Revised GI Bill to match college financial aid packages to avoid costly tuition fees

By Gillian Davis
March 5, 2009

During summer 2008, the federal government developed a revised version of the GI Bill.

The original GI Bill was created after World War II to help veterans receive a college education.

The bill also provided veterans with loans to help them buy a house or to start a business.

The new GI Bill plans to match any financial aid that colleges offer to veterans to avoid the fee of costly public institutions within the college’s state. It will provide aid to any veteran or military workers so that they can attend expensive schools in their home state.

Shelly Beaser, professor of history and current events, recalls the history of the previous GI Bill and what it did for the United States.

“The GI Bill helped create a whole new type of professional class. Prior to the bill, college was not something most of the population could, or would, consider for reasons of race, class or economics,” Beaser said. “Because of the bill, such careers as medicine, law, teaching and engineering were open to anyone who had served their country. Additionally, the bill kept many of the returning vets from entering a job market that was unlikely to be able to absorb the number of people who were looking for work.”

Due to the economic recession and financial crisis, colleges are finding it difficult to afford veteran’s tuition. However, colleges must refrain from becoming too apprehensive because the bill has not been completely finalized and some regulations still must be made.

One of the main topics of interest that college institutions look forward to seeing is finding out how the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will decide what the most expensive public universities and colleges are is in each state. It will also be determined what fees will be put toward the total.

Veterans who have served over three months of active duty qualify for this bill. Soldiers who also have served one month but were released due to a disability also meet the requirements for the GI Bill.

Along with covering tuition, the bill also cover the purchase of books and supplies as well as a housing payment based on where the veteran plans to attend college.

“I think it should be a high priority for the government to be sure they can pay for our veterans’ college,” Andrew Golden, junior political science and history major, said. “Considering the sacrifices they have all made for our country it is the least that should be done. It wouldn’t make sense to be able to spend $700 billion on bailing out banks and not being able to foot a small bill for our veterans.”

Issues about this bill have been surfacing and many schools show their concern for the future. Colleges are mostly distressed about offering a tuition waiver and not a scholarship to veterans and how expensive colleges will suffer additionally more than cheaper colleges.

As of right now, 350,000 veterans are receiving education benefits at around 6,200 colleges or universities.

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Gillian Davis

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