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Reporting In Sir! Getting the most from your GI Bill benefits

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Reporting In Sir! Getting the most from your GI Bill benefits

By Jerry Field

"Reporting in, Sir!" Columnist and Veterans Affairs Editor Jerry Field

“Reporting in, Sir!” Columnist and Veterans Affairs Editor Jerry Field

The individual educational institution for military tuition is governed by the institution. However, most state and public colleges will offer all military students “in-district tuition”.  The ordinance reads “There is no state statue or policy governing tuition rates for non-resident military personnel.  Illinois public universities have historically waived the non-resident portion of tuition for active duty military personnel and their families stationed and serving in Illinois”. This also applies to all state funded community colleges, all 47 of the state colleges.  Often private colleges may offer reduced rates as well, though this is not the norm. This leads to the basic rule of ask and you might receive.  Don’t be bashful to ask what the resident rate and what the non-resident rate as well. Be sure receiving the tuition charges you are entitled to receive.

Consider that if you are on any of the many GI Bill Veterans education programs, you are most likely are only person on campus paying full cash tuition. Almost all other students have loans, grants, scholarships and work study programs. To say the least, some colleges are more interested in gross revenue than your service in the military.

In district tuition means that if you see a course at any community college in your district or not, you can ask as a Veteran, active or honorability discharged or an active reserve to obtain “in district tuition”. Often in district tuition is about half the cost of out of district tuition.  This translates to saving more of your GI Bill funds available to pay for a Masters degree if you desire. A Master’s degree is often a plus when looking for a management position.

If you are having a problem, call your local VA office at the State of Illinois hot line at 1 800 899 4722. Or if you have a question, drop an e-mail to this column at [email protected]

When looking to earn a college degree, your military training is a plus. Most colleges will offer you credit for courses taken and passed while on active duty or reserve programs.  The programs are more than likely reviewed by the American Council on Education, (ACE) and are transferable to your college transcript. ACE credits, unless for a specific technical program, are usually counted as electives. Many are considered technical courses and fulfill the technical portion of an AAS degree. If you have computer certifications, auto technical courses, any of the many logistics programs, you may obtain credit or can earn credit by examination.  Medics and other technical programs have a special process for certification in civilian life. The more military obtained credits you can place on your transcript the faster you’ll earn a degree.

There are three major benefits offered to Veterans. The VA Medical care programs, GI Bill for education and home buying program. You earned the benefits, use them wisely and fully.

EVENTS:                                    from the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs (IDVA)

June 27       Marine Corps League State Convention - Springfield, IL

June 28      Sons of the American Legion State Convention - Matoon, IL

July 4         Independence Day - State Offices Closed Attend a local event

July 11        Hiring Our Heroes Hiring Fair - Springfield, IL

July 12        Jewish War Veterans Illinois State Convention - Niles, IL

 July 13       Veteran Stand Down 5k RUN!/Walk - A Safe Haven - Chicago, IL

July 23-24  IJF Military Immersion Training - Marseilles Training Center

Attend several of the many July 4th celebrations. Wear your Veterans Group hat or jacket. And join a Veterans group.

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Jerry Field

Veteran's Affairs Editor at Illinois News Online
Jerry Field is an award winning Chicago writer and former military veteran. Email him at [email protected]