JC Oberst: Veterans Advised to Use Their Educational Benefits Wisely
One of the most coveted benefits service members earn for serving in today’s military is the Post 9/11 GI Bill educational benefits.
The educational benefits were extended in the Forever GI Bill that went into effect in 2017 for veterans who left the military after Jan. 1, 2013. The bill removed the time limit on using the benefit after departing the military. The benefit is extended from the previous 15-year limit to anytime in your lifetime, hence the name Forever GI Bill.
The bill provides service members who qualify 36 months of a college education, which is equivalent to four years of schooling. Veterans are encouraged to consider taking advantage of this benefit and to use it to maximize the return on their future.
A number of changes went into effect on Aug. 1. Many of the changes increase the amount of the entitlements. For a complete list of the changes, download the fact sheet at https://www.benefits.va.gov/GIBILL/FGIBSummaries.asp.
The 2018-19 GI Bill covers in-state tuition and fees up to $23,671 per year. The book stipend authorized is $1,000 per year. The housing allowances for veterans attending colleges and universities in Ventura County is $2,403 per month. The actual housing allowance paid to the student veteran is hundreds of dollars less due to the way the benefit is calculated.
The total value of the GI Bill depends upon how you choose to use the benefit.
Let’s say you want to attend California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks. The annual tuition is $41,363 per year. CLU participates in a program called the Yellow Ribbon program, which waives a veteran’s tuition fee above the GI Bill’s maximum amount. So if you attend CLU for four years, the total 36-month tuition amounts to $165,452 ($94,684 paid by the GI Bill and $70,768 tuition waived by CLU). Add 36 months of housing allowance at $64,881 and three years of book stipends at $4,000 and your total educational benefit value is $234,333.
Let’s look at a different education plan. Consider you are contemplating returning to school. You are concerned about your study skills so you decide you should attend community college first. The tuition to attend Oxnard College for two years is $1,388 per year or $2,776. The housing allowance and book stipend are the same as attending CLU. The GI Bill benefit’s value is $48,030.
The bottom line is you should consider carefully your educational career before starting to use your GI Bill benefit. It is a valuable benefit that can return monumental changes in your life. It is wise to consider alternative funding programs to cover the cost of community college courses. This will preserve your GI Bill benefits for university or master degree programs that cost much more. Remember the planning cycle you used during your military experience. Take the time to develop a plan, evaluate contingencies and choose the best course of action for your future. If you have questions or need help, feel free to give us a call or visit your school’s veterans resource center.
The award goes to…
This month’s Bravo Zulu goes to the 801 Motorcycle Club. It is always great to hear about veterans helping veterans. The 801 Motorcycle Club Simi Valley is a veteran-based club. They held a fundraising event in August with all proceeds from their event donated to the Turning Point Foundation’s veterans transitional housing program. They also donated a new smart TV for the 15 veterans who live in the veterans transitional housing in Ventura where homeless veterans get a new chance on life. Thank you 801 MC for your support to our veteran community.
Happenings and veteran events
Oct. 5: 1-4 pm, legal clinic, National University, 1000 Town Center Drive, Suite 125, Oxnard. The Ventura County Bar Association holds a free legal clinic the first Friday of each month. Veterans and active-duty, guard and reserve members can receive legal advice. To register, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 805-973-7503.
Oct. 13: U.S. Navy’s 243rd birthday. The CNO proclaimed this year’s central theme as “Forged by the Sea.” The Navy operates 285 ships and more than 3,700 aircraft in support of our nation’s defense. Happy birthday to the 328,267 personnel on active duty, 98,748 in the ready reserve, 210,031 Navy Department civilian employees and millions of Navy veterans.
Oct. 17: Medal of Honor presentation, White House. Retired Sgt. Maj. John L. Canley, 80, from Oxnard will be presented the Medal of Honor for actions during the Vietnam War in 1968.
Oct. 17: Military Order of the World Wars monthly meeting, Los Robles Greens banquet room, 299 S. Moorpark Road, Thousand Oaks. Brig. Gen. R.G. Head, USAF (Ret.) will speak about the first German Air Force Ace of World War I. The charge for the buffet dinner and program is $25 per person. It is arranged by the Conejo and Simi Valley chapters of the Military Order of the World Wars and the Military Officers Association of America. Social hour will begin at 5:30 p.m. with the program and dinner at 6:15 p.m. For reservations, call Vinetta at 818-399-0469 by Oct. 12. The public is invited.
Oct. 22: Gold Coast Veterans Foundation’s 13th annual charity golf tournament “Fairways & Freedom,” Spanish Hills Country Club. The foundation is hosting the annual golf tournament to support local veterans. Cost is $200 per golfer. Sponsorship opportunities are available. Proceeds will benefit the Veterans Connection program that helps veterans and their families navigate benefits, provides wellness services, helps homeless veterans, and assists with career coaching and education planning and free mobility devices. To register, go to https://gcvf.org/golf or call 805-482-6550 for more information.
Nov. 2: 9:30 a.m. to noon, 2018 Retiree Town Hall event, Duke’s Place, Naval Base Ventura County Port Hueneme. Sponsored by Fleet and Family Services, it offers retirees the opportunity to engage with Navy Capt. Jeff Chism, commanding officer of NBVC, and find out about base operating procedures that affect retirees. The event is free but base access is required. For more information, call 805-982-5035.
Nov 3: 5-10 p.m., military ball, Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort, 633 E. Cabrillo Blvd. The Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation hosts its 22nd military ball. RSVP by Oct. 15. For additional information, email email@example.com.
Nov. 6: 10 a.m., Veterans Day proclamation, Ventura County Government Center Hall of Administration, 800 S. Victoria Ave, Ventura. The Ventura County Board of Supervisors will issue a proclamation marking Veterans Day and specifically the 65th anniversary of the armistice of the Korean War. The military and veteran community and supporters are welcome to attend.
Nov. 9 and 10: Military Veterans Dental Days, Conejo Free Clinic, 80 E. Hillcrest Drive, Suite 102, Thousand Oaks. Screening, cleaning, X-rays, extractions, fillings and future treatment plans are provided by Ventura County private-practice dental professionals. Patients must meet low- and moderate-income qualifications. All services are free. For an appointment, call 805-328-3100.
Nov 10: 10 a.m. Veterans memorial monument dedication, Constitution Park, 601 Carmen Drive Camarillo, hosted by the city of Camarillo. The existing veterans memorial monument will be expanded to include a monument with several plaques listing the 36 names of all fallen service members from Camarillo and Somis from World War II to present. The public is invited to attend the free event. The concrete and granite monument will feature brass plaques donated by American Legion Post 741. For more information, contact Kathy Talley at 805-388-5312 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nov 11: Veterans Day. All county public transit operators including Gold Coast Transit District and the Ventura County Transportation Commission will provide free bus rides to U.S. veterans who present valid military identification upon boarding. Valid identification includes veterans’ identification cards issued by the U.S. Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs and a veterans designation listed on licenses/identification cards issued by the DMV.
Nov. 11: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Oxnard Veterans Day parade, Parade starts at Second and A streets and goes to Plaza Park. The city of Oxnard hosts this event to honor all those who served. Several guest speakers are scheduled. Contact the community affairs manager for more information at 805-385-7593.
Nov 11: 11 a.m., Veterans Day ceremony, Ventura County veterans memorial, 800 S. Victoria Ave., Ventura. Gold Coast Veterans Foundation will host this 100th anniversary ceremony for the armistice that marked the end of World War I. The ceremony will include colors, laying of wreaths and several guest speakers including Capt. Jeff Chism, commanding officer of Naval Base Ventura County. The event will be free and open to the public. For more information, call 805-482-6550.
Nov 11: 11 a.m., Veterans Day ceremony, Conejo Creek Park North, 1379 E. Janss Road, Thousand Oaks. The Conejo Valley chapter of the Military Order of the World Wars and the Michael A. DiRaimondo Chapter of the Military Order of the Purple Heart will host the ceremony. The ceremony will feature a color guard, commentary by California Lutheran University President Chris Kimball, live band music by Seniors of Note from Emmanuel Church and a fly-over by the Tiger Squadron. The public is invited to attend the free event. For more information, call Ed at 805-496-5286.
Nov 11: 6 p.m., jazz concert, Oxnard Performing Arts and Convention Center, 800 Hobson Way. The U.S. Navy Band Commodores will perform a free jazz concert. The concert is sponsored by the Oxnard Ambassadors. For more information, visit www.oxnardperformingarts.com.
Nov 12: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Knights of Columbus charity golf tournament, Moorpark Country Club, 11800 Championship Drive. Space is sure to fill up fast so sign up early at www.9410charitygolf.com. Cost is $185 and there is a $10 discount if you sign up before Oct. 20. The Knights of Columbus is a nonprofit fraternal organization dedicated to helping the local community. Proceeds will benefit various charities in Ventura County including the Gold Coast Veterans Foundation and Get on the Bus. For more information, call Joe at 818-421-0170.
Nov. 14: Special event to mark the 100th anniversary of the World War I armistice, Los Robles Greens banquet room, 299 S. Moorpark Road, Thousand Oaks. A program and buffet dinner will pay tribute to the 100th anniversary of the armistice. A UC Santa Barbara professor will open the program by commenting on the situation in Europe that led to the war, followed by actors representing Russian, British, French and German forces talking about the war from their perspectives. The professor will end with comments about the Treaty of Versailles and changes to the borders of countries. Cost is $35 per person, with sign-in at 5 p.m. and the program and dinner starting at 6:15 p.m. For reservations, call Vinetta at 818-399-0469 by Nov. 9. The public is invited.
Source: VC Star article from September 30, 2018