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Higher Education in Maryland

September 2008 Press Release



For Immediate Release: September 2, 2008                                          Media Contact: Christopher Falkenhagen
                                                                                                                          Communications: 410-260-4511

Secretary Lyons Encourages Veterans to Take Advantage of New G.I. Bill

Annapolis, MD (September 2, 2008) – On the 63rd anniversary of the day that Japan surrendered to the United States, officially ending World War II, Higher Education Secretary James E. Lyons, Sr., is encouraging veterans to take advantage of the newest incarnation of the G.I. Bill -- the Post-9/11 Veterans Education Act of 2008 -- sponsored by Senators James Webb (D-Virginia) and Chuck Hagel (R-Nebraska) and recently signed into law by President Bush.

The Maryland Higher Education Commission is the State’s approving agency for the program.

“I am pleased that MHEC will be actively involved in something so worthwhile,” Higher Education Secretary James E. Lyons, Sr., said. “This new legislation will greatly benefit the men and women who have served this country so admirably and want to pursue higher education opportunities.”

The original G.I. Bill, signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, provided returning soldiers of the “Greatest Generation” payment for a college or vocational education and housing benefits. It has been called one of the most important pieces of legislation affecting higher education in the nation’s history. Through the years, the original Roosevelt bill has been altered and reauthorized by Congress, sometimes to the point of watering down some of the most important and effective components of the original legislation.

Many veterans and lawmakers are calling the Webb-Hagel bill the most significant piece of legislation in the past 10 years.

The new law is a benefit providing educational assistance to individuals who served on active duty on or after September 11, 2001. Governor O’Malley showed his strong support of the bill by joining in a bi-partisan effort with 27 governors across the nation sending a strong letter of support for the legislation to Congress.

Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits are payable for postsecondary education costs beginning on or after August 1, 2009. To be eligible for the benefit, military personnel must have served at least 30 days of continuous active duty service after September 10, 2001 and:

  • Be honorably discharged from the Armed Forces;
  • Be released from the Armed Forces with service characterized as honorable and placed on the retired list or temporary disability retired list, or transferred to the Fleet Reserve or the Fleet Marine Corps Reserve;
  • Be released from the Armed Forces with service characterized as honorable for further service in a reserve component; or
  • Be discharged or released from Armed Forces for EPTS (Existed Prior to Service); HDSP (Hardship); CIWD (Condition Interfered with Duty) or continue to be on active duty.

    Veterans will receive a percentage, as determined by their length of service:
  • Amount of tuition and fees charged.
  • Monthly housing allowance. Yearly books and supplies stipend. up to $1,000 per year paid to the veteran.

    Veterans are eligible to participate in the Veterans Education Assistance Act of 2008 for 15 years from their last period of active duty service of at least 90 consecutive days. They may also transfer their entitlements to their dependents if they are members of the Armed Forces on August 1, 2009 and the Department of Defense (DoD) may offer benefits to spouses or defendant children. The DOD and the military services are expected to issue the policy on use of transferability soon.

    For more information about The Post-9-11 Veterans Education Assistance Act, visit MHEC’s website at http://www.mhec.state.md.us/higherEd/acadAff/VeteransBenefits/index.asp.

    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 326,000 college students in Maryland, for the State and its needs, and for business and industry in Maryland.



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