(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a co-sponsor of the new GI Bill, applauded its Senate passage.  The bill, which passed by a vote of 92-6, will improve education benefits for troops and veterans who have served this country since September 11, 2001.  The GI Bill was included as part of the emergency supplemental appropriations bill that is now headed to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

"Passing the GI bill is a huge victory for our veterans and a good step towards fulfilling our nation’s promise to honoring their sacrifice," said Senator Murray. "Since September 11th, Americans from all walks of life have left their families, their careers and their studies to serve our nation honorably.  Ensuring that college is within reach is a critical step towards giving our veterans the tools to reintegrate and provide for themselves and their families well into the future.

"For too long, veterans' education benefits have not kept pace with the skyrocketing costs of college. This bill finally reflects the new realities of going from the battlefield to the classroom. By providing increased benefit levels, allowing veterans to use benefits longer, and providing a federal match, we are finally giving veterans the opportunity to achieve their dreams for higher education and beyond.”

The GI bill will assist service members transitioning back to civilian life and improve military recruitment and retention by:

  • Providing increased educational benefits to all members of the military who have served on active duty for at least three months since September 11, 2001;
  • Offering educational assistance in proportion to the total length of active duty service on or after 9/11, from three to 36 months, to provide a maximum benefit of the cost of any in-state public school's tuition and fees for four academic years; 
  • Creating a new program in which the government would match any additional contributions to veterans from colleges and universities whose tuition is more expensive than the maximum assistance provided; and 
  • Allowing veterans to use their educational assistance benefit up to fifteen years after they leave active duty, rather than the ten years currently provided under the Montgomery G.I. program. 
  • Enhancing the amount paid to National Guard and Reserve members for educational benefits. 
  • Allowing reenlisting servicemembers to transfer their educational benefits to their spouse and/or children.