GI Bill Still a Work in Progress

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The new GI Bill, the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008, has been a source of trouble since President Bush signed it into law two years ago. It contained plans that were supposed to do really astonishing things like exempt veterans from any out-of-pocket costs.

But the program’s been run so inefficiently that veteran students frequently didn’t get the money in time to actually pay for college. One congressman called the delays troublesome and “troubling” and said America might need another law because, “We want to find a technical amendment that doesn’t make the problem worse.”

Well about that new law: According to an article by Rick Maze in Army Times:

In the face of a growing pile of ideas for changing the Post-9/11 GI Bill, the head of Veterans Affairs Department’s education service, [Keith Wilson], is asking Congress hold off on any significant revisions to the education benefit until next year.

[Wilson] said he understands there are lots of ideas, many of them good ones, about improving the program, but that making changes before December could interfere with efforts to develop and deploy an automated system for calculating and paying benefits.

The proposed changes mostly involve expanding the program to pay for vocational training.

Wilson preferred that Congress delay making any changes until “after successful deployment of the payment system in December 2010.” That’s nine months from now. Seriously, what’s wrong with this program?

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer