WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne (IA-03) praised House passage of the bipartisan GI Planning Act which passed 408-0. Rep. Axne, along with 15 Republicans and Democrats, sponsored this legislation to provide new military recruits a six-month window to choose their GI educational benefits plan.
The GI Bill Planning Act would give military enlistees six months – instead of the current two weeks – to decide on which educational benefits they’ll need. Recruits are given the option of the 1984 Montgomery GI Bill and the Post 9/11 GI bill, but the Montgomery GI bill costs $1200 to use which many recruits aren’t aware of.
“Asking new recruits, two weeks into boot camp, to decide their future doesn’t give them enough time to make decisions that are best for them. These men and women in uniform should be focused on their military future. This legislation gives military recruits the time they deserve to consider how their military career and their educational goals should align,” Axne said. “I spoke with many veterans’ groups in my district, and all of them said this legislation is much needed. I’m proud to support this bipartisan legislation, and it’s one of a few bills so far this Congress to receive total support by the House.”
Today, a declining number of veterans are using the 1984 Montgomery GI Bill to earn a degree. A majority of 97% of new recruits choose the more effective Post 9/11 GI Bill. However, about 70% of military recruits still make the decision to keep their Montgomery GI bill eligibility and pay a mandatory $1,200 for a benefit which they’ll likely never use. While the Montgomery GI Bill has helped millions of veterans since 1984, this legislation will help to simplify benefits and help recruits be more informed of their education benefits.