New GI Bill Opens New Doors to Vets
By Jon Jordan, NEWS 9
OKLAHOMA CITY -- A new GI Bill will make it cheaper and easier for veterans to train for a new career.
Former member of the Armed Forces Marisa Shea makes her living by bartending since getting out of the military nearly three years ago. Shea said she works at night so she can save up to go to school by day.
Under the old GI Bill, military members had 30 to 60 percent of their tuition covered. But under the new GI Bill, Shea will not only be the first person in her family to attend college but she will also be able to choose the college she wants attend, including ones she never thought possible. The cost for Shea will be absolutely nothing.
"It's going to actually allow me to go to a Division I college, one of the best colleges in the state. If I want to go to OU, I will be able to do that financially," Shea said.
And unlike the previous GI bill, active reserve military who have also served at least three years in Iraq or Afghanistan will get to enjoy the same kind of benefits.
"When they returned they would have received very different benefits. Now under this program because it's based on active service, those individuals can end up receiving the same benefits," said Keith Wilson, Education Director of Veteran Affairs.
The benefits include full tuition, housing, plus a $1,000 annual textbook allowance.
Those benefits are what Shea said will help fulfill her dream of becoming a nurse.
"I wouldn't be able to go to school without it," Shea said.
Veterans who have served less than three years since September 11 can still qualify for a percentage of benefits or can continue benefits under the old GI Bill.