Tucson, Ariz. – Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva today highlighted the Department of Veterans Affairs announcement that 1 million veterans, servicemembers, and family members have benefited from the Post-9/11 GI Bill since the program’s inception in August 2009. The Veterans Benefits Administration, which administers the program, has distributed more than $30 billion in tuition and education-related payments to veterans, servicemembers, and their families, and to the universities, colleges, and trade schools they attend.
The VA announced that Steven Ferraro, who attends Middlesex County College in Edison, N.J., has been identified as the millionth Post-9/11 GI Bill beneficiary. Ferraro served in the Army from 2003 until earlier this year and deployed to Iraq in 2008 as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He is a father of three majoring in communications.
“Veterans Day isn’t just an occasion to remember the sacrifices Americans have made,” Grijalva said. “It’s a time to consider whether we’re really helping our current servicemembers succeed. The Post-9/11 GI Bill gives servicemembers and veterans the career and educational opportunities they deserve, and I’m proud to have supported its passage.”
The law was passed as part of H.R. 2642 in 2008. Rep. Grijalva was a cosponsor of the standalone version of the bill.
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, there are approximately 527,400 veterans currently living in Arizona. You can see a state-by-state breakdown at http://1.usa.gov/17J8ZNp.
The Post-9/11 GI Bill is a comprehensive education benefit created by Congress in 2008. Veterans and servicemembers who have served on active duty for 90 or more days since Sept. 10, 2001, are eligible. On average, VA processes the initial claims for Post-9/11 GI Bill educational benefits in 23 days.
GI Bill benefits are tiered based on the number of days served on active duty, giving activated National Guard and Reserve members the same benefits as all other active duty members. These benefits include:
The Post-9/11 GI Bill also provides work-study programs, tutorial assistance and license and certification test reimbursement.
The law builds on the great legacy of the original GI Bill, giving Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their families a chance to improve their lives and invest in their future through higher education. For more information on VA education benefits, go to http://www.gibill.va.gov/.