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Can Uncle Sam Help Vets Get Bang for Their College Buck? Can Uncle Sam Help Vets Get Bang for Their College Buck?

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Defense

Can Uncle Sam Help Vets Get Bang for Their College Buck?

Veterans Affairs is promising its program will help students effectively use their GI Bill tuition funding.

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The department released the tool Tuesday.(MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

The Veterans Affairs Department rolled out a tool Tuesday that allows veterans and their families to go online and see what college costs are covered under the post-9/11 GI Bill.

The GI Bill comparison tool breaks down the tuition, housing allowance, and cost of books covered for more than 10,000 colleges and training programs based on a veteran's cumulative post-9/11 activity-duty service and military status. The VA is also releasing the number of GI Bill beneficiaries at an institution for the first time.

 

Victoria Dillon, a deputy press secretary at the VA, said the website culled information "from more than 17 different online sources," adding that it is a "one-stop shop for the information they need to make important educational decisions."

For example, a veteran who was on active duty for three years or more after Sept. 11, 2001, could get all of the in-state tuition cost at the University of Virginia paid for, as well as a $1,365 housing allowance per month if they are full time, and 1,000 per year for books, according to the VA's website.

The website includes other, nonveteran information on a school, such as graduation rates and the median amount borrowed.

 

The VA's rollout comes after the House passed legislation Monday that requires all public universities to give in-state tuition rates to veterans or risk losing other GI Bill education benefits.

A similar provision is included in Sen. Bernie Sanders's omnibus veterans' legislation bill that could be taken up by the Senate as early as Thursday, although the timeline is flexible.

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