As time wore on, my resumes appeared to be sucked into the vortex of a highly underemployed county; however, lucky for me, the G.I bill earned me a net profit while I attended college. I continued and continue even now to search for employment, with a few optimistic interviews and no call-backs interrupting my search. And so it is that I am now working on a graduate degree, primarily for the income from the G.I. Bill (though I thoroughly enjoy my experience). The way that the now old-fashioned G.I. Bill works is that I get paid about $1500 a month for college as a full time student while I attend classes. I also have a bit of a topper added to my contract, so I get a little more. If my tuition is low, as it has been, I pay for my tuition myself and the Veterans Affairs pays me the check, which in my case, is more than the cost of tuition. As it stands, I will be eligible to use one year of the new-fashioned Post 9/11 G.I. Bill once I use my Montgomery G.I. Bill.
To a certain extent, this extra income has been amazing. While I hope that I can earn a decent paying job, I know that until any employer understands me as a candidate and hires me, I have zero educational debt and I am contributing to our household income. I will not be desperate to earn a high dollar figure because of that. So, having become a pretty big supporter of Bernie Sander's approach on democracy, grass-roots campaigning, and his fight for the three most important issues facing the ability of young Americans to work, health-care, parental leave, and educational funding, a giant question flew out of my old-fashioned G.I. Bill earning self:
How would a President Bernie Sanders deal with veterans' G.I. Bill benefits if state colleges and universities were tuition free?
The answer is with the new-fashioned Post 9/11 G.I. Bill. I mentioned that bill earlier, because service members with a certain length of service who had the old fashioned G.I Bill (such as I have) could opt to switch to the new one or can use their regular G.I. Bill then be eligible for one year of the new one.
So what's the new-fashioned Post 9/11 G.I. Bill?
The Post 9/11 G.I. Bill works very differently than the Montgomery G.I. Bill. In my case, I pay for my tuition out of pocket, verify my enrollment with the VA, then earn a check each month, regardless of the cost of tuition. If I go to a low-cost college, I stand a good chance of earning more than the cost. If I go to school full time and my semester tuition cost me, say $2,000, I pay tuition, then for the next four months of a 16 week semester, I will earn the current monthly rate of tuition for a full-time student under the G.I Bill, which, as of 2015 is $1789 per month. The total payout over the course of sixteen weeks is $6605, minus the tuition is $4605, earning me a net profit of $1247 a month (not including the cost of books).
With the new-fangled Post 9/11 G.I. Bill, there are a lot of awesome benefits, including the ability of career service members to transfer benefits to dependants; however, it works differently than the Montgomery G.I. Bill. With the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill, the VA pays the college for tuition directly. Then, the veteran who attends a brick and mortar school for a certain percentage of his or her classes also receives the full allowance for housing that the government normally pays to enlisted members of pay grade E-5 with dependents for the location of the school. The housing allowance varies based on the cost of living, but as an example, where I live the basic allowance for housing (BAH) for an E-5 with dependents is $1371.00 per month. Students who attend college completely online will only receive $714.50 a month.
If the students receive free tuition to their school under the Post 9/11 G.I. bill, they are still eligible to receive the housing allowance as well as the book stipend, though the VA will no pay any additional money to the school. In short, the student will pay no out of pocket costs and will also receive a monthly payment.
In short, the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill, Introduced by Senator Jim Webb (D-VA), with 57 co-sponsors, including Senator Bernie Sanders, presents a solid foundation for changing the way we perceive public education by allowing veterans to benefit even when state colleges and universities are tuition free, because there would surely need to be a big change to the old-fashioned Montgomery G.I. Bill in terms of costs and benefits to veterans.