Military men and women who served at least 36 months after Sept. 10, 2001 or were discharged for a service-related disability after at least 30 days of active duty can qualify for 100 percent of the benefits. Others earn a percentage depending on length of service.
Those who qualify have up to 15 years after their service to use the benefit. Some may also be able to transfer benefits to a spouse or child.
Those with full benefits can receive:
• Tuition and fees up to the highest amount charged for full-time undergraduate work at a public institution in the state where the student is enrolled.
• Monthly housing allowance based in part on the local cost of living (not available for those on active duty or taking courses exclusively online).
• A stipend for books and supplies of up to $1,000 a year.
• $500 to help relocate from a highly rural area.
Students entitled to maximum benefits can get extra funding at private colleges or universities participating in the Yellow Ribbon program. The government will match grants given by these schools, up to 50 percent of costs above the highest public-school tuition in the state.
For more information, see the Department of Veterans Affairs Web site (www.gibill.va.gov). The nonprofit group Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America also helps veterans navigate these new benefits (www.NEWGIBill.org).