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How To Make Full Use Of Veterans Benefits

If you’re a military veteran looking to pursue an MBA, you may want to consider how your veteran benefits can help pay for grad school.

Farran Powell, a reporter for US News, recently spoke with experts on how veterans can use their benefits to help fund a grad school education.

The Forever GI Bill

In 2017, Congress passed what’s known as the Forever GI Bill – an updated version of the GI bill that essentially eliminates the 15-year limit on educational benefits for new enlistees.

In an interview with The American Legion, Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin says the hope behind the bill is to support more veterans in pursuing an education.

“(The Forever GI Bill) is expanding our ability to support our veterans in getting education,” Shulkin tells The American Legion. “Already we’ve had 1.7 million individuals take advantage of the Post-9/11 GI Bill. We hope that many more now will.”

The Yellow Ribbon Program

If you’re looking to attend a private school or a public school as a nonresident, your actual tuition and fees may very well exceed the amount covered by the GI Bill.

Many universities allow veterans to participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program, which according to the US Department of Veterans Affairs, makes “additional funds available for your education program without an additional charge to your GI Bill entitlement.”

However, it’s important to keep in mind that eligibility varies.

“The VA will use the GI Bill funds first,” Michael S. Danko, ROTC and veterans affairs coordinator at Carnegie Mellon University, tells US News. “Once those are exhausted, the Yellow Ribbon will be used. Student eligibility for the percentage of GI Bill funds is determined by the VA based on the student’s amount of time they served in the military.”

Tuition Waivers

On top of the Forever GI Bill and the Yellow Ribbon Program, a number of universities offer tuition discounts.

“A few states, such as Utah, Wisconsin and Texas, offer tuition waivers for at least several credit hours to resident veterans; typically these tuition waivers are for veterans attending a state-sponsored college or university,” Powell reports.

KC Haight, director of military and veteran recruitment at Indiana Wesleyan University, says veterans should make full use of tuition waivers and veterans’ benefits

“That would stretch their GI Bill dollars and provide them more opportunities to provide benefits to spouses or children in the future and still realize their educational goals,” Haight tells US News.

Sources: US News, The American Legion, US Department of Veterans Affairs