U.S. veterans interested in pursuing an international education can either use the GI Bill Comparison Tool to review the VA’s approved list of universities or search for a specific college through the Web Enabled Approval Management System Institution Search. Both tools are available on the VA website. The GI Bill Comparison Tool also helps veterans determine which benefits package is most suitable for them, including whether the package will provide enough money to study overseas. Veterans will need to account for a country’s exchange rate in their calculations. If a veteran’s preferred college is not on the approved list, he or she can apply to have the school added, provided it meets the VA’s eligibility requirements. One of the main requirements is that any training at a foreign school must be at an institution of higher learning that will result in a college degree or equivalent, according to the VA’s website. If eligible, the VA will issue the veteran a Certificate of Eligibility, which shows the quantity and duration of benefits; veterans should obtain this before enrolling at a foreign university. Xiangyu (Sheila) Wu, international enrolment services officer at Cambrian College in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, says that once veterans know if the foreign university is VA-approved, they should complete the school’s application process. She says, ideally, those applying to foreign colleges should submit applications for their GI Bill benefits between three to six months prior to school starting. Coy from the VA says the Post-9/11 GI Bill pays up to $21,000 in tuition per year at approved foreign colleges, about $1,500 per month for housing and $1,000 annually for books.
The Post-9/11 GI Bill, which replaced the Montgomery GI Bill in 2009, has also opened up global education opportunities to eligible veterans’ family members. Active-duty service members must plan to complete 10 years of service to be eligible to transfer some or all of the Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to a spouse or children. Coy says that after the service members leave the military, they cannot transfer the benefits; as such, they need to make plans prior to leaving the military. Rose Field, 24, of Flourtown, Pennsylvania, moved to Germany in 2009 to attend college and learn German. She recently completed her master’s in curatorial studies at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University Frankfurt am Main. Her father, a major, has been a reservist in the Pennsylvania National Guard and Army Reserve since 1985. “My father has always been a reservist, but was deployed post-9/11, which is how I became GI Bill eligible,” Field said via email. Reservists who complete 90 days or more of active duty and remain on active duty become eligible for some GI Bill benefits. “I was only eligible for 50 per cent of benefits, which meant that I still had to work outside the stipend to pay for everything I needed,” Field said. Ultimately, studying in another country is an “unbelievable opportunity,” Navy veteran Evans said. “More veterans should take the opportunity to study overseas.”
source usnews.com