New GI benefits vary widely by state

By JUSTIN POPE
AP Education Writer: Jul 6, 6:18 PM EDT
 
When the new GI Bill kicks in Aug. 1, the government’s best-known education program for veterans will get the biggest boost since its World War II-era creation. But the benefit is hardly the “Government Issue,” one-size-fits-all standard the name implies.  In fact, depending on where service members and veterans decide to attend college, they could receive a full ride, or very little.  An Associated Press review of state-by-state benefits under the new bill shows huge discrepancies in the amount veterans can receive.

For example:

– Veterans attending New Hampshire colleges like Dartmouth might get $25,000 from the government each year, and in Dartmouth’s case essentially a free ride, thanks to an additional grant from the Ivy League school. But in neighboring Massachusetts, it is a different story. At that state’s numerous private schools – many just as expensive as Dartmouth – the government’s baseline tuition benefit is only about $2,200 a year.

 
– Veterans who choose a private school in Texas could get close to $20,000 a semester from the government for a typical course load. Those picking schools in California will get nothing for tuition.  
 
 The explanation stems from the formula the government created, as well as a much-criticized decision by the Department of Veterans Affairs on how to implement the law.
 
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