The cost of higher education can sometimes be discouraging, especially for veterans coming back from serving overseas, and looking to jump start their futures. “When you come back, you really want to re-enter life, and have the skills to support yourself and your family,” said Cape Fear Community College Dean and veteran Robert Philpott. “The best way to get those skills is to come back to college.”
Justin Labrake is a student at Cape Fear Community College, and an Army veteran. He used the first GI Bill to help pay his tuition at CFCC. Now he wants to use the Post 9/11 GI Bill to pursue a degree at UNCW. “Once you get out of the Army, anything is possible. You can pursue a career, you can pursue educational goals,” he said.
The new GI Bill will open more education doors for veterans. Unlike the old one, the new bill will pay for tuition plus a stipend for housing, books and supplies. “Tuition is one thing, but you’ve also got to have a place to live, if you’ve got a family, you’ve got medical bills and you’ve got to buy food,” Philpott said.
The new Post 9/11 GI Bill applies to individuals who entered the military after September 11th, 2001, and spent at least 90 days on active duty, or who were discharged with a service-related disability. In a time when finding a job is tough, the new bill will help ease the financial burden for those who have put their education on hold – to serve our country.
“We’ve heard from other colleges and the services that we should anticipate what some call a tidal wave of returning veterans because again they are intelligent, they are motivated they want to get the skills and they want to get a start and what a better place to start,” Philpott said.
The original GI Bill is still available for those who entered the military after 1985, and were honorably discharged less than 10 years ago.
The major difference between the two programs is that the Post 9/11 bill includes funding for school-related expenses beyond tuition.