New perks from the GI bill have area service men and women giving more serious thought to higher education.
Biology class at UNCW for Allison Westpfahl is a far cry from her days serving in the Marines.
As of June, she ended active duty as a helicopter technician. She says once the call of duty has quieted, many service men and women wonder what’s next. “Where do I go from here? Do I get a job? Do I go to school? With the post 9/11 GI bill going back to school is made incredibly easy.”
And she’s not the only one.
Enrollment for veterans is on the rise at UNCW now that the new bill went into effect.
The new post 9/11 GI bill extends the education benefits of military members seeking higher education.
“It’s a lot easy than the Chapter 33 which was the old GI bill. You are not having to pay the university yourself, the GI bill pays your tuition upfront instead of getting reimbursed for it monthly,” Westpfahl said.
Anne Marie Beal, UNCW’s associate director of admissions said, “Where a lot of them would either put off for school or they might decide to go to a community college, this now allows them the financial flexibility.”
The new GI bill benefits go much further than just tuition. Veterans now receive funding for housing expenses, books, and can even extend the benefits to family members.
“I think it’s really positive. I’m enjoying my classes, the people I’ve been working with. I think I will do really well,” Westpfahl said.
The original GI bill is still available for anyone who entered the military after 1985.
The major difference between the two programs is that the post 9/11 bill includes funding for school related expenses beyond tuition.