Can Uncle Sam Help Vets Get Bang for Their College Buck?

Mark Van Scyoc/Shutterstock.com

The Veterans Affairs Department rolled out a tool Tuesday that allows veterans and their families to go online and see what college costs are covered under the post-9/11 GI Bill.

The GI Bill comparison tool breaks down the tuition, housing allowance, and cost of books covered for more than 10,000 colleges and training programs based on a veteran's cumulative post-9/11 activity-duty service and military status. The VA is also releasing the number of GI Bill beneficiaries at an institution for the first time.

Victoria Dillon, a deputy press secretary at the VA, said the website culled information "from more than 17 different online sources," adding that it is a "one-stop shop for the information they need to make important educational decisions."

For example, a veteran who was on active duty for three years or more after Sept. 11, 2001, could get all of the in-state tuition cost at the University of Virginia paid for, as well as a $1,365 housing allowance per month if they are full time, and 1,000 per year for books, according to the VA's website.

The website includes other, nonveteran information on a school, such as graduation rates and the median amount borrowed.

The VA's rollout comes after the House passed legislation Monday that requires all public universities to give in-state tuition rates to veterans or risk losing other GI Bill education benefits.

A similar provision is included in Sen. Bernie Sanders's omnibus veterans' legislation bill that could be taken up by the Senate as early as Thursday, although the timeline is flexible.

(Image via Mark Van Scyoc / Shutterstock.com)

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