Reed Seeks to Educate RI Veterans About the New Forever GI Bill & How to Access Benefits


Expansion of college aid for military veterans will help more RI veterans
successfully transition to new good-paying careers in high-demand fields

PROVIDENCE, RI – After Congress passed a new law expanding veterans education
benefits and extending the amount of time service members and their families have to
use them, U.S. Senator Jack Reed wants to ensure Rhode Islanders can take advantage.
On Tuesday, August 15 at 10:30 a.m., Senator Reed will join with veterans and
education leaders at the National Association of State Approving Agencies (NASAA) to
discuss the benefits of the «Forever GI Bill» and opportunities for college aid for
student veterans and survivors of deceased service members.

The «Forever GI Bill» (also known as the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Education
Assistance Act of 2017) builds on the 21st Century G.I. Bill and eliminates the
arbitrary 15-year period within which veterans are required to use their G.I. Bill
benefits, so veterans can use their benefits at any time in their professional
career. The bill also allocates more funds for college degree programs in
information technology and the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)
fields. It also expands other veterans education benefits and makes much-needed
updates for reservists, Purple Heart recipients, veterans who face school closures
while enrolled, and surviving family members.

The education benefits provided by the bill’s passage would take effect for
enlistees who begin using their G.I. Bill benefits next year. For students
attending private universities, the additional benefits to members of the Guard and
Reserve could mean $2,300 a year more in tuition than they are receiving now, as
well as a bigger housing allowance.

Today, nearly 1,400 veterans attend school at the Community College of Rhode Island
(CCRI), Rhode Island College (RIC), and the University of Rhode Island (URI).

Among the changes, the new Forever GI Bill will help Rhode Island veterans by:

* Eliminating the current 15-year time limit on use of education benefits
for those who were discharged on or after Jan. 1, 2013.

* Removing the 15-year-time limit for surviving spouses and children who
became eligible after Jan. 1, 2013, to use a scholarship that provides full tuition
at state colleges, along with a monthly living stipend and book allowance.

* Granting education benefits to Purple Heart recipients, regardless of
their length of service.

* Allowing veterans who are studying science, technology, engineering or
math greater benefits if their field of study requires additional credits.

* Easing requirements for GI Bill eligibility for National Guard members
and reservists and survivors and dependents of veterans.

* Restoring GI Bill benefits to veterans affected by school closures since

* Reinstating the Reserve Educational Assistance Program for Reservists.

* Providing more on-campus educational and vocational counseling services
for veterans.

* Increasing GI Bill payments by $2,300 per year for veterans with less
than 12 months of active service.

NASAA, represents state agencies that approve educational and training programs for
persons eligible for veterans’ educational benefits, helps make the GI Bill work.
They are hosting a national conference in Providence titled: A New Era for the GI
Bill and State Approving Agencies Accepting the Challenge.