By Rommel Conclara, ABS-CBN News Bureau
May 26, 2014
SAN FRANCISCO – President Barack Obama has expressed to the Pentagon that it needs to prepare for the possibility that the U.S. will remove all 34,000 troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.
In the midst of a scandal rocking the Department of Veterans Affairs over veterans waiting long periods for treatments at VA hospitals, the U.S. government is assuring returning troops that there are military benefits available for them in America.
One of these benefits is sponsored education.
Rogelio Manaois, Program Coordinator for the Veterans Services Center at San Francisco State University, says the VA’s GI Bill allows veterans the opportunity to not only go to school for free or at a small cost, but to actually be paid for going.
“Basically, it’s broken down if you have at least three years of eligible service you will get 100 percent of the benefit which equates to 100 percent of tuition paid,” Manaois said. “If it’s a public school and the max cap if it’s a private school. You will be eligible for yellow ribbon which is important for those private schools. And then as far as your housing, it will be 100 percent of the current E-5 B.A.H. rate with dependent or the zip code of the school you are attending.”
So for example, for an eligible post-9/11 GI Bill veteran or their dependent who is attending a public university as a full-time student in San Francisco, where the cost of living is high, he or she will be receiving a monthly allowance of $3369 with no taxes attached.
The money from the monthly stipend is for the veteran to use at his or her discretion.
“You have to be in school but that money can be used for other education expenses, whether it’s for your rent, your bills,” Manaois said. “It’s labeled sometimes as a housing allowance but it’s not necessarily meant only to pay for housing that’s the post-9/11 GI Bill but it’s just what was earned is given based on those rules then it’s up to you to use that wisely.”
Manaois is happy to have a career dedicated to giving fellow veterans an opportunity of a college education.
“I feel honored,” Manaois said. “I feel very privileged. And to know that I’m helping veterans access that today and knowing that in most cases the veterans that help with their benefits, they’re not wasting it. They are very focused on getting their education done and getting back out to the work force and being part of the community and giving back even and to me that’s what I’m happy to see.”
You can contact Rommel Conclara at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.