10/11/2002 By Lance Cpl. Jeremy M. Vought, Marine Corp Base Camp Pendleton
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. —
Service members who receive the Montgomery GI Bill now get an extra $100 in their monthly education benefit.
According to U.S. Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey, the raise is 12.5 percent and increases the monthly allowance from $800 to $900.
The raise is the second of three scheduled benefit bumps. In 2001, Congress approved the Veterans Education and Benefits Expansion Act. The act authorized three increases to the Montgomery GI Bill program. The hikes eventually will raise the lifetime benefit by 46 percent from $24,192 to $35,460 on Oct. 1, 2003.
The final increase will raise the monthly benefit to $985. Congress must then approve further increases.
Service members who participate in the program pay $100 a month for their first 12 months on active duty. Once separated from the military with a minimum of three years of service, they're eligible for 36 months of educational assistance benefits at qualified institutions, including vocational and other professional training programs.
The monthly benefit can be used for tuition, room and board, books, college fees and other living expenses.
"This raise in the GI Bill is an attempt to recognize what the service member has done for their country," said Patricia A. Jeffress, education service officer at Camp Pendleton's Joint Education Center.
"With our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines embarked upon a war to defend our nation against terrorism, we must ensure that those brave men and women get all the assistance they need to help them in their transition back to civilian life. The GI Bill is and will remain a cornerstone of that effort," Smith said.
Camp Pendleton Marines with questions concerning their Montgomery GI Bill and how to use it can contact the JEC at 725-6660.