Veterans benefits for law school

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Jeffro
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Veterans benefits for law school

Postby Jeffro » Mon Feb 28, 2011 6:00 pm

Finding a lack of centralized, timely information regarding veterans benefits and law school, I have decided to try and get the decent sized TLS veteran community talking on here. Any input is welcome.

Chapter 33 - Post 9/11 GI Bill
At this point, most of us know about the perks of the Post 9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33 benefits). There are certainly those who are still using the Montgomery GI Bill (Chapter 30), as well. These programs represent the majority of veterans utilizing benefits for law school. Recently, Congress passed legislation that will change some important aspects of all VA education benefits programs. These changes usher in what is being referred to as the New GI Bill 2.0. For further explanation refer to: --LinkRemoved-- and http://paycheck-chronicles.military.com ... 1-gi-bill/

These changes are pretty huge, especially for Chapter 33. Veterans will be able to have full in-state tuition paid for and a max of $17,500 towards any private school, regardless of state. That means no more credit hour breakdown, with each state having their own caps. A drawback, though, is that there will be no more living stipend during "break periods." Basically, you will only get BAH for months you are in school and partial months (i.e., August or May, when classes start/end part of the way through) will be pro-rated to only pay for the equivalent days you are enrolled.

Chapter 31 - Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Service
There will also be greater support available under Chapter 31, otherwise known as Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Service (VR&E). While not exactly an education benefit, eligible disabled veterans (minimum rating of 10%, http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/vre/ for more information regarding eligibility) can be approved for basically full tuition, living stipend, medical and dental, books, and case management, as long as you are working to overcome a disability related to service. This can be used towards law school. For instance, in a very simplified explanation, if you already have a degree in Construction Management but have a service-connected disability that keeps you from working in the construction field, you can be retrained as a lawyer (law school) so that you can reenter the work force without your disabilities affecting your employability. This program will soon be able to pay the Chapter 33 BAH stipend, allowing doubly qualified veterans the freedom to choose between Chapter 33 and Chapter 31. Check out this informative site created by a law student currently utilizing VR&E benefits: http://www.disabledveterans.org/

Other useful links
Yellow Ribbon Program: --LinkRemoved--
Chapter 33 benefits calculator: http://www.newgibill.org/calculator (not yet updated to reflect GI Bill changes, but should be soon)



This post just represents a primer for everyone else. Please contribute what you know so that our unique community of veterans can take full advantage of all of their benefits.

Jeffro
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Re: Veterans benefits for law school

Postby Jeffro » Mon Feb 28, 2011 6:27 pm

Another important aspect to note regarding the upcoming Post 9/11 GI Bill changes are that the VA will consider itself the "payer of last resort." The VA will only pay the tuition remaining after all outside and/or institutional scholarship, discounts, grants, etc. are applied to your tuition bill. So, for instance, if you get into State or Private School X with a $20,000/yr merit scholarship, that will be deducted from your tuition bill and VA will only cover whatever is remaining - even if without the scholarship VA would have covered the full tuition bill because it fell within their new payment thresholds. In theory, your benefits could actually be "reduced" due to you earning a merit scholarship from an admissions office.

Moral of the story is, it does not look like we will be able to put merit scholarships towards tuition and get to use the excess Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits to cover COL beyond the BAH stipend. I was planning on doing this, but now it looks like the merit scholarships I have earned will count against the military benefits I have earned.

MCRemix
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Re: Veterans benefits for law school

Postby MCRemix » Mon Feb 28, 2011 6:37 pm

Very nice consolidation work.

Some TLS vets have been into some of the finer points in this thread as well:

viewtopic.php?f=15&t=53547

03121202698008
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Re: Veterans benefits for law school

Postby 03121202698008 » Tue Mar 01, 2011 12:51 am

Jeffro wrote:Another important aspect to note regarding the upcoming Post 9/11 GI Bill changes are that the VA will consider itself the "payer of last resort." The VA will only pay the tuition remaining after all outside and/or institutional scholarship, discounts, grants, etc. are applied to your tuition bill. So, for instance, if you get into State or Private School X with a $20,000/yr merit scholarship, that will be deducted from your tuition bill and VA will only cover whatever is remaining - even if without the scholarship VA would have covered the full tuition bill because it fell within their new payment thresholds. In theory, your benefits could actually be "reduced" due to you earning a merit scholarship from an admissions office.

Moral of the story is, it does not look like we will be able to put merit scholarships towards tuition and get to use the excess Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits to cover COL beyond the BAH stipend. I was planning on doing this, but now it looks like the merit scholarships I have earned will count against the military benefits I have earned.


It's important to talk to your school before you make a decision based on this though. I've talked to mine and it sounds like they are going to work with making our scholarships not "solely for tuition and fees" as required by the bill if they are even classified as that now. (I get refunded even though my tuition is covered now.)

According to my VA coordinator, several veterans groups are also working to remove this stipulation.

Jeffro
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Re: Veterans benefits for law school

Postby Jeffro » Tue Mar 01, 2011 1:55 am

blowhard wrote:
Jeffro wrote:Another important aspect to note regarding the upcoming Post 9/11 GI Bill changes are that the VA will consider itself the "payer of last resort." The VA will only pay the tuition remaining after all outside and/or institutional scholarship, discounts, grants, etc. are applied to your tuition bill. So, for instance, if you get into State or Private School X with a $20,000/yr merit scholarship, that will be deducted from your tuition bill and VA will only cover whatever is remaining - even if without the scholarship VA would have covered the full tuition bill because it fell within their new payment thresholds. In theory, your benefits could actually be "reduced" due to you earning a merit scholarship from an admissions office.

Moral of the story is, it does not look like we will be able to put merit scholarships towards tuition and get to use the excess Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits to cover COL beyond the BAH stipend. I was planning on doing this, but now it looks like the merit scholarships I have earned will count against the military benefits I have earned.


It's important to talk to your school before you make a decision based on this though. I've talked to mine and it sounds like they are going to work with making our scholarships not "solely for tuition and fees" as required by the bill if they are even classified as that now. (I get refunded even though my tuition is covered now.)

According to my VA coordinator, several veterans groups are also working to remove this stipulation.
That would be extremely helpful. At least one school I spoke with confirmed that, as they understood it, their scholarship would not result in a refund for me. I will have to go back and ask them now if they can classify it as a merit "cost of living scholarship."

I have also heard that some groups are pushing for this to be changed, but from everything else I have heard there is no way it would possibly be removed in time for this upcoming academic year. The whole purpose of the inclusion of the "payer of last resort" clause was to save federal money during this recession, so it's unlikely to happen even if some legislators get on board, in my opinion.

boat343
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Re: Veterans benefits for law school

Postby boat343 » Tue Mar 01, 2011 2:15 am

Man, thanks for posting this info. I pretty much used up my GI Bill in undergrad, and only have like 5 months left on the post 9-11 one :(.

03121202698008
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Re: Veterans benefits for law school

Postby 03121202698008 » Tue Mar 01, 2011 4:08 pm

Jeffro wrote:
blowhard wrote:
Jeffro wrote:Another important aspect to note regarding the upcoming Post 9/11 GI Bill changes are that the VA will consider itself the "payer of last resort." The VA will only pay the tuition remaining after all outside and/or institutional scholarship, discounts, grants, etc. are applied to your tuition bill. So, for instance, if you get into State or Private School X with a $20,000/yr merit scholarship, that will be deducted from your tuition bill and VA will only cover whatever is remaining - even if without the scholarship VA would have covered the full tuition bill because it fell within their new payment thresholds. In theory, your benefits could actually be "reduced" due to you earning a merit scholarship from an admissions office.

Moral of the story is, it does not look like we will be able to put merit scholarships towards tuition and get to use the excess Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits to cover COL beyond the BAH stipend. I was planning on doing this, but now it looks like the merit scholarships I have earned will count against the military benefits I have earned.


It's important to talk to your school before you make a decision based on this though. I've talked to mine and it sounds like they are going to work with making our scholarships not "solely for tuition and fees" as required by the bill if they are even classified as that now. (I get refunded even though my tuition is covered now.)

According to my VA coordinator, several veterans groups are also working to remove this stipulation.
That would be extremely helpful. At least one school I spoke with confirmed that, as they understood it, their scholarship would not result in a refund for me. I will have to go back and ask them now if they can classify it as a merit "cost of living scholarship."

I have also heard that some groups are pushing for this to be changed, but from everything else I have heard there is no way it would possibly be removed in time for this upcoming academic year. The whole purpose of the inclusion of the "payer of last resort" clause was to save federal money during this recession, so it's unlikely to happen even if some legislators get on board, in my opinion.


From what I read somewhere, this wasn't necessarily a widely known add-on. It was basically copied from Medicare. Also, the scholarship doesn't have to be for cost of living, it just can't be designated "solely for tuition and fees." Right now it just seems to post as a general credit to my student budget. Supposedly schools are sending people to the VA in April for training at which point what qualifies will be more clear.

esch8
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Re: Veterans benefits for law school

Postby esch8 » Tue Mar 01, 2011 10:19 pm

boat343 wrote:Man, thanks for posting this info. I pretty much used up my GI Bill in undergrad, and only have like 5 months left on the post 9-11 one :(.


If you haven't already changed which bill you can use, you can use the 5 months of the old GI bill and then get 12 months of the new one. If you already transferred, you only get what is remaining, in your case 5 months. makes no sense, but if you can swing it you can use both

boat343
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Re: Veterans benefits for law school

Postby boat343 » Tue Mar 01, 2011 10:51 pm

esch8 wrote:
boat343 wrote:Man, thanks for posting this info. I pretty much used up my GI Bill in undergrad, and only have like 5 months left on the post 9-11 one :(.


If you haven't already changed which bill you can use, you can use the 5 months of the old GI bill and then get 12 months of the new one. If you already transferred, you only get what is remaining, in your case 5 months. makes no sense, but if you can swing it you can use both


I already did that. I used up the old one; then I got the 12 month extension and burned a semester of that one.

esch8
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Re: Veterans benefits for law school

Postby esch8 » Wed Mar 02, 2011 11:51 am

at least you got as much as you could!

esch8
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Re: Veterans benefits for law school

Postby esch8 » Wed Mar 02, 2011 12:33 pm

does anyone know how to find out if your scholarship is affected by this last payer rule?

CP2323
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Re: Veterans benefits for law school

Postby CP2323 » Wed Mar 02, 2011 4:09 pm

My understanding is that a scholarship/grant that is designated for tuition only will affect your GI benefits. If you scholarship/grant goes in as general funds then the school does not report that as reducing the tuition.

It really only matters on what the school does though because the GI bill pays what ever the school reports as tuition owed (for public in state at least).

esch8
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Re: Veterans benefits for law school

Postby esch8 » Wed Mar 02, 2011 4:36 pm

CP2323 wrote:My understanding is that a scholarship/grant that is designated for tuition only will affect your GI benefits. If you scholarship/grant goes in as general funds then the school does not report that as reducing the tuition.

It really only matters on what the school does though because the GI bill pays what ever the school reports as tuition owed (for public in state at least).


good to know thanks

Jeffro
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Re: Veterans benefits for law school

Postby Jeffro » Wed Mar 02, 2011 6:20 pm

esch8 wrote:does anyone know how to find out if your scholarship is affected by this last payer rule?
To generally confirm what CP2323 said, this is the response I got from a school in regards to that exact question:

The information presented by Keith Wilson, Director of VA Education Services, stated that schools must report the net cost for tuition and fees after deducting any scholarship, federal, state, institutional or employer based aid applied to the student’s tuition and fee cost.

Some of your answer will depend on the form in which your scholarship is awarded. If it is restricted to cover only tuition and fee charges and is considered non-refundable by the Law School, then we will deduct it from your actual charges before reporting them to VA. We then assume that they will compare the remaining charges to the in-state rate for your program and pay the lesser of the two multiplied by your appropriate eligibility percentage based on your service time.
Basically, if the scholly is for tuition/fees only, VA will only pay the amount remaining on tuition/fees after that scholly is used.

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helloscriptkitti
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Re: Veterans benefits for law school

Postby helloscriptkitti » Mon Mar 14, 2011 11:52 am

I just learned that I have 26 more months of Post 9/11 benefits left (only 70%, so I don't qualify for YRP). I've been reading through this and the other thread trying to figure out if anyone has received current info on whether or not VA will cover full tuition at the more expensive public law schools (i.e. UVA, UMich). I just called a VA rep and they seem to be clueless. Supposedly they are taking a class about it next week. Has anyone else received any updated info on the new tuition provisions for Aug 2011? I assume the school VA reps are probably just as clueless as the VA people?

03121202698008
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Re: Veterans benefits for law school

Postby 03121202698008 » Mon Mar 14, 2011 12:19 pm

helloscriptkitti wrote:I just learned that I have 26 more months of Post 9/11 benefits left (only 70%, so I don't qualify for YRP). I've been reading through this and the other thread trying to figure out if anyone has received current info on whether or not VA will cover full tuition at the more expensive public law schools (i.e. UVA, UMich). I just called a VA rep and they seem to be clueless. Supposedly they are taking a class about it next week. Has anyone else received any updated info on the new tuition provisions for Aug 2011? I assume the school VA reps are probably just as clueless as the VA people?


They will cover UVA and UMich according to my veteran coordinator. The real dispute now is the last payer clause.

Jeffro
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Re: Veterans benefits for law school

Postby Jeffro » Mon Mar 14, 2011 12:23 pm

First question on first page of --LinkRemoved--

The new changes will cover full in-state tuition of any public undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral (read: law school) program if approved for the 100% level. I'm assuming only 70% of all in-state tuition would apply for you.

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helloscriptkitti
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Re: Veterans benefits for law school

Postby helloscriptkitti » Mon Mar 14, 2011 12:33 pm

Jeffro wrote:First question on first page of --LinkRemoved--

The new changes will cover full in-state tuition of any public undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral (read: law school) program if approved for the 100% level. I'm assuming only 70% of all in-state tuition would apply for you.


Great thanks! I know that it says it will pay full tuition (or 70% in my case) for public schools. I guess I just found it hard to believe that they would be willing to pay so much and the VA rep I spoke to didn't seem to know. As it stands I have no scholarship money from either so the last payer clause is a moot point for me for now, although I think it really sucks.

Jeffro
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Re: Veterans benefits for law school

Postby Jeffro » Tue Mar 15, 2011 10:47 pm

Just decided to go through and update my financial estimates for potential schools, by checking the 2011 BAH rates (when I first set everything up on my spreadsheet all that was out was 2010). These appear to have been last updated on 12/15/10. Looks like DOD lowered BAH for several places on my list (Chicago, DC, Atlanta, everywhere in NC). The rest stayed the same or only increased insignificantly. Don't know what this means for everyone else out there, just figured I would mention it.

I did look at the FAQ and DOD claims that military members already collecting BAH would be grandfathered in and protected from any rate decreases (I'm guessing there were a lot if it's on the FAQ), but my thinking is that VA will not honor anything of the sort.

https://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/bahCalc.cfm
https://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/faqbah.cfm

03121202698008
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Re: Veterans benefits for law school

Postby 03121202698008 » Wed Mar 16, 2011 12:43 pm

Jeffro wrote:Just decided to go through and update my financial estimates for potential schools, by checking the 2011 BAH rates (when I first set everything up on my spreadsheet all that was out was 2010). These appear to have been last updated on 12/15/10. Looks like DOD lowered BAH for several places on my list (Chicago, DC, Atlanta, everywhere in NC). The rest stayed the same or only increased insignificantly. Don't know what this means for everyone else out there, just figured I would mention it.

I did look at the FAQ and DOD claims that military members already collecting BAH would be grandfathered in and protected from any rate decreases (I'm guessing there were a lot if it's on the FAQ), but my thinking is that VA will not honor anything of the sort.

https://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/bahCalc.cfm
https://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/faqbah.cfm


You are only grandfathered in if you are already attending school in that location and don't miss a semester.

traffic.lawyer
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Re: Veterans benefits for law school

Postby traffic.lawyer » Thu Mar 17, 2011 9:29 am

this thread is great i m getting pretty good knowledge from this but i want share knowledge of mine that you could take the easy way out and start off with a few good tried-and-true lawyer jokes, but we decided to spare you our witticisms and get down to business. In law school, nothing is clear and simple, so we might as well give you your last glimmer of clarity with this SYW.

So before your begin memorizing poignant soliloquies from The Practice, read on and figure out what it takes to get yourself into one of the 182 accredited institutions built to turn innocent folks like yourself into fine, young ambulance-chasers. We mean lawyers. And we couldn't resist.

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unc0mm0n1
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Re: Veterans benefits for law school

Postby unc0mm0n1 » Fri Mar 18, 2011 1:25 am

Love Harvard and their full coverage YRP!!!!!!!!!!! On a side not Berkeley offered me 100,000, but since the school is free because of the New GI Bill I asked what would happen to the money if I attended she told me I would still get it up to COA. So basically I'd get Berkeley for free plus and extra BAH 2200/mth plus 21/k a year...... I'd be pulling in more than 40/k a year plus any summer internship job I could be making 65k/yr in law school. That's a lot of money to turn down. I love the post 9/11 GI Bill it makes spending 31/mnths out of five years deployed completely worth it.

rehtulx
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Re: Veterans benefits for law school

Postby rehtulx » Fri Mar 25, 2011 9:00 pm

While you are correct the VA (and states if you are National Guard) consider themselves "payers of last resort," as undergraduate at Duke at least, I was able to negotiate with the school the timing of when my aid and scholarships were posted, as was my brother at UNC. I would advise anyone in a similar situation to reach out to their respective schools to do the same.

In my brother's case, he was able to convince his bursar to "package" his tuition and room/board into one charge on his account. As a result, his National Guard tuition assistance covered everything, where it was supposed to cover only his tuition as "last resort." In another case, a friend of mine negotiated his 20k tuition award into a much cheaper room and board package. Cost the school a lot less, but VA covered it all just the same.

It is to the school's benefits to work with you! If you offered someone 20k and they countered offered to only take 10k, what would you say?

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unc0mm0n1
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Re: Veterans benefits for law school

Postby unc0mm0n1 » Fri Mar 25, 2011 9:13 pm

I can't complain at all. When I joined in 06 I never thought of a benefits package like this, so far they paid of my school loans and through tuition assistance they paid for a masters while on active duty. They are going to pay me nearly 70K plus a year to go to a great law school and live in Boston and If I get my MBA they'll pay for that too plus living expenses. You can say F*ck the VA if you want but I have got more than I could have ever expected and then some.

rehtulx
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Re: Veterans benefits for law school

Postby rehtulx » Fri Mar 25, 2011 9:19 pm

Does anyone know if Yellow Ribbon programs affect the reserve/ARNG GI bill at all?




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