Cap-and-Trade School

Military veterans currently in college on a GI Bill: Heads up. Some of your government money may soon disappear.

As the Veterans Benefits Administration puts it in a statement to the Independent, the "VA encourages students to plan in advance for potential benefit reductions that will be effective August 1, 2011."

The reason why is a little complicated, but suffice to say that trying to fix one problem created another.

The original provisions of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, passed in 2008, covered veterans’ education costs at any school, up to the amount of tuition and fees of the most expensive public institution in that state. In Colorado, according to the VA, that amounts to a $45,000 cap.

However, concerns raised by some veteran service organizations regarding state-by-state tuition inequity, among other issues, prompted the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Improvements Act of 2010 — which placed a $17,500 annual cap on tuition-and-fee payments for student veterans at private or foreign institutions.

So Colorado vets whose education costs previously were covered up to $45,000 are now slated to receive just $17,500 next year. That would leave them with three choices: applying for the Yellow Ribbon Program (a supplement provided by the Act, available at some schools), coming up with the difference themselves, or transferring mid-program to a less expensive school.

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