CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich and 28 other governors from across the country today urged Congressional leaders to support the Post 9-11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act (the Post 9-11 GI Bill)(S.22 and H.R. 5740) and pass it as part of the supplemental funding measure under consideration for the US Department of Defense. The measure is necessary to address the needs of the brave men and women who have been fighting on active duty since September 11, 2001.
“The Illinois men and women who have fought for our nation deserve the brightest possible future, and a good education at Illinois’ finest state universities. All veterans, including activated Reservists and National Guard are entitled to our help after what they have done for us,” said Gov. Blagojevich.
The benefits proposed under the Post 9-11 GI Bill are comparable to the benefits offered in the original GI Bill after World War II which provided 7.8 million returning service members with a college education. For every dollar spent in that program, the nation received seven dollars in return. The Post 9-11 GI Bill will provide the same long-term benefits to our economy. The provisions include:
- Increased education benefits to all members who have served on qualified active duty of three to 36 months, since September 11, 2001, including Reservists and National Guard members;
- Benefits which are linked to the amount of active duty served;
- Payments that would cover the tuition costs of the veteran’s most expensive state university and would also provide a stipend to pay for living expenses;
- Creation of a new program to match, dollar for dollar, any scholarships offered by colleges or universities with higher tuition costs than state schools; and
- Extending the length of time to 15 years, from the current 10 years after they leave active duty, for veterans to use their benefits.
Returning active duty service members are currently eligible for benefits under the Montgomery GI Bill which has not been significantly upgraded in the past 20 years and was designed to provide assistance during peacetime – not wartime. The more generous assistance offered in the Post 9-11 GI Bill will give returning Servicemembers the tools they need to succeed after their military service, improve our economy, and make military service more attractive to Illinois residents.
Gov. Blagojevich was joined by the following governors in urging Congress to act: Arizona Governor, Janet Napolitano; Kentucky Governor, Steven L. Beshear; New Mexico Governor, Bill Richardson; Virginia Governor, Timothy M. Kaine; New York Governor, David A. Paterson; Washington Governor, Christine O. Gregoire; Pennsylvania Governor, Edward G. Rendell; Wisconsin Governor, Jim Doyle; Virgin Islands Governor, John P. de Johngh Jr.; Wyoming Governor, Dave Freudenthal; Oklahoma Governor, Brad Henry; Maryland Governor, Martin O’Malley; North Carolina Governor, Michael F. Easley; Ohio Governor, Ted Strickland; Puerto Rico Governor, Anibal Acevedo Vila; Alaska Governor, Sarah Palin; Connecticut Governor, M. Jodi Rell; New Jersey Governor, Jon S. Corzine; West Virginia Governor, Joe Manchin III; Michigan Governor, Jennifer M. Granholm; Iowa Governor, Chester J. Culver; Kansas Governor, Kathleen Sebelius; Massachusetts Governor, Deval Patrick; Utah Governor, Jon M. Huntsman Jr.; Maine Governor, John Baldacci; Tennessee Governor, Phil Bredesen; Arkansas Governor, Mike Beebe; Colorado Governor, Bill Ritter Jr.