Press Release

Rep. Cuellar Announces Passage of a $3 Billion Expansion of GI Education Benefits

New Bill eliminates restrictions on when recipients can use benefits

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WASHINGTON, August 3, 2017 | Abhijit Rahman ((202) 226-6405) | comments

Rep. Cuellar announces today bipartisan passage of one of the biggest expansions to the GI Bill since its original inception in 1944; an effort he co-sponsored. The Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017 ensures that new servicemembers will be able to use the benefits they’ve earned throughout their lifetime.

Originally, the GI Bill placed a 15-year limit on when recipients could use the tuition payments for higher education. With the Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act, Veterans now have more flexibility on when they decide to attend higher education and obtain new skills later in life.

“This common-sense expansion of GI education benefits is the right thing to do for our veterans, and my colleagues agreed as it passed through the Senate and House,” said Congressman Henry Cuellar. “The GI Bill has serviced so many already and now with this expansion of veteran’s benefits, our veterans will have every tool necessary to gain the skills needed to enter or return to the workforce. I am proud to have played a part in securing its passage.”

The GI Bill of Rights, known as the Serviceman’s Readjustment Act of 1944, helped fuel the country’s post-World War II economic boom and educate generations’ of veterans.  Since 2009, more than 350,000 veterans have earned post-secondary certificates and degrees through the GI Bill.

Some additional major benefits of this bill include:

·         Expanding access to a wider group of service members: Members of the National Guard and reserves will be eligible for expanded educational benefits as will Purple Heart recipients.

·         Simplified & Reduced Administrative Costs: The bill will simplify benefits for future service members by consolidating the GI Bill into a single program (Currently there is the Montgomery GI Bill and the Post 9/11 GI Bill)

·         Enhancing STEM Education: The bill will provide an additional 9 months of eligibility for those service members working toward a Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics (STEM) degree.

·         Aiding Survivors and Dependents: By increasing the Dependent Education Benefit, nearly 100,000 dependents and survivors will experience significant increases to their benefits for decades.

 

A full fact-sheet of all of the major details surrounding this new bill can be located here. 

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