New GI Bill not so helpful for veterans attending D.C. colleges

As we wrote last week, Georgetown has agreed to participate in the Ribbon program, a voluntary part of the new GI Bill—which goes into effect in August—that provides tuition assistance to veterans.  Veterans who come to Georgetown as undergraduate students, for example, will receive $1,000 from the University, a matching $1,000 from the Department of Veterans Affair’s and their basic GI Bill benefits.

The problem for veterans who want to go to school in the District, though, is the way the basic benefits are calculated under the new GI Bill.  Instead of using a uniform rate, the basic benefit is now set equal to the highest tuition for a public university in the state.

For states with public universities that are approximately equal to private schools in terms of cost, this works great.  For D.C., though, whose only public university is the extremely inexpensive UDC, the new GI Bill is problematic.

As the Washington Post reports, since UDC’s tuition is only $8,000, a veteran who wants to attend Georgetown will only be receiving $10,000 towards our more than $38,0o0 tuition (unless they qualify for need-based financial aid):

The city’s only public institution, the University of the District of Columbia, is one of the least-expensive colleges in the country for local students, and its tuition is the basis for the VA reimbursement rate for private colleges in the District.

Meanwhile, some of the city’s private universities, including Georgetown and George Washington, are among the priciest in the country, with total costs of more than $50,000 a year. That makes for a bigger gap to fill …

“If you’re enrolled at Georgetown, or whatever, it’s not really going to help,” [Ryan Gallucci of AMVETS, a veterans advocacy group] said.

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