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VA launches new tool for military to compare GI Bill benefits

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CANTON - A new tool for military personnel and veterans to compare the value of their GI Bill benefits at schools across the country was launched Tuesday.

The website, http://wdt.me/GI-Comparison-Tool, breaks down the amount of tuition and fee assistance covered, along with housing allowance and book stipend, based on the soldier’s length of service and subsequent eligibility for Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits.

In most cases, service members who have served on active duty for 90 or more days since Sept. 10, 2001, are eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits, created in 2008.

The tool, organized by the Department of Veterans Affairs, also shows information about the number of GI Bill beneficiaries enrolled at the school and whether the school supports the department’s Yellow Ribbon project.

“The new GI Bill Comparison Tool will help future beneficiaries as they make decisions about what education or training program best fits their needs,” Allison A. Hickey, the department’s undersecretary for benefits, said in a statement.

In addition to the veteran-related data, the tool compares data such as graduation rates, loan default rates and median borrowing rates for students at the schools.

The comparison site is the second tool unveiled by the VA in the past week to support veterans seeking higher education. The department, in collaboration with the departments of Defense, Education and Justice, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission, launched a new online complaint service that allows military-affiliated students and families to report issues with schools receiving money from federal and military sources.

The tool, which targets unfair recruiting practices, credit transfer or change in degree requirements, among other issues, can be accessed at http://wdt.me/GI-Complaint-form.

BY THE NUMBERS
GI Bill beneficiaries at regional colleges:
• Jefferson Community: 693 n SUNY Canton: 154 n SUNY Oswego: 154 n SUNY Potsdam: 139 n Clarkson University: 39 n St. Lawrence University: 17 Source: http://wdt.me/ GI-Comparison-Tool
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