Press Releases

Simpson Supports Legislation to Increase Education Benefits to Veterans

Washington, May 2, 2008
Tags: Education

The Post 9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act, H.R. 2702 has been reintroduced to the U.S. House of Representatives. Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson is a cosponsor of this legislation that improves educational benefits to all members of the military who have served on active duty since September 11, 2001, including activated reservists and National Guard. 

Since World War II the United States has offered educational assistance to returning veterans.  In the 1940s, the first G.I. Bill helped transform notions of equality in American society. The G.I. Bill paid for veterans’ tuition, books, fees, a monthly stipend, and other training costs. Approximately 7.8 million veterans used the benefits given under the original G.I. Bill.

“As our servicemen and women come home from war and re-enter the workforce many benefit from continuing education,” said Simpson. “Whether they are expanding on a trade they already know or are taking on a new challenge, the G.I. Bill helps them achieve their goal.  This bill will expand educational benefits to all returning soldiers and I’m hopeful it will become law soon.”

Some of the major provisions in H.R. 2702 include:

· Increased educational benefits would be available to all members of the military who have served on active duty since September 11, 2001, including activated reservists and National Guard. To qualify, veterans must have served at least three to thirty-six months of qualified active duty, beginning on or after September 11, 2001.

· The bill provides for educational benefits to be paid in amounts linked to the amount of active duty served in the military after 9/11.  Generally, veterans would receive some amount of assistance proportional to their service for 36 months, which equals four academic years. Veterans would still be eligible to receive any incentive-based supplemental educational assistance from their military branch for which they qualify.

· Benefits provided under the bill would allow veterans pursuing an approved program of education to receive payments covering the established charges of their program, up to the cost of the most expensive in-state public school, plus a monthly stipend equivalent to housing costs in their area. The bill would allow additional payments for tutorial assistance, as well as licensure and certification tests. 

· The bill would create a new program in which the government will agree to match, dollar for dollar, any voluntary additional contributions to veterans from institutions whose tuition is more expensive than the maximum educational assistance provided under the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill.

· Veterans would have up to fifteen years, compared to ten years under the Montgomery G.I. Bill, after they leave active duty to use their educational assistance entitlement. Veterans would be barred from receiving concurrent assistance from this program and another similar program.

Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) has introduced a similar bill in the U.S. Senate.