The Post-9/11 GI Bill
In its most recent incarnation, the GI Bill has been expanded tremendously. The Post-9/11 GI Bill came into effect in August 2009, and retroactively includes all service members who were active at least 90 days since September 10, 2001. These benefits are also extended to National Guard and Reserve members who were active for at least 90 days during the time requirements. It extends the customary 10 years from separation of service for use of the benefits to a full 15 years out after discharge.
This new version of the GI Bill covers a tremendous amount of the expenses associated with a secondary education. A frugal veteran can actually make it entirely through school without spending a penny, if he or she meets the qualifications.
The Post-9/11 GI Bill covers tuition and fees based on the highest cost of a public school in the state where the veteran plans on attending. This restriction doesn't include active duty members who also attend school, but veterans who have already been honorably discharged can receive additional money through the Yellow Ribbon Program. This program applies to participating schools that agree to waive up to 50 percent of the additional costs and fees that exceed the state restriction. The VA will match what the school waives, up to the other 50 percent [source: Military.com].
In addition to tuition, the GI Bill also offers additional stipends to help cover other costs associated with school. A stipend of up to $1,000 a year goes toward books. There's also a housing stipend of as much as $2,700 a month and a one-time $500 moving allowance if you relocate from a rural area to school.
The GI Bill also allows soldiers to transfer their education benefits to their spouses or children, so long as they agree to or carry out a 10-year enlistment in the military. We'll look at how financial aid can benefit family members more later on. But first, let's take a look at some of the other financial aid that's available for veterans.