New York, NY (June 22, 2014) – Today, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the nation’s largest non-profit, non-partisan organization representing post-9/11 veterans and their families, reflects on one of the most transformative programs that helped veterans transition from warriors back to civilians. The GI Bill, first created in 1944 for World War II vets, was expanded to vets of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars in 2008 thanks in part to the leadership of IAVA advocates nationwide and has now supported over 1 million new veterans and their families.
In honor of the 70th anniversary, IAVA CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff released the following statement:
“After months of bad news stories surrounding the VA, today is a day to celebrate. The GI Bill has been the most transformative program for our community in history,” said Rieckhoff. “It has also been one of America’s greatest investments. It enabled our World War II veterans to choose their own destiny, build America’s future, transform our society and truly change the world. And the legacy left by the first recipients 70 years ago is alive today in the New GI Bill. This program has already propelled the post 9/11 generation to incredible heights. IAVA members are living proof that there is no better investment for America than in the future of our veterans. Since IAVA fought to pass the New GI Bill in 2008, we have seen a generation of incredible leaders emerge. They are teachers, entrepreneurs, artists, first-responders, lawyers and doctors. Most of all, they are leaders. And there are many more to come.
And as tens of thousands of our members graduate this month, IAVA is committed to supporting their success. Thanks to IAVA’s education support program, over 1.8 million users have received education support through our innovative www.NewGIBill.org website and thousands of service members, veterans, and family members have received direct education assistance nationwide.
However, our work to support veteran education is far from done. As more of our troops come home this year from the war overseas, lawmakers must finish the job we started 70 years ago. They must stand with IAVA to defend the New GI Bill from bad-acting for-profit schools and predatory lenders. And Congress and the President must expand in-state tuition and streamline education benefits. Our recent member survey found that 35% of IAVA members have received late GI Bill checks from VA.”
IAVA’s recommendations to improve and protect the New GI Bill can be found in our 2014 Policy Agenda education section here.
IAVA also manages the free NewGIBill.org program, which provides current information and resources related to the New GI Bill and includes a tool for calculating benefits. IAVA has information on getting started with education benefits, a calculator to understand the nuances of benefits relative to a student’s specific enrollment scenario, and a FAQs section that veterans, family members and college administrators can utilize. Any servicemember, veteran or family member using the New GI Bill, or thinking about using it, should visit this helpful, innovative, easy-to-use website program.
Note to media: Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 212-982-9699 to speak with IAVA leadership.
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (www.IAVA.org) is the leading post-9/11 veteran empowerment organization (VEO) with the most diverse and rapidly growing membership in America. As a non-profit founded in 2004, IAVA’s mission is to connect, unite and empower post-9/11 veterans. Celebrating its 15th anniversary, IAVA has connected more than 1.2 million veterans with resources and community, and provided more than 8,000 veterans with personalized support from IAVA’s Master’s level social workers.