Many Americans are enjoying some added time to relax and reflect today as the nation honors our veterans over this three-day weekend. It’s been over ten years since 9-11 and our countrymen in the armed services have come face to face with the worst horrors of which humankind is capable. They’ve faced death as well as injuries suffered in action as severe as loss of limb; they’ve also found themselves dealing with painful repetitive motion injuries resulting from years of intense physical training and the implementation of the that training while on tours of duty in the Middle East. These courageous men and women have earned our respect and thanks, which is why veterans are offered a number of excellent student financial services, including the Veterans Student Loan Relief Fund.
The Veterans Student Loan Relief Fund
The impressive sales pitches of for-profit colleges have seduced veterans along with the rest of us. As a result, many former service members have incurred large, difficult to manage student loans in order to pay for their for-profit educations. “The Veterans’ Student Loan Relief Fund was established to assist otherwise financially responsible veterans and qualifying family members who have incurred excessive educational loans for study at proprietary (for-profit) institutions.”
The way they distribute this assistance is in the form of grants and tuition reimbursements. Excitingly, the VSLRF yesterday announced the first round of grants. These grants, 11 in total, come in amounts of up to $5,000 and have been awarded to veterans from Arizona, California, Illinois, New Mexico, North Caroline, Pennsylvania and Texas. Applications are being accepted for the next round of grants as late December 1.
The Post 9/11 GI Bill
Paving the road to higher education for American veterans since the post-World War II era, the GI Bill will currently cover about three-fifths the cost of college for former service members. Included within the sum offered is a monthly housing allowance as well as a stipend for books and other school supplies. One thing many veterans don’t realize is that even while receiving benefits from the GI Bill they are still eligible to apply for non-military federal financial aid by filling out a standard Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA form. The FAFSA also includes additional aid possibilities for veterans.
The process of dealing with student loans is as complicated for veterans as it is for the rest of us. In fact, navigating military student aid can actually be more complicated if you can believe that. There are even more forms to fill out, more different types of benefits that, depending on time served and a number of other factors, veterans may or may not be eligible for. On top of which, veterans are of course subject to the same risks and uncertainties as civilians when it comes to choosing the right college and then figuring out how to optimize their debt after college. Fortunately there are student aid organizations eager to help students manage their debt.