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When the soldiers come marching home will you be ready for them?When the soldiers come marching home will you be ready for them?

Whether they be wounded warriors or the unsung heroes, many soldiers are expected to be trading in their combat boots for civilian wings. But as they plan to become part of the new generation of pilots, will you be equipped to help them reach their goals?

In anticipation of the onslaught of veteran discharges, the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) has been busy updating the G.I. Bill website to provide a one-stop, user-friendly spot to simplify the application process. Given such a varied lot of programs, complicated by the addition of hundreds of recently approved and newly proposed provisions, it’s not surprising that it’s a veritable maze to track down the money.

As veterans make inquiries about your school, showing that you understand the lingo and the types of programs available helps to reassure them that they’re welcome, you’re glad they’re there, and you’re ready to help. By having the necessary resources at your fingertips, quickly accessible and easy to share, you’re helping to build your school’s branding as the “expert” in the area, and reputation as a professional, knowledgeable, efficient, and progressive operation.

Targeting focus groups and providing press releases and interviews to military journals can be an efficient and effective use of your advertising budget, especially if your school is in an area with lots of military personnel. Education benefits for veterans continue to expand. It’s important to note that:

  • Some benefit programs have time limits that veterans may not be aware of
  • Many families don’t realize that children and spouses of veterans and reservists, among others, can also receive funds for flight training.
  • Veterans are hearing the buzz about the ‘New G.I. Bill,’ but they may not be aware that by using the old program first they could be getting more money.

Under all types of the Montgomery G.I. Bill, in order to begin flight training veterans must first have a private pilot certificate and a valid medical certificate. Here are the rest of the particulars:

Type of training:

  • Part 141 approved
  • Commercial training for rotary and/or fixed wing.
  • Instrument, commercial, multiengine, CFI, CFII, MEI, and ATP

Limitations:

  • Only 60 percent will be reimbursed for vocational flight schools.
  • Flight training provided by an institution of higher learning (IHL) affiliated flight school as part of a student’s degree/certificate program will be reimbursement up to 100 percent.
  • Up to 100-percent reimbursement for tests for licenses or certifications, up to $2,000 per test.

Funding:

  • The student pays the flight school directly; the flight school completes the requisite monthly form, which the student then submits for reimbursement.
  • IHL flight school affiliates will receive payment directly from the IHL.

TIP- If you have students who didn’t think they were qualified for the Montgomery G.I. Bill because they didn’t have a high school diploma, there are new changes to the requirement that may now make them eligible.

If you provide these links to your veteran prospects, they’ll be able to determine if they meet all of the eligibility requirements for the following programs:

Montgomery G.I. Bill:

  • Active duty (MGIB-AD/Chapter 30): Members who enroll and pay $100 per month for 12 months are then entitled to receive a monthly education benefit once they have completed a minimum service obligation.
    • Provides up to 36 months of benefits
    • Monthly benefit paid is based on the type of training, length of service, category, and if the military put extra money in their G.I. Bill college fund (called “kickers”)
    • Based on an active duty member with three or more years of service, average monthly benefit paid is about $1,426 (as of October 1, 2010)
    • Some active duty servicemembers may contribute up to an additional $600 College Fund to the G.I. Bill to receive increased monthly benefits. This $600 Buy Up contribution may qualify them to receive up to $5,400 in additional G.I. Bill benefits.
  • Retired (MGIB-AD/Chapter 30): Must have received a fully honorable discharge for the qualifying period of service
    • Provides up to 36 months of benefits
    • Benefits payable for up to 10 years from date of discharge
    • Those who contributed to the $600 Buy Up/College Fund while on active duty will have their total College Fund divided into monthly payments to receive as an add-on benefit to the standard G.I. Bill.
  • Selected reserve (MGIB-SR/Chapter 1606): For members of the Selected Reserve of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard, and the Army and Air National Guard. A reservist must be actively drilling and have a six-year obligation in the Selected Reserve to be eligible, but active service in the armed forces isn’t required in order to qualify.
    • Provides up to 36 or 48 months of benefits while serving in the Selected Reserve, but see exceptions.
    • Once a reservist leaves the Selected Service his or her benefits end on the date of separation, but see exceptions.
    • The monthly benefit paid is based on the type of training, length of service, category, and if the military put extra money in the reservist’s G.I. Bill College Fund.
    • A new program is available for participation in MGIB-AD/Chapter 30 for some reservists; to see if he or she is eligible, the reservist should be directed to this DOD Flyer.

In addition to flight training funds, the benefits under the Montgomery G.I. Bill may also cover housing, books, child care, and transportation costs.

While the federally funded G.I. Bill pays for a public or private institute of higher learning, getting max funding for a federally approved school, such as a Part 141 school is convoluted. In many cases, schools that accept VA benefits are able to do so because of partnerships with traditional colleges that are already approved.

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