Tuesday, August 7, 2012

How Veterans Can Use Post-9/11 GI Bill Benefits to Pay for IT Training and Certification

Janet Pinkerton, CompTIA

Veterans and transitioning military members interested in building a career in IT after their service in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars can use their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to pay for IT training and certification. Since October 2011, the benefits can be used to pay for IT training via non-college degree training programs, as well as graduate and undergraduate degree programs.

Here's how to do it.

A veteran's best source of information about the Post 9/11 GI Bill is the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs websitehttp://www.gibill.va.gov. Unless noted, the information that follows is from the GI Bill website.

Veterans, service members and their families use the VA's eBenefits website, to research, find, apply for, and, in time, manage Post-9/11 GI Bill education benefits, along with other VA benefits.

Post 9/11 GI Bill Basics

The Post-9/11 GI Bill provides financial support for education, books, and housing to individuals with at least 90 days of aggregate service after September 10, 2001, or individuals discharged with a service-connected disability after 30 days. You must have received an honorable discharge to be eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

"Veterans come to us knowing they want to take some IT training, but they don't always know that they have available benefits," says Steve Betzold, national director of consumer sales at New Horizons Computer Learning Centers' corporate offices, which operate non-college degree IT training programs toward CompTIA certifications and other credentials.

The Post-9/11 GI Bill can help a veteran pay for a variety of training programs:
  • Graduate and undergraduate degrees
  • Vocational/technical training from non-college degree programs
  • On-the-job training
  • Flight training
  • Correspondence training
  • Licensing and national testing programs
  • Entrepreneurship training
  • Tutorial assistance
All training programs must be approved for GI Bill benefits. You can search the VA's database of approved education and job training programs here. CompTIA certifications can be found in the VA's database of approved licenses and certifications when searched for by name (i.e., "A+," "Network+" or "Security+.")

How much can a veteran receive under the Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits?

The Post-9/11 GI Bill disburses your tuition and fees directly to your school and makes housing and other payments directly to you. The direct payment of tuition is a boon for veterans, because the original Montgomery GI Bill only reimbursed veterans for their education expenses.

Post -9/11 GI Bill benefits can be used pay for:
  • Tuition and fees. As of August 1, 2012, the benefit is capped at $18,077.50 per academic year at non-degree programs or private institutes of higher learning. If you are a resident student at a public institution of higher learning, all in-state tuition and fee payments are reimbursed.
  • Housing during the training, via a monthly allowance that varies by local cost of living rates
  • Books and supplies, up to $1,000 annually if attending school full-time
The Post-9/11 GI Bill can provide up to 36 months of education benefits. Generally benefits are payable for 15 years following your release from active duty. Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits are calculated as a percentage based on:
  • Length of active duty service
  • Education enrollment status (full-time or less)
  • ZIP code of the education program you attend (for housing allowance)
"If a veteran has served 36 months active duty after 9/11, they get 100 percent," explains Latoya Mack, academic advisor for military programs at Tidewater Community College's Center for Military and Veterans Education on TCC's Virginia Beach, Va., campus.

With more than 5,500 veterans and roughly 2,000 active duty service members enrolled, TCC in 2010 and 2011 ranked number one among community colleges for the number of veterans enrolled using the Post-9/11 GI Bill and in the top five among all higher education institutions. TCC's new Center for Military and Veterans Education provides one-stop support service — including counseling, academic and benefits advising, and workforce development — to veterans, military service members and their spouses and families.

Click For More on How to Apply for Post-9/11 GI Bill Benefits

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