The GI Bill Benefits
The GI Bill was created by Congress at the end of World War II as a means to reward servicemembers and veterans who served during a very difficult time. Initially, the GI Bill only provided veterans education benefits to servicemembers and veterans who served in the military during wartime. A provision was added to the GI Bill in 1966 to award benefits to all eligible veterans, including those who were in the military during peacetime.
What the GI Bill Can Provide
There have been several different versions of the GI Bill since its inception, the most recent being:
- Vietnam Era GI Bill-Chapter 34
- Veterans Educational Assistance Program (VEAP)-Chapter 32
- Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB)-Chapter 30
- New GI Bill (Post 9/11 GI Bill)-Chapter 33
Each version of the GI Bill provides assistance to eligible servicemembers and veterans who wish to continue their educations. As the GI Bill evolves and is modernized, each version provides more veterans education benefits than the GI Bill it replaces. The latest GI Bill, the New GI Bill, is the most generous GI Bill yet.
Servicemembers and veterans who are eligible for New GI Bill benefits may receive up to 100 percent of the tuition costs associated with earning undergraduate and graduate college degrees. The Post-9/11 GI Bill also allows servicemembers and veterans to continue their educations by participating in approved online degree programs. Veterans may also be eligible for housing and book stipends under the new GI Bill.
Who Is Eligible for the GI Bill's Veteran Education Benefits
Each version of the GI Bill has increased the number of people who may qualify for the veteran education benefits the GI Bill can provide. The New GI Bill can provide benefits to:
- Active duty service members
- Military spouses
- Dependent children
As the GI Bill changes, veterans are given the opportunity to upgrade their remaining veteran's education benefits by switching to the latest version of the GI Bill. Vietnam era veterans were allowed to switch their remaining Vietnam Era GI Bill benefits to the Montgomery GI Bill, and servicemembers enrolled in the Montgomery GI Bill can switch to the New GI Bill as they become eligible.
The New GI Bill is the only GI Bill that allows eligible servicemembers to transfer their veteran's education benefits to qualifying military spouses and dependent children.
GI Bill WAVE
Another way the GI Bill keeps up with the times is with its online presence. Servicemembers and veterans who are using the GI Bill may report their status on a monthly basis on the VA Website using the Web Automated Verification of Enrollment (WAVE) system. By registering in GI Bill WAVE every month, people using the GI Bill maintain the flow of their veteran's education benefits. GI Bill WAVE is just one of many enhancements that make using GI Bill benefits easier for servicemembers and veterans.
Servicemembers and veterans may now do most of their GI Bill business online, such as:
- Enroll in a GI Bill program
- Switch GI Bill programs
- Participate in GI Bill question and answer sessions
- Transfer GI Bill veterans education benefits
The GI Bill has come a long way since its inception. The latest version provides the best opportunity yet for servicemembers and veterans to reach their educational goals.