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Here Are Answers to Questions on How Uncle Sam Will Help Eligible Veterans Get More Education


Letters to ALL HANDS from naval personnel in all parts of the world indicate that the educational provisions are among the most widely discussed benefits of the GI Bill of Rights (Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944).

Couched in highly technical phrases at some points, this Bill has been the subject of much misstatement and misinterpretation.

From the many letters received, ALL HANDS has chosen a representative list of questions covering practically every phase of the educational provisions of the bill.

Through these provisions, the GI Bill now provides the necessary expense and subsistence allowances to enable eligible veterans to continue their education or to take courses of training to prepare them for employment or a profession.

Which brings up the first question:

WHO is eligible?

Any person who has been in active service on or after 16 Sept. 1940 and prior to the termination of the war is eligible, provided he is released or discharged under conditions other than dishonorable and that his service was for 90 days or more. Persons with less than 90 days' service are eligible if they were discharged for an actual service-incurred disability.

Are Waves, Spars, nurses and members of the Marine Corps Women's Reserve eligible?

All members of the armed services, regardless of rank, rate or branch, are eligible if they meet the conditions above.

What kind of education or training can you get under the GI Bill?

You can attend any educational or training institution approved by the Veterans Administration. You can go to a scientific, professional, business or technical school or college. You can go to grammar school or high school. You can train for a vocation in a specialized vocational school or take apprentice training on-the-job to learn a trade. You can take refresher or training courses to brush up on things you may have got rusty on. The range of choice is almost unlimited.

Can a veteran make his own choice of a school or is he restricted to a certain district, such as his home state?

A veteran can go to school anywhere he pleases so long as the school is one recognized by the Veterans Administration, and all reputable schools and institutions of recognized standing are likely to be approved. (However, the Veterans Administration will make no tuition payments to businesses or other establishments furnishing apprentice training on-the-job. You can get the monthly subsistence allowance, though; see later questions on this.)

Are schools and universities in foreign countries included?

Yes; Veterans Administration has granted permission for eligible veterans to attend recognized schools and universities in any part of the world. Tuition, expenses and subsistence will be paid just as if you were attending a school in the U. S.

For HOW LONG a period may a veteran attend school?

This point seems to have caused as much confusion as any. It gets a little clearer if you tackle it step by step.

What kind of service does NOT count in determining eligibility either for the first year of training or for additional training?

In computing your active service, the GI Bill says you cannot count any time spent in education or training under the Army specialized training program (ASTP) or the Navy college training program IF the course was a continuation of your civilian course AND was pursued to completion; also not to be counted is time spent as a cadet or midshipman at one of the service academies. (If you were an architect but took up medical training in the Navy college program, the time would therefore be counted. Similarly, if you studied medicine in civilian life, went on studying it in the Navy, but were transferred to something else before finishing your course, the time would also count.)

Photograph from Veterans Administration
GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY class includes several veterans studying under the GI Bill. What college he goes to is the veteran's own choice.

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Are veterans who were on active duty in either the regular Navy or Naval Reserve prior to 16 Sept. 1940 eligible?

Yes, if they had at least 90 days' service and if any part of that service came on or after 16 Sept. 1940.

If they'd stayed in the service (or reenlisted) and had been on active duty since 16 Sept. 1940, would they now be eligible for the maximum four years' educational benefits?

Yes, providing they were not over 25 on 16 Sept. 1940. (Otherwise they are limited to one year of free schooling unless they can prove their education was interrrupted or interfered with by going i n t o the service.) After completing their first year's educational training satisfactorily, they would then be entitled to additional training not to exceed their time spent in active service from 16 Sept. 1940 to the end of the war (maximum schooling: 4 years).

How much of the cost of education or training will the Government actually pay?

Veterans Administration provides two types of financial aid: tuition and expenses, payable to the school, and a subsistence allowance, payable to the veteran. Here's what is provided under each:

Tuition and expenses. Veterans Administration will pay expenses of tuition, laboratory, library, health, infirmary and similar customary fees, and of books, supplies and other necessary equipment, not to exceed a total of $500 a school year. Transportation, lodging and board are not included.

Subsistence. A veteran without dependents is entitled to $50 monthly subsistence allowance; a veteran with a dependent or dependents gets $75 monthly.

Can a veteran go to a school where these expenses amount to more than $500 a year?

Yes, but he must bear the additional cost himself.

If the tuition and expenses amount to less than $500, does the veteran keep the difference?

No. Whatever the expenses may be, whether $500 or less, Veterans Administration pays them direct to the school, not to the veteran.

If both a man and his wife are eligible veterans, will both be eligible for the subsistence' allowance?

Yes; they will receive a total of $125 monthly. The husband will get $75 a month because he has a dependend (wife) and the wife will be entitled to $50 a month as an individual veteran. However, if the wife has a child or if she has any other proven dependent, she too is eligible for the larger amount.

Do you get the same GI Bill benefits for apprentice training on-the-job as for formal schooling?

Veterans Administration does not pay tuition and expenses to institutions, businesses or other establishments furnishing apprentice training on the job. However, a qualified veteran who wishes to take up apprenticeship training may receive a subsistence allowance from the Federal Government the same as if he were going to a school ($50 a month without dependents, $75 with). An apprentice may not receive more from his wages and Government payments combined than the normal journeyman's wage in that trade, so if necessary, as his apprentice's wages increase, the Government allowance is reduced.

Does a "year" of education mean a calendar year or a school year?

A "year" of education or training under the GI Bill means actually a full calendar year of 12 months, and not just the "ordinary school year," which is usually around nine months. This provision, often overlooked, gives you more education than generally supposed.

For instance, a man entitled to the minimum "one year" of education is entitled to twelve months of it; he could take the normal school year of nine months and still have three months' schooling coming to him if he wished it.

A man entitled to the maximum "four years" schooling would actually be able to go to school or college on this basis for 48 months - which would be more than five "school years" of nine months each.

Do you get your subsistence and tuition on the basis of a calendar year or a school year?

Your subsistence allowance would go on during all months you were at school, but would not, for example, continue during a three-month vacation period. (However, the allowance is paid during all regular school holidays and leave, such as Christmas vacations, etc., not exceeding 30 days in a calendar year.)

The $500 (maximum) tuition and expenses is payable on the basis of the "ordinary school year" so that you would have this paid for you for every school year you attend.

Can you attend school part-time under the GI Bill? How do the tuition and subsistence allowances work out?

If you wish to follow a part-time course, you may do so, and the time you are allowed is increased to give you the equivalent of the fulltime course permitted by law. Example: a veteran going to school halftime is entitled to tuition and subsistence only at the half-time rate, but may continue the course twice as long.

Is there any time limit within which a veteran must apply for educational benefits following his discharge?

Courses must begin not later than two years after discharge or after the termination of the war, whichever date is the later, and must be completed within seven years afer the war ends.

Can you get any benefits under the GI Bill while you are still in service?

No; benefits of the bill are available only to veterans.

Photograph from Veterans Administration
TUITION and expenses of college education are provided these two ex-servicemen by GI Bill. Bill covers grammar, high and vocational schools also.

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Is a Navy man who intends to remain in the service excluded from the benefits of the GI Bill unless he leaves the service within a period of two years after the war?

No; note that the time provision of the law above says you must start your course of education or training within two years of (a) your discharge or (b) the end of the war, whichever date is later. However, since no course under the law can extend more than seven years after the termination of the war, you can figure how long you could stay in and still be eligible. (Maximum four-year course, for example, would have to be started three years after the war ended to be completed within seven years.)

Incidentally, Navy men who remain in the service are not exactly cut off from educational possibilities, as they will probably be able to take off-duty courses and correspondence courses, valuable in themselves or in preparation for any later training they may want to take in school, college or industry. And that is in addition, of course, to any training they get in their ratings.

A regular Navy man's term of enlistment may expire a year or more following release of USNR personnel. Does he still get the same GI Bill opportunities?

Yes, if he meets the time limit described above.

Suppose a man enters the Navy a month after his graduation from high school and goes immediately into V-12 training. If he bilges out of V-12 but remains in the Navy, is he still eligible for educational benefits under the GI Bill?

Yes, and in computing his time spent in active service, he could then include the time spent in V-12, as the course was not "pursued to completion" (see previous question on this angle).

Are members of Fleet Reserve and retired regular Navy, who are receiving retirement pay, eligible for education benefits?

Yes, they are eligible for tuition payments and subsistence allowance in addition to retired pay - but they are not eligible for subsistence allowance if they are receiving veteran's pension. All veterans of the present war who meet the service and other general qualifications stated earlier are eligible for GI benefits, regulars and reserves of all classes alike.

If there's a "bonus" for servicemen later, will that affect our GI Bill benefits, and if so, how?

It will. The GI Bill provides that if there is hereafter authorized any adjusted compensation, or "bonus," any benefits received by or paid for a veteran under the GI Bill must be deducted first.

Disabled veterans are entitled not only to education or training under the GI Bill but also to vocational rehabilitation under the Vocational' Rehabilitation

Act of 1943. Cain they get both? Which is preferable?

A disabled veteran eligible for educational benefits under the GI Bill and also for vocational rehabilitation under Public Law 16, enacted 24 March 1943, may choose either or both BUT may not receive any more under the GI Bill than the additional pension to which he would be entitled anyway under Public 16. In choosing between them, here are three main factors to be considered:

  1. Under the vocational rehabilitation program, a disabled veteran can get up to four full years of free schooling, including transportation to the school, and his pension is increased during training to $92 a month if single, $103.50 if married, with an added allowance of $5.75 extra for each child, $11.50 for each dependent parent.
  2. There is no $500 ceiling on his tuition and expenses, as under the GI Bill.
  3. Any advantages he gets under Public 16 are not deductible from his future adjusted compensation or bonus, if any, whereas the GI Bill specifies that any benefits received under it are deductible from any future bonus which may be authorized.

If you take a job on the side while you are at school, does that disqualify you from receiving subsistence allowance under the GI Bill? Or is your allowance cut down in any way?

Veterans Administration says it cuts down on the allowance only if you are attending the school on a part-time basis or if you receive compensation for work done as part of your training. If you took a spare-time job that didn't take up so much time that it could be regarded as interfering with your main purpose - getting an education - your allowance would not be cut.

Will men under 25, who held a college degree before entering the service, still be eligible for GI Bill education?

Yes, since a man entering service under 25 is automatically presumed to have had his education interrupted or interfered with. It is not necessary to furnish proof that you were planning to continue your education. Men under 25 who were signed by the Navy but deferred until they got their degrees are similarly eligible if otherwise qualified.

How can I get further information about my benefits under the GI Bill, if not covered above?

The Navy has a Civil Readjustment Program which in general undertakes to inform the veteran at the time of his discharge of all his rights and benefits, including those under the GI Bill. For any specific questions of eligibility under the Bill, not covered above, ask your Educational Services Officer or write to the Veterans Administration, Washington 25, D. C.

Is Congress planning any changes in the GI Bill?

Several are under consideration. The House has passed legislation raising the subsistence allowances (from $50 to $60, and from $75 to $85) and extending the length of time in which you can apply. This, however, will require both Senate and Presidential approval. Any changes in GI Bill provisions will be reported promptly in ALL HANDS.

Photograph from Veterans Administration
APPRENTICE TRAINING proviso of GI Bill gives these veterans in an airplane plant $50 to $75 subsistence a month in addition to their apprentice's pay.


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