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Tuesday, Nov 25, 2014

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A military blog by Howard Altman

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Bilirakis Calls For Post-9/11 GI Bill Study


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So how well is the Post-9/11 GI Bill working for veterans?

That’s what Rep. Gus Bilirakis wants to know.

Bilirakis, vice-chair of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, introduced a new bill – H.R. 4151 – that calls for a study of how veterans use their benefits.

For approved programs, the Post-9/11 GI Bill provides up to 36 months of education benefits, generally payable for 15 years following your release from active duty, according to the Veterans Administration, which administers the benefits.. Institutions of higher learning participating in the Yellow Ribbon Program may make additional funds available for your education program without an additional charge to your GI Bill entitlement. Payments for monthly housing allowance, an annual books and supplies stipend and a one-time rural benefit program may also be available, according to the VA.

The study, which could cost up to $2 million according to Ian Martorana, a Bilirakis spokesman, will look at “what is working and what isn’t.”

“The first step in making positive changes to a program is to fully understand its benefits and drawbacks. My legislation will require the VA to contract with a third party to conduct a comprehensive study of all veterans’ experiences using their education benefits under the GI Bill,” Bilirakis said in a media release. “This study will allow Congress and the VA to know what works and what doesn’t. Congress will have the information to improve veterans’ educational benefits. A study minimizes the possibility of any changes having negative and unintended consequences.”

The Veterans Education Survey Act builds upon Bilirakis’ legislation, H.R. 4057, the Improving Transparency of Education Opportunities for Veterans Act, which was signed into law at the end of the 112th Congress. H.R. 4057 requires the VA to develop a comprehensive policy to improve outreach and transparency to veterans and members of the Armed Forces by providing information on institutions of higher learning. H.R. 4151 is part of Bilirakis’ ongoing effort to improve educational opportunities for veterans.

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