Archives for June 2012

Minnesota Military Education Benefits

Minnesota GI Bill:
The Minnesota G.I. Bill program is a new program in 2007 established to provide postsecondary educational assistance to eligible Minnesota veterans who served on or after September 11, 2001. Full-time undergraduate or graduate students may be eligible receive up to $1,000 per semester and part-time students can receive up to $500 per semester.
Eligibility: You must be a Minnesota resident enrolled at Minnesota institutions who is a: veteran serving or has served honorably in any branch of the United States armed forces at any time on or after September 11, 2001, or;
Non-veteran who has served honorably for a total of five years or more cumulatively as a member of the Minnesota National Guard or any other active or reserve component of the United States armed forces, and any part of that service occurred on or after September 11, 2001, or;
Surviving spouse or children of a person who has served in the military at any time on or after September 11, 2001, and who has died or has a total and permanent disability as a direct result of that military service.

Aid for Active Duty Military Personnel Stationed in Minnesota:
According to State law, members of the United States Armed Forces on active federal military service stationed in Minnesota and their spouses and dependents are considered Minnesota residents and therefore eligible to participate in the Minnesota State Grant and other Minnesota financial aid programs provided they meet the other program eligibility guidelines. You may be eligible for additional benefits from your branch of military service.

Minnesota National Guard Tuition and
Textbook Reimbursement:

A portion of tuition and textbooks is reimbursed directly to the soldier upon satisfactory completion of the coursework. Receive up to 80% of the tuition and textbook cost at any VA approved school. Maximum benefit is 80% of the per credit rate at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities Campus.б University of Minnesota = $50.00/75.00 per quarter/semester credit б State Universities = $34.00/51.00 per quarter/semester credit б Community Colleges = $28.00/42.00 per quarter/semester creditб Technical Colleges = $ 28.00/42.00 per quarter/semester credit б Schools reporting in clock hours = $1.35 per clock hour.
Eligibility: Minnesota National Guard members (O-3 and below).

Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs
Veterans Service Building, 2nd Floor
20 West 12th Street
St. Paul, MN 55155
Phone: 651-757-1569
Fax: 651-296-3954

Vets Shop for Healthy Food at Palo Alto Farmer’s Market

Market Grows in Popularity with Vets Looking for Healthy Alternatives

A bustling farmer’s market has become an important part of campus life at the VA Palo Alto, Calif. Health Care System.

The popular market helps Veterans and employees at the VA medical center to find fresh, healthy foods, provides a social gathering place in the sun, allows inpatients to get out for a stroll with their families, and much more.

It’s an idea that is spreading.

The Palo Alto team helped the San Francisco VA Medical Center start their farmer’s market which opened in May and is also a huge success.

According to Dr. Wendy Thanassi, chief of Occupational Health, the farmer’s market was created to provide Veterans and employees with healthy food options and an education on the benefits of locally grown and organic foods to promote healthy eating choices.

Dr. Thanassi noted that there was a large increase in the number of Veterans and employees who tried foods they had never tasted or cooked before. “More than 60 percent of our employees now say they are eating and buying more fresh foods as a result of the farmer’s market.”

A survey of over 600 employees showed that 85 percent reported increased job satisfaction due to having the farmer’s market on campus.

Dr. Thanassi loves telling other VA locations how the Palo Alto project works and has presented the details of her farmer’s market at two national conferences. She adds, “We are happy to help other VA Medical Centers that might be interested in exploring their options.”

“The farmer’s market was created to provide Veterans and employees with healthy food options.”

— Dr. Wendy Thanassi, Director of Occupational Health

The market is held every week from April to November, right in front of the main entrance.

Vets and employees are serenaded each week while shopping by the VAPA Arts musicians (a musical group made up of VA employees) and local groups. A recent Wednesday featured the music of the Rattlesnake Ridge Band.

The organizer is the Pacific Coast Farmer’s Market Association, which selects the vendors from all over California and does all of the set-up and clean-up. The Association also assisted with the start up of the San Francisco market. And there was a hearty round of applause for Canteen Services Chief Terrell Sorter who was instrumental in making it happen.

The booths feature disabled Veteran gardeners, goat cheese makers, homemade pies, orchids, organic fruits and vegetables, bread products, and homemade olive oils. Food stamps are accepted, and their value is doubled when purchasing fruits and vegetables.

One vendor who offers bolani (stuffed flatbread) is an Afghani woman who came to America alone at age 19.

Dr. Thanassi adds, “I like having the family from Afghanistan here interacting with our OEF/OIF Veterans and I love her strength in coming to America and becoming a very successful entrepreneur.”

Find additional information such as recipes and nutritional advice on the market’s website.

Source Article from http://www.va.gov/health/NewsFeatures/20120628a.asp

VA Extends Verification Term for Veteran Entrepreneurs




















VA Extends Verification Term for Veteran Entrepreneurs


June 29, 2012



Two Years to Help Efficiency, Accountability


WASHINGTON– The Department of Veterans Affairs is doubling the amount of time before the owners of service-disabled, Veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSB) and Veteran-owned small businesses (VOSB) must re-verify with VA that they are, in fact, owned and operated by qualified Veterans and other legal requirements.


“The community of Veteran-owned businesses and businesses owned by service-disabled Veterans is a vital partner with VA and the federal government,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “To ensure we have improved our verification policies and processes, I have directed that VA simplify the verification process immediately and move from an annual to a biennial re-verification – every two years.”


The interim final rule, which took effect June 27, will benefit thousands of small businesses by reducing the uncertainty and administrative burden associated with a yearly verification cycle.  Public comments on this interim final rule may be submitted within the next 60 days.


By increasing the verification period to two years, SDVOSBs and VOSBs will be able to plan and operate their companies more efficiently and effectively instead of working within the current 12-month business cycle.  Under this interim final rule, businesses at the end of their two-year verification period would be required to be re-verified through VA’s Center for Veterans Enterprise (CVE). 


In 2011, VA awarded $3.2 billion in contracts to VOSBs and SDVOSBs.  To participate in VA’s Veterans First program, a Veteran-owned and controlled small business must be verified as an eligible firm by initiating and completing the application process with CVE through the web-based Vendor Information Pages database.  Information about the process for verification can be found on the VA website at http://www.vetbiz.gov/.


Businesses removed from the VIP database that were verified from June 2010 to December 2010 will have their remaining months added to coincide with their one year extension via the interim change. 


These designated businesses will be required to re-verify within 120 days of their expiration date.  All future applications for re-verification will be required to submit a complete set of new documentation with each application.


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Reviewed/Updated Date: June 29, 2012


Source Article from http://www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/PressArtInternet.cfm?id=2348

VA Selects Site for the New Louisville Replacement Hospital









VA Selects Site for the New Louisville Replacement Hospital


June 29, 2012



WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs has selected a site to serve as the location of a 21st century medical center in Louisville, Ky., replacing an existing 60-year-old facility.


“This new hospital will provide state-of-the-art health care for the Veterans of Louisville and the surrounding 35-county region,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki.  “At VA, we’re committed to upgrading our facilities, programs and technologies to ensure our patients receive the best care anywhere.”


The site for the new VA medical center is located in Jefferson County, adjacent to the Brownsboro Road and I-264 interchange.  That location is close to the current Robley Rex VA Medical Center and the downtown University of Louisville Hospital. 


Now that the site has been selected, VA will undertake master planning and design.  The facility is expected to cost about $883 million and open in late 2017 or early 2018.


The new medical center will have 110 inpatient beds and clinics specializing in primary care, surgery, and mental health.  The new facility will also have a geriatric and extended care program, a home-based primary care program, and a substance abuse residential rehabilitation treatment program.


VA operates one of the nation’s largest integrated health care systems in the country.  With a health care budget of about $50 billion, VA expects to provide care to 6.3 million patients during 920,000 hospitalizations and nearly 90 million outpatient visits this year.  VA’s health care network includes 152 major medical centers and more than 800 community-based outpatient clinics.


Last year, VA spent more than $1.9 billion on behalf of Kentucky’s 331,000 Veterans.  In addition to the Louisville facility, VA operates a two-campus medical center in Lexington, nearly two dozen community-based outpatient clinics across the state, Vet Centers in Louisville and Lexington, and seven national cemeteries.


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Source Article from http://www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/PressArtInternet.cfm?id=2349

Joint VA/DOL Veterans Retraining Assistance Program Reaches Important Milestone – Over 25,000 Unemployed Veterans Have Applied









Joint VA/DOL Veterans Retraining Assistance Program Reaches Important Milestone – Over 25,000 Unemployed Veterans Have Applied


June 28, 2012



Online Site Opened May 15 for Veterans to Apply for Education Benefits


WASHINGTON – More than 25,000 unemployed Veterans between the ages of 35 and 60 have already applied for new benefits to cover education costs for up to one year through a joint Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Labor (DOL) program that focuses on retraining up to 99,000 Veterans for high-demand jobs.


“This important milestone demonstrates how meaningful this tool will be to help our Nation’s unemployed Veterans receive the education and training they need to find rewarding employment in a high-demand career field,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “Veterans realize this is a great opportunity to hone the skills they need to be competitive in the job market, and this program contributes directly to enhancing the strength of our Nation’s economy.”


Forty-five thousand Veterans can start receiving benefits during the current fiscal year.  VA began accepting applications on May 15.  A maximum of 54,000 billets will be available for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, 2012.


“No veteran should have to fight for a job at home after fighting to protect our nation,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “This training program focused on high-demand jobs will help unemployed Veterans expand their skills and compete for good jobs that need them,” she added.


As part of a provision of the Veterans Opportunity to Work (VOW) to Hire Heroes Act of 2011, the Veteran Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP) allows qualifying Veterans to receive up to 12 months of assistance equal to the full-time Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty rate, currently $1,473 per month. 


Veterans can apply now on a first-come, first-serve basis for VRAP.  Unemployed Veterans should act quickly and apply online to avoid missing out on this great opportunity.  Assistance under this benefit program will end on March 31, 2014. 


To complete the application, Veterans must know their direct deposit information (bank routing number and account number), the name and location of the school they will attend, the program they wish to pursue, and the high-demand occupation they are working toward


To qualify Veterans must:


  • Be 35-60 years old, unemployed on the day of application, and not dishonorably discharged;

  • Start education or training after July 1, 2012, in a VA-approved program of education offered by a community college or technical school leading to an associate degree, non-college degree or a certificate for a high-demand occupation as defined by DOL;

  • Not be eligible for any other VA education benefit program, such as Post-9/11 GI Bill, Montgomery GI Bill, or Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment;

  • Not be enrolled in a federal or state job-training program within the last 180 days;

  • Not receive VA compensation at the 100 percent rate due to individual unemployability.


Upon completion, DOL will contact participants within 30 days after their training to help them find good jobs that use their newly learned skills.


“VA has many partners around the country who are helping us to spread the good news about this unique benefit, which provides our unemployed Veterans with the opportunity to obtain the skills they need to be competitive in the high-demand job market,” added Under Secretary for Benefits Allison A. Hickey.


“It is encouraging that we have reached this milestone; however, there are still nearly 20,000 slots to fill by September 30,” said Ismael “Junior” Ortiz, DOL’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Veterans Employment and Training Service.  “It is critical to continue to spread the word about this program to unemployed Veterans or those who may know an unemployed Veteran,” Ortiz adds.


For more information on VOW, VRAP, the definition of “high-demand occupations,” and how to apply, Veterans may go to the website at www.benefits.va.gov/VOW, or call VA’s Call Centers toll free at 1-800-827-1000. Veterans may also access the VRAP application online at https://www.ebenefits.va.gov through eBenefits, a joint project of the Department of Defense and VA.


Veterans are also encouraged to visit the nearly 3,000 One-Stop Career Centers across the nation for assistance. To find the center near you visit www.servicelocator.org. For more information about DOL’s Veterans programs, go to http://www.dol.gov/vets/.


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Source Article from http://www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/PressArtInternet.cfm?id=2347

States’ Attorneys General Action A Victory for Veterans and the GI Bill









States’ Attorneys General Action A Victory for Veterans and the GI Bill


June 27, 2012



WASHINGTON – Officials of the Department of Veterans Affairs applauded a decision by the attorneys general of several states to give VA the rights to use the GIBill.Com website, after the website’s original owners QuinStreet Inc. agreed to give up the internet site to settle a lawsuit by the states.


“This action is a victory for Veterans and a victory for the GI Bill.  Veterans and VA applaud the great work by the states’ attorneys general, along with Holly Petraeus and her team,” said W. Scott Gould, Deputy Secretary for Veterans Affairs. “We all want Veterans to be informed consumers and for schools to meet their obligations in training this Nation’s next ‘Greatest Generation.’”


Holly Petraeus is assistant director for service member affairs at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.


The attorneys general of several states had sued QuinStreet Inc., the owner of the GI Bill.com domain, charging it with deceptive practices by directing Veterans and Service Members on its website exclusively to for-profit schools that were clients of QuinStreet.


The announcement comes as VA is seeking legal authority to trademark the term GI Bill.  An executive order by President Obama on April 26 directed VA and the Department of Defense to undertake a number of measures to “stop deceptive and misleading” promotional efforts that target the GI Bill educational benefits of Service members, Veterans, and eligible family members and survivors.


The Post-9/11 GI Bill, which was authorized by Congress in 2008, is the most extensive educational assistance program since the original GI Bill was signed into law in 1944.  VA has issued nearly $20 billion in Post-9/11 GI Bill benefit payments to more than 759,000 people and their educational institutions.


All of VA’s education benefits are designed to be flexible and give Veterans the power of choice by enabling them to pursue college degrees, technical certifications, or vocational training according to their preferences and needs, at public, private non-profit and private for-profit schools. 


For-profit schools are held to the same approval standards as all other schools, and VA education programs at for-profit institutions are approved by the State Approving Agencies, which act independently on behalf of the federal government to ensure quality education and training is provided to Veterans within each state.


Gould said Veterans should not be recruited aggressively by institutions principally because of financial motives, and that VA’s and other federal and state agencies’ oversight activities provide strong monitoring.  VA is engaging with other federal agencies to provide this oversight, including the departments of Defense, Education, and Justice, as well as the Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.


            “VA looks forward to helping Veterans make informed decisions by accepting this gift of the GIBill.com domain.  We will continue to support our Veterans by helping them obtain the best education of their choosing—a right for which they have bravely served, and which they have rightly earned,” Gould said.


For more information on GI Bill programs, please visit www.GIBILL.va.gov or call 1-888-GI-Bill-1 (1-888-442-4551) to speak with a GI Bill representative. 


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Source Article from http://www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/PressArtInternet.cfm?id=2345

Ahead of July 4th, IAVA Launches Ambitious Veteran Support Fund (VSF) to Inject Critical Funding into New Veterans’ Community

Ahead of July 4th, IAVA Launches Ambitious Veteran Support Fund (VSF) to Inject Critical Funding into New Veterans’ Community

CONTACT: Michelle McCarthy (212) 982-9699 or michelle@iava.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

Follow IAVA on Twitter.com/IAVAPressRoom

Ahead of July 4th, IAVA Launches Ambitious Veteran Support Fund (VSF) to Inject Critical Funding into New Veterans’ Community

On National PTSD Day, $30 Million Campaign Challenges Americans to Support IAVA and Partners Operation Mend, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), Operation Homefront and National Military Family Association

NEW YORK—Today, in advance of the Fourth of July holiday, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the nation’s first and largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, launched the first of its kind Veteran Support Fund, a groundbreaking new initiative that challenges Americans to raise $30 million in support for critical nonprofit programs and resources benefitting Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their families. The Veteran Support Fund, pioneered by entrepreneurs and philanthropists Philip D. Green and his wife Dr. Elizabeth Cobbs, Glenn and Laurie Garland, and Jim and Patty Stimmel, establishes a centralized platform where Americans can support and donate to a consortium of effective and trusted best-in-class veterans’ organizations including IAVA, Operation Mend, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), Operation Homefront and the National Military Family Association.

“Ten years ago, someone else’s sons and daughters went to war. I was able to sleep at night dreaming of my kid’s medical school graduation while another parent was up all night worrying about whether their child would survive on patrol in Iraq or Afghanistan. As parents, my wife and I want to ensure that the sacrifices of these veterans and their families do not go unnoticed. Our family and children have enjoyed tremendous freedoms and success because these men and women put on the uniform—and they deserve more than a handshake when they get home,” said Philip D. Green, Co-Founder of The Veteran Support Fund and President of PDG Consulting. “Yet, our society does not do nearly enough to support them in return. Starting this innovative Veteran Support Fund is our attempt to level the playing field for new veterans and their families. All Americans, especially civilians, owe it to our veterans to make a financial sacrifice commensurate with the sacrifices that they have carried for our nation. My wife and I want to do everything in our capacity to turn the tide on giving to veterans and start a nationwide movement of Americans who can and will give back to Iraq and Afghanistan veterans because we owe them nothing less.”

“Supporting veterans isn’t charity, it’s an absolute necessity and an investment in our country’s future. After ten years of war, our nation’s military families are strained, nonprofit services are maxed out and our veterans’ community is severely under-resourced. We are at a watershed moment in the history of these wars and the Veteran Support Fund is the game-changer we need to transform support and resources at home,” said IAVA Founder and Executive Director Paul Rieckhoff. “As the war winds down in Afghanistan, we need a strong foundation of trusted, best-in-class nonprofit organizations working together to deliver diverse and critical resources across our community. Through their generous commitments, the Green, Garland and Stimmel families are stepping up to meet this challenge. They have challenged other Americans to follow their lead. IAVA and our partners are indebted to these Founders of the Veteran Support Fund for their inspiration, drive and support. Together, we will transform hundreds of thousands of veterans’ lives forever.”

The Founders

The Veteran Support Fund is the groundbreaking initiative of three generous and visionary families led by entrepreneurs and philanthropists Philip D. Green and his wife Dr. Elizabeth Cobbs, Glenn and Laurie Garland, and Jim and Patty Stimmel. As parents, whose children never served in uniform, they are determined to rally American families, foundations and corporations nationwide to impact and transform the lives of the 2.4 million veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. Their initial founding gifts totaling $1.1 million to launch the Veteran Support Fund are made possible in part by Geisinger Health System, the Mission Health System in Asheville North Carolina and Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP. To learn more about the Founders of the Veteran Support Fund and their mission, visit www.iava.org/vsf.

The Partners

The Veteran Support Fund currently consists of five partner organizations that touch the lives of veterans and their families in a tailored, critical way, ranging from offering free cutting-edge reconstructive surgery for wounded veterans to supporting the children and families of our fallen in Iraq and Afghanistan. All partners have 501(c)(3) status with critical missions, strong financial health, seasoned leaders, broad national impact and scalable models, and a high percentage of expenses strictly devoted to programming. The five partner organizations include:

  • Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) provides core health, education, employment and community programs to build an empowered generation of veteran leaders for our country and their local communities.
  • Operation Mend provides lifelong medical support to a limited number of critically injured Iraq and Afghanistan active and retiring service members and veterans.
  • Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) provides ongoing emotional help, hope, and healing to all who are grieving the death of a loved one in military service to America.
  • Operation Homefront provides emergency financial aid and other assistance to the families of service members and wounded warriors.
  • National Military Family Association (NMFA) fights for benefits and programs that strengthen and protect uniformed services families and reflect the Nation’s respect for their service.

The Veteran Support Fund encourages all Americans, especially civilians, to repay the special debt of gratitude we owe to veterans and their families. The Fund accepts all gifts regardless of amount from individuals, corporations, and foundations both public and private. To learn more about the Veteran Support Fund, visit www.iava.org/vsf.

On Wednesday, June 27th IAVA and the Founders of the Veteran Support Fund will host a special press roundtable about the initiative at 10am ET at IAVA Headquarters at 777 North Capitol Street NE, Suite 403 in Washington, D.C. Media interested in covering the event in person or calling into the press line must RSVP to michelle@iava.org.

If you are a member of the media who wishes to arrange an interview with IAVA Founder and Executive Director Paul Rieckhoff, the Founding Families of the Veteran Support Fund or an IAVA Member Veteran, please contact Michelle McCarthy at (212) 982-9699 or michelle@iava.org.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (www.IAVA.org) is the country’s first and largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and has more than 200,000 Member Veterans and civilian supporters nationwide.

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Vets Shop for Healthy Food at Palo Alto Farmer’s Market

Market Grows in Popularity with Vets Looking for Healthy Alternatives

A bustling farmer’s market has become an important part of campus life at the VA Palo Alto, Calif. Health Care System.

The popular market helps Veterans and employees at the VA medical center to find fresh, healthy foods, provides a social gathering place in the sun, allows inpatients to get out for a stroll with their families, and much more.

It’s an idea that is spreading.

The Palo Alto team helped the San Francisco VA Medical Center start their farmer’s market which opened in May and is also a huge success.

According to Dr. Wendy Thanassi, chief of Occupational Health, the farmer’s market was created to provide Veterans and employees with healthy food options and an education on the benefits of locally grown and organic foods to promote healthy eating choices.

Dr. Thanassi noted that there was a large increase in the number of Veterans and employees who tried foods they had never tasted or cooked before. “More than 60 percent of our employees now say they are eating and buying more fresh foods as a result of the farmer’s market.”

A survey of over 600 employees showed that 85 percent reported increased job satisfaction due to having the farmer’s market on campus.

Dr. Thanassi loves telling other VA locations how the Palo Alto project works and has presented the details of her farmer’s market at two national conferences. She adds, “We are happy to help other VA Medical Centers that might be interested in exploring their options.”

“The farmer’s market was created to provide Veterans and employees with healthy food options.”

— Dr. Wendy Thanassi, Director of Occupational Health

The market is held every week from April to November, right in front of the main entrance.

Vets and employees are serenaded each week while shopping by the VAPA Arts musicians (a musical group made up of VA employees) and local groups. A recent Wednesday featured the music of the Rattlesnake Ridge Band.

The organizer is the Pacific Coast Farmer’s Market Association, which selects the vendors from all over California and does all of the set-up and clean-up. The Association also assisted with the start up of the San Francisco market. And there was a hearty round of applause for Canteen Services Chief Terrell Sorter who was instrumental in making it happen.

The booths feature disabled Veteran gardeners, goat cheese makers, homemade pies, orchids, organic fruits and vegetables, bread products, and homemade olive oils. Food stamps are accepted, and their value is doubled when purchasing fruits and vegetables.

One vendor who offers bolani (stuffed flatbread) is an Afghani woman who came to America alone at age 19.

Dr. Thanassi adds, “I like having the family from Afghanistan here interacting with our OEF/OIF Veterans and I love her strength in coming to America and becoming a very successful entrepreneur.”

Find additional information such as recipes and nutritional advice on the market’s website.

Source Article from http://www.va.gov/health/NewsFeatures/20120628a.asp

States’ Attorneys General Action A Victory for Veterans and the GI Bill









States’ Attorneys General Action A Victory for Veterans and the GI Bill


June 27, 2012



WASHINGTON – Officials of the Department of Veterans Affairs applauded a decision by the attorneys general of several states to give VA the rights to use the GIBill.Com website, after the website’s original owners QuinStreet Inc. agreed to give up the internet site to settle a lawsuit by the states.


“This action is a victory for Veterans and a victory for the GI Bill.  Veterans and VA applaud the great work by the states’ attorneys general, along with Holly Petraeus and her team,” said W. Scott Gould, Deputy Secretary for Veterans Affairs. “We all want Veterans to be informed consumers and for schools to meet their obligations in training this Nation’s next ‘Greatest Generation.’”


Holly Petraeus is assistant director for service member affairs at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.


The attorneys general of several states had sued QuinStreet Inc., the owner of the GI Bill.com domain, charging it with deceptive practices by directing Veterans and Service Members on its website exclusively to for-profit schools that were clients of QuinStreet.


The announcement comes as VA is seeking legal authority to trademark the term GI Bill.  An executive order by President Obama on April 26 directed VA and the Department of Defense to undertake a number of measures to “stop deceptive and misleading” promotional efforts that target the GI Bill educational benefits of Service members, Veterans, and eligible family members and survivors.


The Post-9/11 GI Bill, which was authorized by Congress in 2008, is the most extensive educational assistance program since the original GI Bill was signed into law in 1944.  VA has issued nearly $20 billion in Post-9/11 GI Bill benefit payments to more than 759,000 people and their educational institutions.


All of VA’s education benefits are designed to be flexible and give Veterans the power of choice by enabling them to pursue college degrees, technical certifications, or vocational training according to their preferences and needs, at public, private non-profit and private for-profit schools. 


For-profit schools are held to the same approval standards as all other schools, and VA education programs at for-profit institutions are approved by the State Approving Agencies, which act independently on behalf of the federal government to ensure quality education and training is provided to Veterans within each state.


Gould said Veterans should not be recruited aggressively by institutions principally because of financial motives, and that VA’s and other federal and state agencies’ oversight activities provide strong monitoring.  VA is engaging with other federal agencies to provide this oversight, including the departments of Defense, Education, and Justice, as well as the Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.


            “VA looks forward to helping Veterans make informed decisions by accepting this gift of the GIBill.com domain.  We will continue to support our Veterans by helping them obtain the best education of their choosing—a right for which they have bravely served, and which they have rightly earned,” Gould said.


For more information on GI Bill programs, please visit www.GIBILL.va.gov or call 1-888-GI-Bill-1 (1-888-442-4551) to speak with a GI Bill representative. 


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Source Article from http://www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/PressArtInternet.cfm?id=2345

Michigan Military Education Benefits

State Education Reimbursement Program:
The fiscal year budget for the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs provides an appropriation for the continuation of a State Education Reimbursement Program (SERP) for members of the Michigan Air and Army National Guard. The program is designed to offset tuition costs for members of the Michigan National Guard, of up to $2,000 per year, who enroll in approved courses of instruction offered at colleges, universities, and technical colleges and vocational/trade schools in Michigan.
Eligibility: Members must be in good standing and participating in either the Michigan Air or Army National Guard to be eligible for the State Education Reimbursement Program.

University & College Tuition Grants:
The Michigan National Guard has worked with several Michigan universities and colleges to offer tuition grants. These grants, used in conjunction with other available tuition assistance programs and the Montgomery GI Bill, can enable Guard members to attend selected colleges and universities at no cost. Several other organizations offer scholarships to Michigan National Guard members.
Eligibility: Michigan National Guard members.

National Guard Association of Michigan Tuition Grants:
The National Guard Association of Michigan (NGAM) has scholarships available that eligible members may apply for. NGAM scholarship awards vary depending on the number of applications received. NGAM reviews applications twice a year. The application must be postmarked by 15 June for the June selection and by 15 November for the November selection.
Eligibility: Current, active National Guard Association of Michigan member, Enlisted, warrant officer through CW3, or commissioned officer through Captain, attending a college, university, or trade school.

Michigan State Approving Agency
Victor Office Center; 3rd Floor
201 North Washington Square
Lansing, MI 48913
Phone: 517-241-6806
Fax: 517-373-2759


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