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New GI bill offers college for free


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POSTED: Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Chaminade University and Hawaii Pacific University are the largest private colleges in Hawaii participating in the Yellow Ribbon Program under the Post-9/11 GI Bill, which provides a free college education to eligible veterans or a family member.

The maximum benefit under the law rolled out Saturday will allow every eligible veteran, service member, reservist and National Guard member to attend a public college or university for free for four years.

The bill also covers half of the difference between the highest in-state public school tuition and the tuition of a private school.

U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie said that under the program the participating private school agrees to contribute up to 50 percent of the difference, and the federal government will pay the other 50 percent.

The other participating Hawaii schools are Argosy University, Central Michigan University, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Heald College, Remington College and the University of Phoenix.

To be eligible for the education benefits, veterans must have served 36 months of active duty after Sept. 11, 2001, or been honorably discharged from active duty for a service-connected disability.

Service members who agree to serve four more years in the military can opt to transfer the benefit to their spouse or children. It is anticipated that nearly a half-million veterans or their family members could participate in the first year.

More than 100,000 claims have already been processed, and more than 25,000 service members have applied to use the transfer benefit.

The legislation has been widely praised by veterans groups, but there have been concerns that universities and the VA could be overwhelmed, in part, because of the complexity of the benefit. There have been complaints that veterans attending private schools in states that keep public tuition low face a huge disparity in what they receive.

U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, a World War II Medal of Honor recipient who earned degrees at the University of Hawaii and George Washington University on the original GI Bill, said, “;The Post-9/11 GI Bill is necessary because America needs another shot in the arm to bolster the educational opportunities for our citizens.”;

U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka said he attended the University of Hawaii on the original GI Bill after his service in World War II. “;The GI bill gave me the opportunity to build my life on the foundation of a quality education. It is one of the reasons I am a senator today.”;

YELLOW RIBBON PARTICIPANTS

Several private colleges in Hawaii are part of the Yellow Ribbon Program of the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Listed below are the colleges, numbers of students to be admitted under the program and each school's contribution per student, per year:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
College Students School contribution
Argosy University-Hawaii100$1,764
Central Michigan University (Hickam)100$450
Central Michigan University (Honolulu)100$450
Central Michigan University (Schofield)100$450
Chaminade University of Honolulu10$5,474
Hawaii Pacific UniversityUnlimited$5,000
Remington College—Honolulu campusUnlimited$3,223.50
University of Phoenix (undergraduate)Unlimited$3,250
University of Phoenix (graduate)Unlimited$5,500

Also participating is Heald College-Honolulu

Source: U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie