G.I. Bill Grants were originally approved under President Roosevelt in 1944, and it basically gave the draftees the ability to finish their educations, since they had been whisked away to either Europe or the Pacific theater. Since then, GI Bill Grants have been some of the most lucrative for members of the armed forces for the simple fact that Uncle Sam is paying them back for their heroic services to the nation.  Now, it is important to understand a few things about this particular grant, as it does not operate like most grants.  In fact, your financial aid department of the college of your choice will not even see a dime of that money until you give it to them.


How The GI Bill Works

The GI Bill is unique in that these grant moneys go directly to you for the costs of tuition, fees, books, and other miscellaneous living expenses.  Most grants will go directly to the financial aid department, but the GI Bill grants go directly to the pockets of the beneficiaries.

This offers both flexibility and options in that the GI Bill grant system will still give the ability for the former soldier to qualify for Pell and FSEOG grants, as well as federalized and private student loans, and even scholarship moneys for the less fortunate.  This is just one way that Uncle Sam has the ability to reimburse those who serve in the armed forces.


Other Options

Another interesting option that the Armed Forces offers is the TA or Tuition Assistance program.  This is distributed by means of a “loan”, but it isn’t really a loan.  In fact, whatever branch of the military that the soldier was in will keep track of service, time, money, and different salary compensation plans.  Then, when that person would like to go to college, university, or trade school, that branch of the Armed Forces will look at the different requirements and offer the TA program.

The best thing about the TA program is the fact that it can pay 100% of the tuition, depending on if certain requirements were met.  Every branch has different requirements, so it would be a good idea to do some research and talk to your liaison to see what benefits you can qualify for.

Do keep in mind that this may end up tying your hands on the Pell grants, as these moneys are paid directly to the school.  Usually, you only get disqualified from receiving too much assistance, so be sure to use this one at your own risk.  It really does come down to a “numbers game”.  If you can get more assistance through Pell grants and other programs, then don’t activate the Armed Forces TA program, but if you feel as if they will be able to pay for a very large sum of those costs through the TA program, then that is your best option overall.


The Best Way To Go

How to go about getting your tuition assistance and GI Bill grant money is to both go to your financial aid department, and talk to someone in your branch of the military who deals with GI benefit packages.

They will be able to walk you through the entire process, but it is important to leave enough time in between your application process and when you need those funds.  It is usually best to get the ball rolling within a year.

There are millions of dollars in assistance for veterans and soldiers, and unfortunately, too many people overlook that potential.  The US military has an average of a $50 Billion spending budget, and a chunk of those funds are there just for the soldiers who have served.


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