Changing Veteran Benefits in a Coronavirus Reality - Fordham PCS Launches Webinar Series

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Series, hosted in conjunction with Fordham University’s Office of Military and Veteran’s Services, to help current and prospective student navigate changing government regulations during COVID-19 crisis

The financial stability the GI Bill offers is a factor for many of our current student veterans and would be the same for those in a tight job market, like the one we are experiencing currently, and are considering higher education opportunities.

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), about 773,000 veterans or veteran dependents benefit from the Post-9/11 GI Bill, which provides financial support for education and housing to qualifying veterans. But like many government benefits, the process of applying for and accessing these offerings is mired in regulations and stipulations that can be difficult to navigate.

“The financial stability the GI Bill offers is a factor for many of our current student veterans and would be the same for those in a tight job market, like the one we are experiencing currently, and are considering higher education opportunities,” said Matthew Butler, MSgt. USMC (Ret.), director of Military and Veterans’ Services at Fordham University. “The key is that current and new student veterans must register for resident courses, converted to online temporarily, unless they explicitly prefer to be exclusive online learners. This decision would significantly impact their GI Bill benefits.”

One of the most important aspects of the Post 9/11 GI benefit is the housing allowance. The housing allowance for veterans studying in New York City is one of the highest in the country, at just over $3200 per month. Historically, only students attending resident classes would receive the full monthly housing allowance. The online class-only rate is significantly less. But because of the Coronavirus outbreak, Congress has adjusted the GI Bill law to allow resident classes taught online to receive the normal housing allowance. On March 21, President Trump signed S. 3503 into law, which clarifies how the VA should treat in-person courses of study that convert to distance/online learning formats due to health-related situations and other emergencies. As a result, GI Bill benefits including monthly housing stipends and subsistence allowances are protected as classes move to online formats due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With these adjustments, the benefits can be even more difficult to understand. In response to these changing regulations and the closure of college campuses for in-person classes, Fordham School of Professional and Continuing Studies (PCS), which has a longstanding history of educating military veterans, has launched a free webinar series designed to help veterans understand their benefits, ask questions and get real answers from real people. The program is working closely with the University’s Military and Veteran’s Services to assist current and prospective students and their dependents navigate the rapidly changing government regulations and loopholes that are affecting their education benefits.

The first Veteran’s Webinar will take place on Thurs., May 21 at 12pm EST. Topics will include learning about GI Bill Benefits, including the Yellow Ribbon benefit, admissions at Fordham University and the services and support available from the Office of Military and Veterans’ Services. To register, visit fordham.edu/bestforvets.

“We have found that veterans seem to have a tough time understanding how to take advantage of their benefits, especially with the uncertain environment we are all currently living in,” said Andie Marais, associate dean of enrollment and strategic marketing, Fordham PCS. “Student veterans sometimes think they can save money by attending a less expensive school and they have trouble calculating how much of their education will be covered by the VA, the school or both. Apart from academic reputation, the two main factors that veterans look for are what percentage of their tuition and fees will be covered and how many seats the universities offer veterans who want to use these benefits. This decision will ensure the student veterans and dependents are maximizing their GI Bill benefit.”

Fordham PCS is one of only a handful of private New York City schools that offer 100% coverage of tuition and fees and unlimited “free” seats for qualifying veterans studying under the Post 9/11 GI Bill.

Marais continued, “We are dedicated to doing everything we can to help our students best take advantage of these benefits that they are so deserving of, and look forward to speaking with them during this new webinar series.”

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ABOUT FORDHAM SCHOOL OF PROFESSIONAL AND CONTINUING STUDIES:
The School of Professional and Continuing Studies (PCS) offers students a quality education in a small, personalized atmosphere that promotes individual growth and exploration. With three convenient campus locations – Lincoln Center in Manhattan, Rose Hill in the Bronx and West Harrison in Westchester, PCS is poised to meet students’ academic needs. Classes are offered evenings, weekends and online in areas including Business, Organizational Leadership, Economics, Legal and Policy Studies, and Social Work. Certificates in Digital and Social Media Marketing and Human Resource Management are also available, as well as Post-Baccalaureate / Pre-Medical / Pre-Health. The Fordham Real Estate Institute, which is part of PCS, offers a Master’s Degree and multiple Certificate Programs in Real Estate at the Westchester and Lincoln Center campuses. Visit https://www.fordham.edu/pcs for more information.

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Kayleigh Lentz
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