New GI Bill Becomes a Reality

By Bryant Jordan,

On Monday, June 30, 2008, President Bush signed legislation ushering in a new era in GI Bill benefits. The legislation, which the Senate passed overwhelmingly, is part of a $162 billion war spending bill. 

The new GI Bill was framed by Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., who has long argued that veterans deserve benefits that match those given to World War II vets.  Then, returning GIs were covered for the full cost of tuition and books for whatever college they entered; in addition they were paid a monthly stipend.

Under the new GI Bill, payment rates will go up, but will be based on the college or university costs in the service member's state of residence. Eligible students also will receive a monthly stipend for books of up to $1,000 per year and a monthly housing allowance of about $1,000. The housing stipend will be tied to the Pentagon's basic allowance for housing rates.

The new education benefits are forecasted to go into effect in mid-2009 and will be available to all service members and veterans - including members of the Guard and Reserve - who have served on active duty for at least 90 consecutive days since Sept. 11, 2001.

The benefits are paid in increments which are determined by the amount of time served on active duty.

To view a list of FAQs for the new GI Bill, visit:

source Military Handbooks Newsletter - July 2008