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Completing your education through military aid

March 15,2012 by: Dallas Browne

The military aid for further education is a particular benefit of enlisting in the military as the Government rulebooks, in their acknowledgment of the contribution of the military provides financial aid for serving military personnel or veterans to complete their education, even after the service period has expired. After the military service ends, to make life easier for the veterans, education is an important stepping stone for future prospects of the veteran and to this purpose the educational aid programs have been designed. In fact, military aid, like Montgomery GI Bill is one of the reasons why people enroll in the armed forces. Nonetheless, the GI bill only covers about three fifth of the expenditure of the college education, unfortunately, about one third of qualified veterans not succeed in grabbing the benefits of the GI plan.

As with every education program, the veterans interested in future education are supposed to fill up the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or the FAFSA form through the US Department of Education website. However, veterans are also required to be aware of certain special circumstances related exclusively to them while applying the FAFSA form.  These circumstances define the criteria under which the veteran is supposed to receive the financial aid. Some of the criteria that requires careful consideration are the Veteran Education benefits, the inclusion of combat pay and other untaxed income on the form and also the part that Veterans status for student aid purposes are not necessarily the same as the veterans status for VA purposes.

For instance, the Veterans education benefits are treated as resources and not as income for the federal student aid purposes. The veteran is therefore not supposed to report the veteran education benefits in the income category of FAFSA. The FAFSA actually includes separate questions that enquire about the monthly benefits and the number of months of benefits that is expected by the veteran for the school year (from July 1 to June 30).However, there are always a few exceptions regarding the same. Reporting a benefit as resource or income is of utmost importance for veterans applying for the FAFSA. If a veteran is including a resource as income on the FAFSA, then there is a dual penalty for that. Firstly, this increases the amount of the expected Family Contribution or EFC and secondly by affecting the eligibility for the Federal students aid program.

Veterans should also be aware of the confusion in the FAFSA regarding the reporting of combat pay, housing allowance and the subsistence allowance. Other confusion areas for veterans may be while filling up the W 2 statement on the FAFSA. Yet another important aspect on the FAFSA that should be understood by the veteran is that the veteran status for student’s aid purposes on the FAFSA is not the same as the definition of the veteran according to the department of Veteran Affairs. This can be a source of potential problems for the student as while processing the FAFSA form, the processor runs a data match check with the VA records to conform the veteran status of a student.

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