Proposed Changes To The GI Bill – How Will They Affect Your Veterans Benefits?


The New Post 9/11 GI Bill has been in effect now for over a year and many returning service members are taking advantage of this well deserved benefit. In the American Council on Education report titled “Service Members in School: Military Veterans’ Experiences Using the Post-9/11 GI Bill and Pursuing Higher Education,” approximately 25% of the veterans polled stated that availability of funds from the New GI Bill was a determining factor in their decision to further their education. But despite the popularity of this benefit, legislators continue to seek means for improving and simplifying the sometimes confusing array of benefits created by the original GI Bill legislation. GI Bill

Efforts are under way to reform and revise veterans educational benefits provided by the GI Bill. Both houses of congress are currently considering bills which aim to improve the current Title 38 – Post 9/11 GI Bill education benefits. It is essential that all veterans familiarize themselves with this legislation and support our current and past service members. While this legislation is politically popular, support is beginning to fade due to cost estimates. Because this veterans benefit is considered an entitlement program lawmakers are bound by “pay as you go” rules. Raising additional taxes or cutting other mandated benefits will be a difficult task in the current political environment. GI Bill

A version of the Post 9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Improvements Act of 2010 (S.3447) (H.R.5933) was introduced in the Senate on 5/27/2010 and in the House of Representatives on 7/29/2010. These bills include similar provisions which seek to:

  • Include members of the National Guard and Reserve programs who were left out of the original GI Bill legislation.
  • Expand eligible education options to include non degree granting vocational training programs, apprentice, on the job and flight training.
  • Eliminate the confusion and unfair differences arising from state by state GI Bill benefits calculation for degree granting institutions.
  • Establish national averages for GI Bill benefits paid to non-degree granting institutions which are indexed to inflation.
  • Modify the living allowance rules to also help those that pursue and on-line degree.
  • Provide a book allowance for active duty military and their spouses.
  • Allow veterans with a service connected disability to continue receiving chapter 31 education benefits while also receiving any living allowance from chapter 33 for which they are eligible without having to use one or the other.
  • Modify the calculation of living allowance benefits to match the pace at which the education is pursued.
  • Ensure that one period of active duty cannot be used to determine eligibility for multiple educational programs. GiBill.Va.Gov

As is always the case, bills are referred to committees which then hammer out the details and provide cost estimates. These bills have been referred to the respective Veterans Affairs Committees where there has been very little discernable action. Given the monumental public support of veterans and the GI Bill, it is certain that lawmakers will give these bills the attention they deserve. Overcoming the “pay as you go” obstacles will be a challenge but not one that is insurmountable. We encourage all who read this to contact their legislators and express support for efforts to improve the GI Bill and expand the opportunities our military veterans deserve. GI Bill

Armed with this advice, review a list of veterans organizations that you might join to learn more about your GI Bill benefits including education benefits at This site as well as the FREE Veterans Benefits Portal will provide all of the information you need to make informed decisions about your post military career.

How to Use the Benefits of the GI Bill to Attend School


Many military veterans, upon being discharged from their branch of service, start the next chapter of their life by attending a school to study a subject that will eventually lead to a career.

Some choose to get some kind of certification from a community college, some go the route of a traditional four year university and others attend a vocational school to learn a skilled trade. GI Bill

Using the benefits of the GI Bill makes all of these things possible, but many veterans may not know what, exactly, the GI Bill does for them and their education.GI Bill

When the post 9/11 GI Bill was signed into law, it made so that anyone who served in an active duty capacity in any branch of the military for at least ninety days after September 11th, 2001 could attend a school of their choice following their discharge.GiBill.Va.Gov

Whether a veteran wanted to take up something like biology at a four year college or welding at a vocational school, they could do so with their education paid for by the US government.

Taking up a skilled trade at an established trade school is a particularly attractive option for many veterans because of the number of benefits that being educated, trained and certified in a skilled trade can produce. GiBill.Va.Gov

Look around wherever you go. GI Bill

Cars and other automobiles cover paved streets.

Buildings line these same streets and act as homes and places of business.

Power lines overhead carry power to those buildings to make sure that people have working electricity as well as heating and cooling during the appropriate seasons.

Our modern society wouldn’t be possible without the contributions of people who are skilled in various trades like automotive repair, building construction, electrical technology and Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning (HVAC) repair.

By using the benefits of the GI Bill, veterans have been able to attend schools that teach not just those disciplines, but others like heavy equipment operation, industrial maintenance and commercial truck driving, as well.

Jobs in these fields are always in need of skilled tradesmen to work them because the result of the work in these fields is important to society’s continued functioning.GiBill.Va.Gov

By learning one of these trades at a vocational school that offers education in them, veterans have been able to find fulfilling, rewarding work that helps people through the tangible objects that are produced by their work. Even after their service ended and they went back into civilian life, they were still able to help people and be valuable assets to their communities.

The benefits of the GI Bill meant that, as students at a trade school, their tuition and books were well taken care of, meaning that they were free to learn their new trade and move on to a lasting career that always presented a challenge.

Besides finding challenging work, many veterans also take advantage of the fact that GI bills schools help them find jobs as well.

Recruiters and hiring managers from companies that need skilled tradesmen often work with trade schools to find talent because they know about the quality education that the students receive.

This, combined with military training that influences veterans to be the best at what they do, means the benefits of the GI bill will go very far when it comes to life after the military. GiBill.Va.Gov

Are you interested in CDL Training or learning more about trade schools in general? North American School of Trades has been helping veterans and the military in Baltimore, MD with Maryland Veteran Education building construction training, CDL training, Diesel Technician Training, Electrical Technology Training, Combination Welding Technology, and HRVAC Training for over 35 years. Contact them today!

Veterans Administration Home Loan Advantages


American armed services personnel – active duty, honorably discharged, retired, or disabled – are eligible for benefits when it comes to home ownership. Put in place after World War II, veterans coming back from war were afforded some help towards having a guaranteed place in the American dream. Since that time, for honorable service in both war time and peace time, most military veterans have been afforded the same assistance.

Five Advantages Ease the Way for Veteran Homeowners

1. 100% Mortgage

The most salient advantage for a veteran who uses his or her VA Loan prerogative is that the property can be secured with 100% financing. The veteran does not have to come up with a down payment. Veterans can essentially enter a home for which they are qualified without putting down a nickel.

2. Property or Mortgage Insurance

VA borrowers, even though their property is 100% financed, do not have to pay any property or mortgage insurance fees. The VA loan already covers that. This has two side benefits. This reduces the monthly mortgage payments considerably. It also allows the veteran to qualify for larger loan amounts. All others with less than 20% equity in their homestead must pay the going rate for property or mortgage insurance.

3. Credit Scores

VA borrowers are not scrutinized as carefully regarding their personal credit histories. The reason being that the loan is guaranteed by the federal government. The loans are offered just on the capacity of the veteran to repay, not any past credit problems. So, if the veteran has the assets, the salary, the savings, or the bank balances required, the loan will be approved. Also, if they do have somewhat less-than-sterling credit scores, that will not prevent them from owning property of value greater than that for which someone with the same scores would not qualify.

4. Interest Rates

Though it is not a great advantage, the trade-offs are worth it. VA borrowers are charged a slightly higher interest rate than other conventional borrowers. This can range from 0.25% to 1.00%. This is somewhat higher than a person with a down payment of 20% and credit scores of 740 or higher. Considering the loan to value ratio (L.T.V.), this somewhat higher interest rate is not going to financially cripple any veteran borrower. GiBill.Va.Gov

5. Repeat Access

A very nice aspect of the advantage a VA Loan offers is that it is not just for first time ownership. The rights of a VA Loan can be used for purchasing other homes as the veteran moves up in life or lifestyle requirements change, like kids. The veteran just has to approach the VA and be requalified. This is basically just proving that the previous home was sold or paid off earlier. This requalification will determine the new loan amount for which the veteran is qualified so he or she can plan their next domicile purchase.

American Dream

For more information, military personnel who have served honorably should seek guidance on line at You may be able to afford that American dream home after all. Housing lenders and real estate agents can provide information to American veterans as well.

Hilary Bowman is the author of this article. She works successfully as a financial advisor with years of expertise on Unsecured Loans. Hilary publishes informative articles about loans for bad credit and other financial topics at

Veterans – How to Get a VA Loan


One of the primary dreams of military members is to provide a comfortable home to their families. As such, the government designed the veteran or VA loan – a program which will benefit military men towards the fulfillment of this dream which is in fact weaved into the ultimate American dream of providing every American a comfortable home for living. Here are some tips on how veterans can obtain such loan.

Knowing if you are eligible

Veterans, those in active duty, or members of the National Guard or selected reserves may apply for a VA loan, pending determination of eligibility. For applicants to determine their eligibility, one must submit a duly-accomplished VA Form 26-1880 along with proof of service. Eligibility is usually determined 10 days after submission.

Inspecting home of your choice

There are many types of homes under your choice, but of course, you only need to select the one which is best for your preferences, needs, and lifestyle. The choices may complicate your decision-making. But you can always seek help from real estate professionals licensed by your state government. They can determine affordable price ranges and can help schedule home tours for you to inspect the home and see what’s there for you and your family.

Loan request

Sometimes, the sellers may require the buyers to present a pre-approval of the veteran home loan. Thus, to make sure that everything will flow seamlessly, you might want to obtain a pre-approval even before closing deals. To some sellers, the request for the loan pre-approval signifies serious interest with the property being sold.

Let the house for sale be appraised

Home appraisal is also needed to avail of a veteran home loan. In some states, the pre-approval is issued along with a monitoring number for the lender to keep track of the appraisal’s progress as well as the status of the loan application. The primary reason why appraisal is necessary is to determine whether the home’s price will be sufficient to become collateral to the requested loan. GiBill.Va.Gov

You must remember that the VA loan is designed with a no down payment scheme. The government relies on your honesty and trustworthiness to repay the monthly dues of the veteran home loan. This is in acknowledgement of the selfless efforts made by your and those in your uniform to serve and protect the country, its territories, boundaries, resources, assets, interests, and its people.

After all the above steps are completed, you will be deemed eligible to obtain the loan. With the help of an insurance agent, you’ll finally close the deal finalizing insurance clauses to protect both seller and the new owner from damages and losses. All documents will then be entered into public records. GiBill.Va.Gov

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Giving You Answers To Your Questions About VA Home Loan Myths


Having access to VA home loans (VAHL) is one of the major perks associated with being in the military. VAHL have no or low down payment and offer 100% financing and refinancing on mortgages and flexible credit guidelines. Many new borrowers who qualify for VAHL’s don’t even apply for them because they believe many of the half-truths out there. Because the rules and requirements for VAHL’s are constantly changing, whenever they’re cancelled or modified, word doesn’t always get out. As a result, misconceptions about the VAHL program run rampant. Here are some of the most common myths about the VAHL program debunked.

You Have to Be on Active Duty to Qualify for a VA Home Loan

You do not have to be on active duty to qualify for a VAHL. Your eligibility for a VAHL is determined by your current and past service. Simply put, veterans who have served at least six months between 1964 and the present most likely have VAHL eligibility.

Veterans Automatically Qualify for VAHL

Just because you’re eligible for a VAHL doesn’t mean you’ll be able to get one. Getting a Certificate of Eligibility is only half the battle. You generally need to have a debt-to-income ratio of below 41% and a good credit history if you want your VAHL application to be approved.

Funding Fees for VA Home Loans Are Expensive

The VA funding fee is a one-time fee required by law and it is currently 2.15% on no down payment loans for first-time use and 3.3% for second-time users who don’t make a down payment. The funding fee drops when you make a down payment. Some claim that the funding fee is expensive, but it is actually less expensive in the long term than the private mortgage insurance that it replaces. If you apply for a conventional mortgage, lenders will require you to have private mortgage insurance if you put less than 20% down. Private mortgage insurance typically costs between 0.5% and 1% of the entire loan amount on an annual basis. GiBill.Va.Gov

VA Home Loans Take Longer to Close

Many people assume that VAHL’s take longer to close than conventional loans but that’s simply untrue. The decision of whether or not to approve a loan is left to private lenders, so the process of applying for a VAHL doesn’t take much longer than the process of applying for a conventional home loan. It is rare for the VA to ever have to step in and look at a loan application. In most cases, VAHL can be closed within a month.

All Real Estate Agents Are Knowledgeable about VA Home Loans

There is no such thing as a VA certification for real estate agents. Therefore, you shouldn’t rely on most real estate agents for advice regarding VAHL’s. Look for a lender whose majority product is VA-backed loans if you want your lender to be knowledgeable about the VAHL process.

Many new borrowers who qualify for VA home loans don’t even apply for them because they believe many of the half-truths out there. You do not have to be on active duty to qualify for a VA loan. Just because you’re eligible for a VA loan doesn’t mean you’ll be able to get one. Many people assume that VA home loans take longer to close than conventional home loans but that’s simply untrue. These are some of the most common myths about the VA home loan program debunked.