New GI Bill expands benefits and college aid

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WASHINGTON — President Bush signed into law June 30 legislation that includes funding for troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, an extension of unemployment benefits and a landmark expansion of the GI Bill of Rights.

“Since World War II, our nation has offered college assistance to returning vets,” commented U.S. Rep. Charlie Wilson, D-Ohio, who supported the bill. “It’s a good program for our veterans, and frankly it’s been good for the country.

“For every dollar we have invested in GI education, we’ve generated seven dollars — that’s a great return on our investment.”

Updates

The old program paid only about 70 percent of a public college education and 30 percent of a private college education for these veterans. The expanded GI Bill restores full, four-year college scholarships to veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

The legislation also allows veterans to transfer those benefits to family members.

The Supplemental Appropriations bill also includes provisions that provide a 13-week extension of unemployment benefits for workers who are unable to find a job.

The legislation signed into law today also includes $161.8 billion to support the cost of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan through the summer of 2009.

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