Expanded GI Bill Opens Opportunities at TAMIU

Expanded GI Bill Will Open
Opportunities at TAMIU

This week’s observation of Veterans Day also serves to remind that the “21st Century GI Bill,” will go into effect August 2009, signaling new opportunities for higher education for veterans, Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) officials said.

TAMIU dean of Student Success Dr. Minita Ramirez said that in the past those using GI Bill benefits often found their choices for higher education limited.

“The expanded GI Bill now makes possible tuition and fees at all Texas public universities, offering twice the amount of money than the previous GI Bill and will encourage more veterans to come to the University to begin or finish their degrees,” Dr. Ramirez said.

“History shows that the first GI Bill helped encourage nearly 8 million returning service members to better themselves through higher education, changing our nation and enlarging the middle class measurably. Here in Laredo, entire family futures changed with the GI Bill. While this expanded Bill will impact a smaller number, estimated at 450,000, the doubling of benefits opens up all of higher education at all levels, with the potential to change lives again,” Ramirez said.

In addition to tuition and fees, the Bill, approved by Congress in June, also pays a cost of living stipend on a monthly basis and provides assistance for books. All fees are paid upfront to the University of choice and there is no required buy-in on the part of the veteran.

To qualify, veterans must have served 36 months of active duty after Sept. 11, 2001. Those serving less get a reduced portion of benefits. Veterans have up to 15 years to use the benefits and may be able to transfer unused benefits to family members.

At TAMIU, based on current tuition and fees for full-time students (12-hour course load), qualified veterans receiving 100 percent of benefit pay could expect up to $2,248.50 for tuition, and up to $500 for books. Those enrolling for two semesters could receive a combined total of $5,497 for tuition and books. In addition, the GI Bill provides a monthly housing allowance factored to the University area. Costs will be adjusted when the program begins August 2009 to reflect 2009 fees and housing costs.

TAMIU has dedicated a special Web site that provides full information on Veterans Benefits at TAMIU, including helpful links and contacts, at tamiu.edu/affairs/registrar/veterans

Returning service members can also visit the TAMIU Office of the Registrar, located in Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library room 168, or call 956.326.2254

Registrar Office hours are Monday and Tuesday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Wednesday and Thursday, 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at prmis@tamiu.edu