New GI Bill Tool Helps Calculate Benefits, Compares Schools
Career College Central summary:
The Department of Veterans Affairs has launched a new tool to help servicemembers, veterans and their families calculate Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits and compare schools and training programs nationwide. The GI Bill Comparison Tool brings together information from more than 17 online sources and three federal agencies and seeks to provide key information about costs and quality of education.
The comparison tool was developed in response to President Barack Obama’s Executive Order 13607 of April 27, 2012, which instructed agencies to establish standards for educational institutions that interact with servicemembers, veterans and their families, provide information on the costs and quality of institutions and programs, prevent deceptive recruiting practices and provide quality academic and student support services, according to a VA statement announcing the launch of the program.
The order was preceded by years of predatory practices in which institutions and programs failed to deliver on educational promises, leading many in Washington to suggest that large amounts of benefit dollars were being wasted. The VA still has to work out some bugs with the new site, but customers will be able to calculate and even apply for their benefits, take an interests-and-aptitudes assessment, compare schools and programs, peruse careers and job opportunities and have access to counseling services. Users also will be able to compare the number of students receiving VA benefits at each school.
In addition to calculating benefit funding, the tool also shows how much users can receive for books and living stipends and whether the school in question participates in the VA’s Yellow Ribbon Program, which helps students avoid out-of-pocket tuition and fees that may exceed the Post 9/11 GI Bill tuition benefit. The tool also shows how the school compares to others in graduation rates and financial aid, according to a statement from the Veterans of Foreign Wars, who along with Student Veterans of America and the American Legion have worked closely with the White House and legislators on initiatives such as the comparison tool.
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