House panel passes new GI Bill changes

By Rick Maze – Staff writer
Posted : Wednesday Jul 22, 2009 15:28:01 EDT

A federal student aid bill was amended Tuesday by a House committee to increase Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits for veterans in states that heavily subsidize tuition at public colleges, and to expand student loan forgiveness for National Guard and reserve members when they’re mobilized.  The GI Bill change, sponsored by Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif., comes less than two weeks before the new veterans education benefits program will launch, and is unlikely to become law in time to influence benefits payments, which are set to begin as early as Aug. 3.  McKeon’s amendment, approved by the House Education and Labor Committee by voice vote, would help students attending institutions of higher learning in California, Massachusetts and other states where the tuition cap on benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill will be low because of how they are calculated.  Caps for each state are based on the highest tuition and highest fees charged at the in-state tuition rate for undergraduate education for a four-year public college or university. The cap is then used to determine the maximum payment for people attending private schools, or who are attending public schools but are either paying nonresident tuition or attending graduate school.  McKeon’s plan would create a special supplemental grant for veterans in states with low public-school tuition costs that would combine the cost of tuition and fees into a potentially larger single payment.


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