Friday, May 8, 2009

New G.I. Bill Benefits Expected to Attract More Veterans to Georgia Southern University

Georgia Southern University expects to see more military veterans enroll as students this fall thanks to benefits from the new G.I. Bill that goes into effect on August 1.

“In terms of education benefits, this is the best G.I. Bill ever offered,” said Lt. Col. George Fredrick, ROTC director and professor of military science at Georgia Southern.

The new G.I. Bill, also known as the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill, goes well beyond helping to pay for tuition. Veterans who have served at least three years of active duty after Sept. 11, 2001, will get full tuition and fees, a new monthly housing stipend, a $1,000 a year stipend for books and supplies, and the option to transfer benefits to a spouse or dependent child. Active duty veterans serving more than 90 days, but less than three years of post-9/11 active duty service, are eligible for a percentage (40-90 percent) of those benefits.

“The No. 1 aspect about the new G.I. Bill is that it will pay the veteran's or dependant's tuition up-front to the institution of choice. That has been a really big issue in the past,” said Sharonica Daniels, Georgia Southern University’s veterans coordinator.

Georgia Southern University’s Offices of Admissions, Registrar and Dean of Students will work together to meet the veterans’ needs. “As a member of SOC (Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges), Georgia Southern provides veterans with the appropriate evaluation of their training, experience, prior study, admissions practices, transfer of credit, and recognition of other forms of learning, including military experience as well as other services the same manner as if they were regular students,” Daniels said.

Veterans who are interested in attending Georgia Southern University this fall and have not already applied are encouraged to do so as soon as possible. Veterans who don’t apply in a timely enough manner may have to pay tuition themselves and then be reimbursed.

“Since the new G.I. Bill was signed (by President Bush in June 2008), I have been getting feedback from veterans who plan on taking advantage of it,” Daniels said. “It will be interesting to see the final number of enrollees using the new G.I. Bill come August 17 (the first day of fall classes).”

For more information about the new G.I. Bill, contact Daniels at 912-478-5154 or sdaniels@georgiasouthern.edu. Also, the University System of Georgia devotes a section of its web site to information for veterans: http://www.usg.edu/veterans.phtml.

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