Fiscal Crisis Threatens GI Bill Program
Fiscal Crisis Wrinkles New GI Bill's 'Yellow Ribbon'
Tom Philpott | Military.com
Veterans attending degree-granting schools where tuition exceeds the state-run school ceiling will have to pay the higher costs themselves unless the schools offer further discounts through a Yellow Ribbon agreement.
Schools can waive whatever portion of the tuition disparity they choose, from 50 percent down the difference down to one percent. The government will raise GI Bill reimbursements by an equal amount.
VA rules will mandate that waivers be offered on a first-come, first-served basis, and they cannot be offered only to students in select fields of study. Yellow Ribbon colleges, for example, will not be able to target tuition waivers, for example, only at students who major in math.
GI BILL TRANSFERABILITY – The Department of Defense has responsibility for implementing the new GI Bill’s transferability feature, which allows some service members to transfer unused benefits to spouses or children. This month DoD has moved to relax the transfer feature’s eligibility requirement for servicemembers who are retirement-eligible or near so.
The new GI Bill law allows transfer of benefits to a spouse or to children only if service members are on active duty or in the Selected Reserve (drill status) as of Aug. 1, 2009, and agrees to serve an additional four years. The member must have served at least six years already to elect to transfer benefits to a spouse. They must have served 10 years already transfer benefits to children.
The law is silent on whether transferability is barred if members can’t serve an additional four years because of DoD or service policy such as high-year tenure rules for enlisted and up-or-out promotion demands for officers.
Fortunately, the law also gives Defense officials broad authority to reshape transferability requirement as needed. This month, after consulting with the services, Defense officials tentatively have decided to relax the four-year service rule when it bumps up against other policies.
The four-year service requirement would be removed for members eligible to retiree now and those who become eligible on or before Aug. 1, 2009, the day the new GI Bill begins. (Retirement eligibility means completing at least 20 years of active service or 20 years of reserve service.)
Those eligible for retirement after Aug. 1, 2009, and before July 1, 2010, would have to serve only one additional year to qualify for GI Bill transferability. Those eligible for retirement after Aug. 1, 2010, and before July 1, 2011, would have to serve two additional years. Those eligible for retirement after Aug. 1, 2011 and before July 1, 2012, would have to serve three additional years to be able to transfer GI Bill benefits to family.