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Higher Education in Maryland


April 2009 Press Release

 

 

For immediate release: April 6, 2009                                                           Media Contact: Christopher Falkenhagen

                                                                                                                             Communications: (410) 260-4511

 

 

Veterans, Colleges Should Begin Preparing for Post-9-11

Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008


ANNAPOLIS, MD (April 6, 2009) - Veterans interested in taking advantage of one of the best educational benefit programs since World War II should begin applying to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for the Post-9-11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008 beginning May 1, 2009. Maryland’s two- year and four-year public and independent colleges and universities who do not already know about the program should be ready as well, according to officials at the Maryland Higher Education Commission.

MHEC is the State agency that approves the schools and programs where veterans can receive their educational benefits and passes that information on to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

The Post 9-11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008 is a new educational benefit program for individuals who served on active duty on or after September 11, 2001. Supported by then-Senator Barack Obama and Governor O’Malley, this bi-partisan law passed last year by Congress and signed into law by President Bush, has been hailed as the most significant educational benefit bill for veterans since the first G.I. bill was enacted more than 60 years ago.

“The veterans who have given their all to preserve this country’s freedoms deserve this new law,” Secretary of Higher Education James E. Lyons, Sr, said. “I strongly encourage any veteran who is interested in pursuing a postsecondary education to take advantage of this outstanding opportunity. I believe it is also important for officials at our colleges and universities to be prepared now to help our veterans take advantage of these benefits which will go into effect on August 1, 2009.”

Veterans eligible for the benefit must have served at least 90 aggregate days on active duty after September 10, 2001; be still on active duty or have been honorably discharged from active duty; released from active duty and placed on the retired list or temporary disability retired list; released from active duty and transferred to the Fleet Reserve or Fleet Marine Corps Reserve; or released from active duty for further service in a reserve component of the Armed Forces.

Based on a veterans length of service and meeting the eligibility requirements, they are entitled to a percentage of the following:

• Cost of tuition and fees, not to exceed the most expensive in-state undergraduate tuition at a public institution of higher education. This is paid by the U.S. Veterans Administration directly to the school the veteran is attending.
• Monthly housing allowance equal to the basic allowance for housing payable to a military E-5 with dependents in the same zip code as the college or university they are attending. This is paid by the VA to the veteran.
• Yearly books and supplies stipend up to $1,000 per year (paid to the veteran).
• A one-time payment of $500 paid to certain individuals relocating from highly rural areas.

For more information, veterans and college financial aid directors should access: www.GIBILL.VA.GOV and access the education benefits link on the left hand side of the website. They can also call 1-888-GIBILL-1 (1-888-442-4551) or contact Ted Porter at MHEC, by phone at 1-800-974-0203, (410) 260-4532, or by e-mail at  tporter@mhec.state.md.us.

The Maryland Higher Education Commission is a 12-member coordinating board responsible for establishing statewide policies for Maryland public and independent colleges and universities and private career schools. It serves as an advocate for more than 325,000 college students in Maryland, for the State and its needs, and for business and industry in Maryland.
 


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