Get the 411 on the Post-9/11 GI Bill

New GI Bill offers Texas veterans particularly generous benefits

A North Texas university is helping veterans decide where to take advantage of the most generous GI Bill in decades.

The Patriot 2 Patriot Web site run by Dallas Baptist University lets veterans find the right university in seven easy steps.

Dustin Hibner, a veteran who is both a student and a security guard at Dallas Baptist, said figuring out how to take advantage of the educational benefits available to him was confusing.

"Especially coming from a military background where everything is kind of by-the-book and you have everything in line and you are basically told what's going to happen -- and then you're kind of thrown out on your own when it comes to college, and you don't have the smooth post high school transition," he said.

The Web site also offers information on the benefits available through the post-9/11 GI Bill.

Previous educational benefits did not keep up with college costs and didn't consider living expenses, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

But the new bill covers tuition, fees and books for up to four years -- and provides a housing stipend.

Texas veterans have particularly generous benefits.

The post-9/11 GI Bill covers tuition and fees up to the cost of the most expensive state public university. The Department of Veterans Affairs considers Texas' most expensive school to be a flight-training program at a Central Texas college, the Star-Telegram reported.

But the $12,130 maximum per semester in Texas means veterans attending pricey private schools such as Texas Christian University and Southern Methodist University will be fully covered, according to the newspaper.

Many private universities also participate in the VA's Yellow Ribbon program and will cover costs above the GI Bill's maximum. But TCU's financial aid director told the Star-Telegram that the agreement doesn't seem to be necessary in Texas.

"I don't know of a school in Texas that the basic VA benefit would not cover," Mike Scott told the newspaper.

Unlike the Montgomery GI Bill, the amounts paid under the post-9/11 GI Bill are based on time served.

To get the maximum benefit, veterans must have served at least three years since Sept. 10, 2001, or at least 30 continuous days on active duty if they were discharged because of a service-connected disability.

Benefits may be transferred to a spouse or dependent if the veteran re-enlists for four more years.

Click here to visit Dallas Baptist University's Patriot 2 Patriot Web site.

Lindsay Wilcox contributed to this report.

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