Posted by: Dan | June 29, 2012

Stay Aware of Your Academic Program’s Policies

If you’re a veteran participating in one of the educational programs provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs, stay aware of your program’s policies.  They may change over time. Here are two examples:

First Example

Two weeks ago, many community colleges couldn’t participate in the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP).  Some vets who enrolled assuming that their school could participate were left with the bill.

It turns out that four-year colleges aren’t eligible, but a week ago, the House Veterans Affairs Committee and the Department of Veterans Affairs pushed to approve eligibility for community colleges listed in the U.S. Education Department’s National Center for Educational Statistics College Navigator.

The VRAP program offers 12 months of training assistance for unemployed veterans.  Click here for the criteria and application info. An additional 20,000 vets can still register.

Second Example

In August 2011, there were two major changes to the 9/11 GI Bill.  First, during summer or winter break, the GI Bill payments stopped until the vet started the next semester.  Second, vets who had in-state residence and attended a public school received full tuition.  However, vets from out of state (or who maintained another state’s residence throughout their service), or vets attending a private university received a maximum of $17,500 per year towards tuition and fees.

This change left some vets stuck paying the difference.  There may be lawsuits in North Carolina related to these tuition changes.  Click here for an article about the North Carolina case.  Continue to check with your state representatives to learn about your state’s veteran education policies.

Bottom Line: You can’t trust that your finances are automatically taken care of because of your GI Bill entitlement.  You must take responsibility and verify that the GI Bill payments are the amount you expected. Stay informed of any policy changes to the GI Bill. Check with your school’s financial aid office and the VA’s GI Bill website.

How can you learn about new changes to VA programs? How can you share your opinions about these programs and get helpful feedback from employees of the VA? Visit the VA’s blog site, Vantage Point, and submit comments.

We will continue to stay up on the latest developments, so check in with Switch to stay informed!

Please send any questions and comments to switchstarter@gmail.com

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