligible for GI Bill aid as well.

What about Yellow Ribbon Recipients?

One of the most beneficial and popular military education programs is the Yellow Ribbon. The program covers the entire cost related to study and housing. New updates on the GI Bill program now enables all the recipients of the Yellow Ribbon program to become eligible for GI Bill aid as well. If you do not have information about this program, do research.  Get the advantage of these types of opportunities while they are still available. 

Benefits for National Guard and Reserves Personnel

New updates regarding the Forever GI Bill program allows more Military Reserves and National Guards to take advantage of the offers. Many of the personnel were left off the list in previous programs such as Post 9/11 GI Bill. Who will be eligible? The Reservist who called to duty in an emergency type of case or the ones who went to help the combatant command are eligible for getting this opportunity. There is no need for presidential order for that military personnel to get what they deserve according to the new modifications in the GI Bill program. The program covers all the Reservists who worked for the US government since the first august of 2009. 

Apply for Student Loan Forgiveness Help

If you struggle with university student loan forgiveness, then you should get help with that. Because the employees in these agencies are dealing with the student loans every day and they have enough experience for solving different kinds of student loan problems.

Simplified Eligibility Tiers

Another notable rule change for Reserves Personnel and National Guards was about the partial payments. The military personnel who worked for a short period get more benefits from new updates of the GI Bill program. The new program is suitable for people who worked at least 90 days active in the military and less than six months. There is a ten percent increase in the percentage for those people.

High Technology Pilot Program

With this new rule change, non-degree programs such as:

  • Boot camps
  • Technology-related courses
  • It certifications
  • Certification programs
  • Coding training

Will be available for students with Forever GI Bill.

Students now have more freedom of choice regarding their study plans and area of interest. If we consider the fact that the rate for four-year college applications dropped drastically, this rule change seems to have a positive impact on all the military personnel after their active duty ends. That military personnel can get a new opportunity and pursue quicker study programs for their future. The pilot program is one of those opportunities for military personnel.

The program will run for the next five years. During the process, your regional VA will contact the universities and available programs in order to see which ones are accepting the offer and which military personnel are eligible. The VA will take care of the High Technology Pilot Program by offering universities/colleges higher graduation and tuition rates. They will also ensure them about the rates at which former military personnel will find a job after graduating. 

GI Bill Funds for STEM

As we’ve already defined what is the GI Bill program, let’s look at the STEM and find out the beneficial sides of the program. STEM means:

  • Science
  • Technology
  • Engineering
  • And Math

STEM students are more likely to find a job quickly and build great careers. That is the main reason why the Forever GI Bill program focused on this segment, and they created a new program: Edith Nourse Rogers Scholarship. STEM programs are harder than other studies. That is why the time frame for this program is five years instead of four. Military personnel who chose their career path through STEM programs can get around $30 thousand. 

The program is also available for those students who have a degree from STEM programs and would like to become teachers in respective fields. The process is provided with a first-come and first-served basis; that is why only students who apply at the early stages will be able to get that amount. Per year, the government dedicates around $100 million to this program. Eligibility for STEM includes only military personnel themselves and the family members of the ex-military personnel who passed away. 

Work-Study Programs

The VA created this program to give more flexibility for students. Post Military, the personnel can get a stipend for part-time jobs and learn while they are working. The deadline for applications was expired for this program, but with the new updates, Forever GI Bill extended that timeframe. So, you can apply for this program right now. Another great news is that now GI Bill benefits will cover not only degree-seeking study programs but also they will cover independent studies. Of course, there are limitations such as the available programs and school, though the offer is excellent for ex-military personnel. Whether it is postsecondary education or technical school, you can still use your grant to cover your expenses. 

How Can These Updates Impact You?

There are no exact criteria for defining eligibility. Essential aspects are when you have discharged from the military, your background, and whether or not you used some of the military benefits before this one. January 1, 2013, is the date to remember in this case. Because:

Military personnel who were discharged before that date will not be able to get some of the benefits because they have limited opportunities (15 years rule).

Military personnel who were discharged after that date will enjoy the benefits.

Active Military personnel who aim to get discharged in the next few years will all be eligible for getting the benefit of GI Bill. 

Making the most of the Forever GI Bill?

As mentioned earlier, there are several creative ways in which you can use the Forever GI Bill program efficiently. Through correspondence or online classes, ex-military personnel can make sure that they learn the skills which will be necessary for building their careers post-military service. The GI Bill program covers not only university courses but also LSAT, SAT, admission, and certification tests. The people who are majoring in the STEM field can get exceptional benefits from this program too. So, do not lose this valuable opportunity and start seeking available schools/programs by contacting your regional VA or searching online.