ASSOCIATION NEWS – MOAA applauds new GI bill


Final passage of the “New GI Bill for our 21st century warriors is monumental in scope and great for our nation,” said Vice Adm. Ryan. Norb Ryan, Jr., USN (Ret), president of the Old Town-based Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), the nation’s largest veterans group for uniformed services officers.

“MOAA has been working for many years to improve the GI Bill, and we are glad that Congress is underwriting the nation’s commitment to our military people, veterans and their families,” he said.

The New GI Bill was added to the Emergency Supplemental Spending Act that provides additional money for the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The last major overhaul to GI Bill benefits was in 1984.  Over time, tuition costs have outpaced the cost of education, making it difficult for veterans to accomplish their educational goals without working part time jobs.

The bill covers about 1.4 million active duty soldiers and over 650,000 National Guard and Reserve troops who have served since Sept. 11, 2001.

The new GI Bill covers tuition costs up to a state’s most expensive public university, housing, and an annual book stipend.  It also gives veterans 15 years to use their benefits compared to 10 years under the current program.

MOAA is pleased that the New GI Bill will be available to all officers who have served since 9/11 including graduates of Service Academies and ROTC Scholarship recipients who were previously ineligible.

Currently serving men and women can transfer their current GI Bill benefits to their spouses and children at the sixth year of service for a service extension of four years.

Senator Jim Webb (D-VA), a decorated Vietnam veteran, spearheaded passage of the new GI Bill joined by a bipartisan team of other veterans in the Senate including Senators Chuck Hagel (R-NE), John Warner (D-VA), and Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ).  In the House, Representatives Harry Mitchell (D-AZ) and Bobby Scott (D-VA) championed the companion legislation.

“The New GI Bill for the 21st Century is good for national security,” said Ryan.  “It supports quality recruiting, career retention and a better future for our warriors when they are discharged.”