Veterans credit GI Bill for helping them readjust to society after their tours of duty

November 09, 2013 11:02 pm • BILL TOSCANO •

gvsm-hr1400[…] Harry Candee is SUNY Adirondack’s veterans’ services counselor, and he said Roberts, who he refers to as “a great student,” is one of 142 veterans enrolled at the college.

“That just counts the veterans,” said Candee, who spent 20 years in the U.S. Army and used the GI Bill while a service member and afterwards. “We have others here who are on a parent’s benefits.”

Candee, who has been counseling veterans for 14 years, said he feels SUNY Adirondack “bends over backwards” to help veterans, and added that anyone who knows a veteran should tell the veteran about the GI Bill.

“They only have 15 years to get started, so it is imperative if people know a veteran, they push them to take the benefits.”

Back to World War II

Historically, the GI Bill has been a catalyst for returning veterans.

The program, originally known as the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act when it was passed in 1944, allowed for education, low-cost mortgages and low-cost business loans. It has changed over the years, first in 1984 when it was revamped by Mississippi Congressman Gillespie “Sonny” Montgomery — the “Montgomery GI Bill — then undergoing even more changes in 2009, when it was referred to as the “Post 9/11 GI Bill.

“I was broke when I got out. I got $300 for mustering out, and I owed my dentist $200,” said Lake George resident Dennis Galloway, who returned from fighting in the Pacific and used GI Bill benefits to train as an electrician with his father.

“It paid for my on-the-job training,” said Galloway, who went on to work as an electrician for more than two decades and parlayed that into a career as a real estate agent. “I was an apprentice to my father. He got approved because of his experience. That was my career from there.

“The GI Bill gave you the opportunity to get trained at the government’s expense,” he said, reflecting on the situation then and now. “The fact that you can go to school gives the veterans a chance to get their lives back.” […]

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A History of The GI Bill also from

1944 — President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed it into law June 22, 1944.

1984 — Former Mississippi Congressman Gillespie V. “Sonny” Montgomery revamped the GI Bill, which has been known as the “Montgomery GI Bill” ever since, assuring the legacy of the original GI Bill lives on, as VA home loan guaranty and education programs continue to work for our newest generation of combat veterans.

2008 — The GI Bill was updated once again. The new law gives veterans with active duty service on, or after, 9/11 enhanced educational benefits that cover more educational expenses, provide a living allowance, money for books and the ability to transfer unused educational benefits to spouses or children.

August 1, 2009 — Expanded the Post-9/11 GI Bill to include Active Service performed by National Guard members under title 32 U.S.C. for the purpose of organizing, administering, recruiting, instructing or training the National Guard; or under section 502(f) for the purpose of responding to a national emergency.

March 5, 2011 — Limits active duty members to the net cost for tuition and fees prorated based on the eligibility tiers (40%-100%) previously established for Veterans. Same limitations apply to transferee spouses of active duty servicemembers.

August 1, 2011 — For Veterans and their transferees — simplifies the tuition and fee rates for those attending a public school and creates a cap of $17,500 for those enrolled in a private or foreign school. Pays all public school in-state tuition and fees; private and foreign school costs are capped at the national maximum annually.

October 1, 2011 — Allows students to use the Post-9/11 GI Bill for non-college degree (NCD) programs and Non-college degree (NCD) programs offered at non-degree granting schools, pays the actual net costs for in-state tuition and fees or the national maximum, whichever is less. Also pays up to $83 per month for books and supplies.

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