This post originally appeared in the Minnesota Department of Veteran Affairs blog.
Governor Mark Dayton and the Minnesota State Legislature voted to expand the Minnesota GI Bill to include more Veterans. Previously only Veterans who served after September 11, 2001 were eligible for the Minnesota GI Bill, which supplements other Veteran education programs. Now, under the new law any Veteran under age of 62 who has served honorably in any branch of the armed forces during any time period may be eligible.
“This is important because the program will now assist the Veterans who need it the most,” said David Bellefeuille, director of the Higher Education Veterans Programs for the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs. Many pre-9/11 Veterans have either used all their federal education benefits, or they have expired. The enhancements to this program will now assist all Minnesotan Veterans with long-term employment opportunities. The plan starts with education and financial assistance to help Veterans, who have served and sacrificed for this country, achieve their goals.
“The enhancements to the Minnesota GI Bill will provide a much broader audience the opportunity to gain an education and get back to work,” said Bellefeuille. “This also opens doors for Veterans who need certifications or who need to return to school for their current positions.”
The financial assistance from the enhanced Minnesota GI Bill remains the same. A full-time student can receive up to $1,000 per semester or term of enrollment, $3,000 per state fiscal year, and $10,000 in a life-time (up to age 62) Part-time students can receive $500 per semester or term of enrollment and a minimum award of $50 per term.
Aside from the expansion, previous eligibility requirements remain the same;
Veterans must be Minnesota residents attending any approved public or private university, college or career school in Minnesota as undergraduate or graduate students.
Veterans who do not meet the statute requirements must have served honorably for a total of five or more years (cumulatively) as a member of the National Guard or Reserve component. Any part of the service must have occurred on or after September 11, 2001.
Surviving spouses and children of a Veteran who has died in military service, or has a total or permanent disability as a direct result of military service, are also eligible.
The Federal GI Bill and the Minnesota GI Bill are very different. The Federal GI Bill has many complex Chapters for individuals who enlisted in the military. Some benefits require active duty members to pay, while other benefits are earned by cumulative or consecutive active duty periods of service. The Minnesota GI Bill was established in 2007 to provide postsecondary educational assistance to eligible Minnesota Veterans who served on or after September 11, 2001. Funds from this Program are tied to financial aid and are paid directly to the institution.
For more information on this and other Veteran education programs, please visit www.MinnesotaVeteran.org or call 1-888-LinkVet.