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Calculate Your Benefits with New GI BIll

PhotobucketBeginning August 1, the new GI Bill benefits are in effect, so now’s the time to take advantage of this remarkable program!

IAVA is out with a helpful online resource that helps veterans and their dependents calculate their benefits under the new GI Bill. The GI Bill calculator and website provides comprehensive information to help you and yours figure out what you are entitled to in your education pursuits.

Undoubtedly, the transition process for the VA and schools will be daunting, and beneficiaries may find it arduous. The VA has its own website for the new GI Bill, but as Paul Reickhoff, President and Founder of IAVA says in a recent Huffington Post article:

With a complicated and dense application process the new GI Bill is less than user friendly. And with the VA consistently coming up short in its embrace of Web 2.0 and new media, veterans looking for answers on their website are often left with more questions.

So if you run into problems and complications with getting the benefits of the new GI Bill, keep your chin up and pursue what you are entitled to! For those of us, myself included, who are not yet entitled to share in these benefits, keep in mind that Congress has passed legislation providing for in-state tuition rates at public colleges and universities in the state where they reside or are permanently stationed for periods of enrollment that begin after July 1, 2009, active duty military members, their spouses, and their dependent children.


Books on Bases Event in Wilmington, NC

Books on Bases, Blue Star FamiliesWelcome guest blogger, Gabrielle Lowe.

Last weekend we had the pleasure of being invited to Wilmington’s National Guard base to meet with guard families. I was joined by the Gabriel family and Claire Woodward, our BSF Executive Director. We passed out books from our “Books on Bases, Smiles on Faces” program to all the children in attendance.

We met with the spouses of guard members and told them about Blue Star Families. We put temporary tattoos on the kids, passed out books, and even got to dance to a live bluegrass band during lunch. I almost forgot, we even got to meet with the McGruff crime dog in the flesh …err fur?

While the children were there they also learned about what the Army National Guard is and what their parents do in the guard. There were mini classes given to each age group to explain what different jobs there are and to explain military life. We got the pleasure of meeting each child and give them a book from their age group. We also got a chance to talk to them and tell them a little about us and who we are.

Blue Star Families in conjunction K.I.D.S., United Concordia, and Lifetime Television’s Army Wives gives books to children of military parents. We also provide books to DoD schools, libraries, and public schools that have military children in attendance. We’re always looking for volunteers and we have many events coming soon. We encourage you to go to www.BlueStarFam.org to join us. It’s completely free and a great way to help better the lives of military families.



Post 911 GI Bill

book spiralWell everyone, it’s finally really here. The Post 9/11 GI Bill and I am more than happy to say that I will definitely be taking advantage of it. Since my husband intends on completing his course work while he’s active, this gives me the opportunity to (finally) finish my degree. Although he’s still on sea duty(Navy), I’ll be working on my classes one at a time.  It’s great to have a program that applies to the families as well as those that serve in uniform because we aspire to greater things as well.

A little bit of history because I’m a history buff. The original GI Bill was signed into law by President Franklin Roosevelt on June 22, 1944 and 49% of all college graduates were returning soldiers from World War II.  49%! That’s a huge number, isn’t it? They went on to accomplish wonderful things and truly be the Greatest Generation.

So sign up for the Post 911 GI Bill and go or go back to school. Realize your dreams and do what truly makes you happy. I will be the absolute last person to tell you that it will be easy but, as my sister, Toni, who is Air Force said, “One class at a time”.

We have inspiration everywhere. Surround yourself with those who will lift you up and go for it. I’ll need that reminder myself everyone now and then, but if I can make it through deployments, 2 kids, a full time job, finances to handle and a home, what can’t I do? Whether it’s online or in class, our opportunities are endless.

Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another.  ~G.K. Chesterton

Let us be that next generation……..