Today President Obama announced the national kickoff of the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill with Vice President Biden, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) and former Virginia Sen. John Warner at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. American Veteran was on hand to chronicle this historic event.
Student-veterans at George Mason University rose to their feet and applauded as the President entered to deliver his remarks at the school’s Harris Theater. The President thanked the assembled service members and members of Congress for their work in helping forward the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill.
The new G.I. Bill will pay for veterans’ tuition up to the cost of the highest in-state school where they live. The bill will also provide living stipends in order to encourage student veterans to actively pursue post-secondary education.
“More than two and a half years ago, we began with a simple concept that those who have been serving since 9/11 should have the same opportunity for a first class educational future as those who served in World War II,” said Sen. Jim Webb in a prepared statement. “This bill provides a modern and fair educational benefit to address the needs of those who answered the call of duty to our country, those who moved toward the sound of the guns, often at great sacrifice."
The first tuition payments for the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill were distributed to colleges and universities around the country this morning. To date, the VA reports that more than 100,000 student-veterans have enrolled for the new Chapter 33 benefits for the fall semester.
AMVETS leaders are watching implementation closely and plan to work with other veterans' organizations, the VA, and Congress to ensure that the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill is an equitable benefit that fulfills the intentions of Sen. Webb and the other authors of the bill.
To learn more about this landmark benefit, visit the VA's official G.I. Bill Web site at www.gibill.va.gov.
Check back regularly with American Veteran Online for the latest information on the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill, and, as always, let us know what you think.
(Photo: President Obama delivers his remarks at George Mason University, officially launching the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill. Photo by Isaac D. Pacheco. To view more of Pacheco's photos from this morning's announcement, Click Here.)