Forever GI Bill -- Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act
The President signed into law the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act also known as the “Forever GI Bill,” which will bring significant changes to Veterans education benefits. The law is named after the American Legion national commander who wrote the original GI Bill language in 1944, and will allow more Veterans to use the GI Bill and more time to use it. Some of the changes will go into effect immediately, most will not. The majority of the changes enhance or expand education benefits for Veterans, Servicemembers, Families and Survivors. See our simple breakdowns to a portion of the provisions.
Some new provisions that go into effect immediately include:
- The 15-year time limitation to use Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits is eliminated for Veterans who left active duty on or after January 1, 2013, children who became eligible for the Fry Scholarship on or after January 1, 2013, and all Fry scholarship eligible spouses.
- We are now authorized to restore benefits and provide relief to Veterans affected by school closures or disapprovals. Learn more and apply here.
- Reservists who had eligibility under the Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP) and lost it due to the program sunset provision will have that service credited toward the Post-9/11 GI Bill program. We are in the process of identifying the approximately 2,800 Reservists affected by this and will send them letters with instructions.
- Certain work-study is permanently authorized; previously it had to be re-approved by Congress every few years.
- Anyone eligible for GI Bill can use their benefits at an accredited independent study program at an area career and technical school, or a postsecondary vocational school providing postsecondary level education. There is no action for you to take here, as these programs will go through the normal course of approval by the appropriate State Approving Agency. Any new programs will be added to our GI Bill Comparison Tool.
- The VetSuccess on Campus program will be available to students across the country
- VA will help Veterans to more clearly identify schools that offer them priority enrollment
For detailed eligibility and application information, visit the Veterans Affairs Web site at www.benefits.va.gov/gibill, or call toll free at 1-888-442-4551 (1-888-GIBILL1).