The Department of Veteran Affairs has launched a new online platform - the "GI Bill Comparison Tool 1.5" - that helps student veterans make informed decisions about using their education benefits. The American Legion offered input and consultation in helping VA develop the tool to make it as useful as possible to academic-minded veterans.
Veterans use the tool by inputting the amount of time they spent on active duty, then selecting the institution or training provider which they wish to attend. The tool then returns an estimation of the percentage of tuition and fees that will be covered by their education benefits, and then lists a housing allowance and book stipend (if applicable) that they could expect to receive while enrolled.
The tool also provides other useful information and statistics about the institution, such as the number of GI Bill users attending, whether it participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program, and if it has active student veterans groups. The tool also lists overall graduation rates for the institution, student loan default rates compared to the national average and the median borrowing amount for students at the institution.
The tool is a product of a recent intra-agency memorandum of understanding signed by VA and the Departments of Defense and Education to ensure that veterans, servicemembers and their beneficiaries are protected as they spend their education benefits at colleges, universities and other eligible training institutions.
"As an estimated 1.5 million active-duty servicemembers transition into civilian life, it's important that we help them make informed decisions about how and where to spend their GI Bill benefits," said Steve Gonzalez, assistant director of the Legion's Veterans Employment & Education Division. "This tool accomplishes that by giving veterans a comprehensive picture of the value of their benefits and the return they can expect to receive on those benefits at schools and other eligible institutions."
The GI Bill Comparison Tool 1.5 can be found here: http://department-of-veterans-affairs.github.io/gi-bill-comparison-tool/