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This GI Bill Rule Change Could Cost Veterans Thousands of Dollars a Semester


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I pursued my education and post grad using the GI Bill in the 80s-1997. This is very important. Please pass along to friends in school and those with vet kids trying to finish.

Excerpt:

"The Department of Veterans Affairs is set to remove a relatively obscure GI Bill rule, which could cost beneficiaries thousands of dollars. But Congress is poised to act if the agency doesn't reverse course before a critical deadline this summer.

The so-called "rounding out" rule will be phased out Aug. 1, according to the VA. Currently, a GI Bill student can round out a college schedule with non-required classes to bring their course load to a full-term schedule once per program. This allows students to continue to receive full-time benefits, such as a larger housing allowance.

For example, if a student needs 60 hours to obtain a degree and completed all the required courses in 57 hours, they could add a 3-credit-hour course unrelated to their major to their schedule, which would be covered under the GI Bill and prevent them from missing out on any full-time benefits.

Rep. Mike Levin, D-Calif., who chairs the VA committee subpanel on economic opportunity, said he hopes the VA simply reverses the decision to sunset rounding out.

"It impacts a whole lot of student veterans later this year if we don't get out in front of it," Levin said in an interview with Military.com. "It's a policy that will hurt a lot of veterans."

Yet lawmakers might have to step in with legislation if the VA lets the rounding out rule die in August. Either the VA will need to make a decision before then, or Congress will have to fast-track legislation so as not to impact students in the fall semester.

"Hopefully, that won't be necessary, but we'll look at whatever alternatives there are," Levin added. "I hope it will be as simple as reversing the decision. I hope Secretary McDonough reconsiders what the past administration decided to do."

It is unclear how many students have used the rounding out rule, but it is difficult to perfectly map out four years of schooling. Dropping just one class from a schedule could be detrimental to a GI Bill student's income, costing them thousands of dollars in a single semester.

Texas has the largest number of GI Bill beneficiaries in school, with 67,578 students, according to VA data. The University of Texas at San Antonio has one of the state's largest populations of GI Bill students, with 3,260 enrollees.

Right now, a full-time GI Bill student eligible for full post-9/11 benefits will earn $7,452 in housing allowance per semester at the school. Getting rid of a single course would reduce that to $5,962.

The housing allowance is much larger in parts of the country with high costs of living. In Manhattan, students bring in $14,553 per semester. Dropping to part-time status would bring in a maximum of $11,642 per semester.

The housing allowance is largely seen as one of the biggest benefits and sharpest economic tools for veterans to be successful after the military. Gutting a major benefit with virtually no warning could have serious consequences for students and would likely draw the immediate ire of advocates and lawmakers.

"That full-time status ensures their housing allowance remains steady, consequently helping them complete their post-secondary education," said Tanya Ang, vice president of advocacy group Veterans Education Success. "VA has been able to adequately address this situation for years, so it only makes sense they continue to do so without the intervention of Congress."

Source: https://www.military.com/daily-news/2021/03/29/gi-bill-rule-change-could-cost-veterans-thousands-of-dollars-semester.html

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I used my GI Bill in the 70s for additional FAA advanced pilot license and training at Jet Fleet Corporation in Dallas and night business courses at UT Austin, TX campus

Also used the VA VOCAB program to complete my degree in Management Finance and Accounting from 87 to 89.  Some nice payback there sports.

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I was approved for VOCAB but decided I was not going to use a second grad degree and I decided to drop out before I started. School was fun but after 45, my age at retirement from the AF, I figured three BS', an AD, and one MS, is enough. But through it all between the USAF tuition assistance program and the VA later it was possible without any student loans.

Please write your representatives so current and future students can keep up with their studies and have food and clothing too. Military folks understand. Now write.

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Thanks, Derek... I'll pass the info along to my grandson-in-law. I was fortunate to get the majority of my undergrad degree credits while in service, and other than a short DeVry Tech mail course, the bulk of my GI Bill education benefits went toward my advanced degrees. I doubt that I could have afforded the costs otherwise without some substantial loans.

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I have not followed the changes in the GI bill. My son used the Montgomery GI bill for four years of college and I am thankful for that.  The version I had had a 10 year expiration  and due to life circumstances I was only able to utilize it in a very limited way. Even that bit was very useful but I wish it didn't have the expiration or the possibility of transfer a portion or all of it to one of my children.  I blew one semester out of an unnatural fear.  I went to register and the whole process was so intimidating that I almost ran from the building.  At that time I would have been more composed in a firefight. Stupid and embarrasing right. (like my spelling) At my age who the heck cares if it is embarrasing. Thank goodness I got over it.

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I hear ya Mark, everything was a big deal back then. Even at the time though, everything was possible, and we had our whole lives in front of us. Now, everything is possible. ;)

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Jim,

I was intimidated the first few months as I returned to college at age 30. The younger traditional students did make me feel out of place. I became a counselor in the LSUS counseling center staffing to Dr. Jeff Ickess. We analyzed the reasons some non-traditional students drop all their classes. So we started a non-traditional student support group. We'd tell them at first we stuck out because we were dressed like their parents. After a few months of having the traditional students as our peers, the way we dressed changed subtly. Then instead of the traditional students making me feel they had it all together, I found out they had reason to not look forward to seeing too many of us in class. They partied but if they all did then the grade point curve put them over. But us non-traditional were there because we wanted to be, we were adults who'd already sowed our wild oats, and we were there to learn it all with a mature perspective. Lots of other stuff we discussed but that's the gist of it. 

I'm sure glad like you, I got over it.

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