VA Educational Benefits
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New: GI Bill Comparison Tool
Veterans and their families have a new website to use as they shop around for colleges and try to make sense of their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs released the GI Bill comparison tool on Tuesday. The site features datasets on the price and student outcomes of more than 10,000 approved education and training programs. With information on colleges' overall (meaning not veteran-specific) graduation rates, median borrowing levels and loan default rates, the tool looks similar to the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard, which is hosted on the White House website.
But the VA site goes further. GI Bill recipients can use the tool to figure out how much of the benefit they can receive. Many veterans had complained about having a hard time finding comprehensible information about the benefit. The new site is a user-friendly improvement, advocates for veterans said. Each institution and academic program listed on the site includes information on its estimated tuition and fees, as well as projected housing allowances and book stipends under the GI Bill. The website says whether institutions have signed on to the voluntary "principles for excellence" that the Obama Administration established for serving veteran and military students. And it discloses whether each college participates in the DVA's Yellow Ribbon program, which can provide additional funding for students.
With the new tool GI Bill recipients can make "more informed, data-driven decisions on where to spend their hard-earned education benefits," Peter Buryk, a project associate at the RAND Corporation who specializes in the well-being of veterans, said in an email. "In the long run, this behavior may help improve individual outcomes, like graduation rates and student debt, as well as overall GI Bill program efficacy and viability."
Please visit http://department-of-veterans-affairs.github.io/gi-bill-comparison-tool/ to try out the new comparison tool.