Thank you for Serving


National Guard Benefit in GI Bill 2.0

In the original Post 9/11 GI Bill, National Guard troops serving at home were left out.  An amendment in S.3447 changes that and finally provides the GI Bill benefit to National Guard.

According to an article from WDUQ news:
"members who are called up for border security, natural disaster or other domestic duties can receive the G.I. Bill benefits. Altmire says by closing the loophole approximately 130,000 additional National Guardsmen qualify for the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill’s benefits."

This is great for all those who serve in the National Guard - the President will sign the bill by the end of the year and it will go into effect in August 2011.


President to sign GI Bill 2.0 today?

I looked on his schedule but it doesn't show that he is going to sign GI Bill 2.0 into law.  Note that the changes do not go into affect until August 2011 - in time for the fall semester for most students.  But it will definitely help online students the most.  Veterans groups like IAVA advocated for this change in order to increase access to education for wounded Veterans and Veterans working full time.
  1. All Veterans receive the housing allowance
  2. The maximum benefit is $17,000 per year (if you take 15 credits a semester this is about $533 per credit - enough for our MBA Programs!)
  3. Opens it up to National Guard
  4. Gives the VA the authority to shut down for profit 'predatory schools' from receiving VA students
So a pretty good deal.  Let's get it signed President Obama and really make this an even better deal for Veterans.


Congress Passes GI Bill Changes - President to sign into law

IAVA is reporting that the House passed S. 3447 for the new Post 9/11 GI Bill and it will go the President for signature.  Huge day for military education benefits.  National Guard will finally get to participate, rates will be level across states at $17,500 per year and that ALL full time students get the housing allowance.

HUGE!  Levels the playing field in education and let's Veterans choose the program that is right for them.

Thank you Congress! 


The GI Bill Bill Passes the Senate!

GO CONGRESS!!  The Post 9/11 GI Bill changes in S. 3447 passed by unanimous consent and could be voted on in the House today!  This is great news for all - but especially our online schools.

The big fixes:
  1. All full time students get the housing allowance regardless if you study online of brick and mortar
  2. There is one reimbursement cap - regardless of the state (right now it is over $1,000 per credit hour in Texas and $295 in Florida - how is that right?)
This is a good bill and would have been very easy for Congress to delay - but they are not and it will get done.  A big win for all Service members and Veterans!!


Chapter 35: Survivor & Dependent Educational Assistance Program

The military does try to take care of our own.  VA Chapter 35 is one such program. It is the Survivor and Dependent Educational Assistance Program designed to help military spouses and miltiary dependents reach their education goals through GI Bill like scholarships.  For our Service members, it is something you shold make sure you spouse knows about.

I have worked with two spouses - one who is going to earn her Masters' in Education and the other a Bachelor's in Business Administration.

From the VA Website:
Dependents' Educational Assistance provides education and training opportunities to eligible dependents of certain veterans. The program offers up to 45 months of education benefits. These benefits may be used for degree and certificate programs, apprenticeship, and on-the-job training. If you are a spouse, you may take a correspondence course. Remedial, deficiency, and refresher courses may be approved under certain circumstances.

You must be the son, daughter, or spouse of:
  • A veteran who died or is permanently and totally disabled as the result of a service-connected disability. The disability must arise out of active service in the Armed Forces. 
  • A veteran who died from any cause while such service-connected disability was in existence.
  • A servicemember missing in action or captured in line of duty by a hostile force.
  • A servicemember forcibly detained or interned in line of duty by a foreign government or power.
  • A servicemember who is hospitalized or receiving outpatient treatment for a service connected permanent and total disability and is likely to be discharged for that disability. This change is effective December 23, 2006.
Period of Eligibility

If you are a son or daughter and wish to receive benefits for attending school or job training, you must be between the ages of 18 and 26. In certain instances, it is possible to begin before age 18 and to continue after age 26. Marriage is not a bar to this benefit. If you are in the Armed Forces, you may not receive this benefit while on active duty. To pursue training after military service, your discharge must not be under dishonorable conditions. VA can extend your period of eligibility by the number of months and days equal to the time spent on active duty. This extension cannot generally go beyond your 31st birthday, there are some exceptions.

If you are a spouse, benefits end 10 years from the date VA finds you eligible or from the date of death of the veteran. If the VA rated the veteran permanently and totally disabled with an effective date of 3 years from discharge a spouse will remain eligible for 20 years from the effective date of the rating. This change is effective October 10, 2008 and no benefits may be paid for any training taken prior to that date.

For surviving spouses (spouses of servicemembers who died on active duty) benefits end 20 years from the date of death.

Please don't hestitate to email us with any questions - here is a VA pamphlet on the Chapter 35 benefit.


GI Bill Fix goes to Senate Floor Today

Maybe that is why the NY Times published the article below - to kill the changes to the Post 9/11 GI Bill  in Senate Bill  - S.3447.  Here is a recap of the proposed changes
  • Offering invaluable job training for students studying at vocational schools.
  • Granting National Guardsmen responding to national disasters full GI Bill credit.
  • Providing living allowances for veterans in distance learning programs.
  • Expanding and simplifying the Yellow Ribbon Program.
  • Including a book stipend for active duty students.
Harry Reid is pushing to get it done.  If the Senate passes it could go to a vote in the House next week and get signed by the president this year! 


NY Times slams schools serving veterans

While the premise of the article is that for-profit colleges and universities are ripping off the military in the NY Times article: "Big Profits and Scrutiny for Colleges That Draw Veterans", they do try to provide a little on page three.

Bottom line here:
  • Online schools provide programs the Veterans and Service members want
  • Online programs better meet military schedules
  • State schools don't 'do' online well if at all (exception here
  • However: graduation rates in 4 year programs at most online for-profits is not good
  • 2 year graduation rates in for-profits are actually better than public schools
The bottom line is that there is a lot of money out there and like throwing chum in the ocean, it is going to bring some sharks.  But there are a lot of good for-profit programs like ours who do things the right way, don't throw all our money at marketing and have to charge double what we should and get reasonable graduation rates. 

Hopefully Congress will fix the problem in a way that targets desired metrics and not fixes the blame on all for-profit schools.


VA Urges Early Enrollment Certification

Not surprising here - the VA wants schools to submit enrollment certifications early so Veterans can get paid.  The delay for Vets ran 45 days from some - so if you are in school, make sure your Veteran's Office is getting certifications done now.  From the VA:

"Last summer, VA encouraged schools to submit enrollment certifications for the fall semester early to help expedite direct payments to students. To ensure that students receive timely payments, we are encouraging School Certifying Officials (SCOs) to submit enrollment certifications for the Spring 201 1 enrollment periods as soon as possible. This effort will allow VA to manage the increased workload, and minimize delays in processing and paying students' books and supplies stipends, housing allowances, and kicker payments"

We know you need your benefits and will make sure we are certifying early at American University System Schools.


Big week for Military Education Fairs

Our entire team will be out at military base education fairs this week which is always great!
  • Scott AFB -December 8th - we will be holding 'office hours' from 0900 - 1500 at the Education Office - please come on by and say hi (or it will be a long day)
  • Luke AFB Education Fair on December 8th from 1000-1400 at Club Five Six
  • US Coast Guard Station Miami on December 8th from 1200 - 1500 follow the signs to the Hangar
When you come to the American University System booth, you get information from 8 different schools - most of them state schools and all regionally accredited.  So come on by and we can get you the information you need to achieve your education goals.


MyCAA enrollment taking longer

The volume of military spouses enrolling in the MyCAA $4,000 scholarship program is building.  When the program re-launched in October, you could get your program approved and your Financial Assistance approved fairly quickly.  Now the FA is taking close to the full 15 days they say it will take.

So if you are planning to enroll in an Associate Degree program or certificate program for January - GET STARTED TODAY!

For our own New England College of Business and Finance Associate of Science Business Administration Degree for Military Spouses with a total tuition cost of $4,000 - it ends in January.  So this is your last chance before the price goes back up to $14,000 - not kidding here, you are saving $10,000 by enrolling now. 

Please don't miss this opportunity.


Veterans in College: more support needed

The National Survey of Student Engagement for 2010 is out with special attention on military veterans in the classroom.  The survey of 362,000 first year students and seniors attending 564 U.S. Colleges and Universities.  Here are the bullets:
  • Veterans perceive lower levels of campus support than non veterans
  • Veterans interact less with faculty members
  • Compared to first year students, combat veterans spent twice as much time working
  • Compared to first year student combat veterans spent 6 times as much time on dependent care
  • 20% of veterans report having a disability compared to half that of non veterans
Not really surprising.  Veterans going back to school will be older and more likely to have families.  And with so many Veterans coming back from Iran and Afghanistan, they do need extra support and schools must be prepared for to deal with these great students who have additional challenges in life.

Maybe seeing the numbers will get more schools moving in the right direction.