New GI Bill Could Be a Boon To Veteran Freelancers

As Catherine Tully always says, you can tell what’s going on in my life just by reading this blog. My current interest is in the Post-9/11 GI Bill, which radically changes the payout, the amounts, and the ways you can use the GI Bill from the old Montgomery GI Bill benefits most veterans–myself included–are used to getting.

According to the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, the new GI Bill goes into effect in August of 2009, and offers not only 100% tuition payment (direct to the school) but also a $1,000 stiped per year for books and supplies. Vets also receive a housing payment equal to the amount an Air Force Staff Sergeant (or the E-5 rank in any branch of the service) would get living in the USA at the “with dependents” rate. (That’s mil-speak for “with family”)

Why is this so groundbreaking? There are many ex-military freelancers who could use the higher education benefits AND a housing allowance while furthering a writing career. The old GI Bill gave NO money for living expenses per se; the new one is a HUGE enhancement.

Even I have been tempted to return to school, and I was shocked to learn that the new GI bill (and the old one, apparently in the last year or so) now lets you take classes at some approved PRIVATE SCHOOLS. I was out of luck when I looked into this in 2005 hoping to attend Chicago’s media-happy Columbia College.

Now I learn that I could score a degree from this well-known Chicago institution, AND do it for free with housing expenses paid. AND keep my day job. If you are a veteran, call your local VA as soon as possible to see if you quality for the Post 9/11 GI Bill. (Those who served after 9/11 are eligible depending on how long they stayed in uniform after that date.)