Education advantage to GI bill

By Shawnna Lynch

Under the Montgomery GI Bill, National Guard and military reservists can receive educational benefits to gain a bachelor’s degree.

The regional office began processing applications in July of 1985. In Illinois, the program is run by Samuel L. Holmes, who is the Chicago Veterans’ Affairs regional office director.

The program was named after Congressman G.V. Montgomery, who is the chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee and who sponsored the legislation.

Bob McBee, associate director of the Chicago VA office of public affairs said, “There has been good participation in the program. In Illinois, 6,263 people already have applied since July of 1985 and most are going to college in Illinois.

To be eligible for the Montgomery GI Bill, applicants must be involved in the National Guard or reserve and have completed active duty training, have a high school diploma and cannot presently hold a bachelor’s degree.

Guard and reserve members participate in military training on the weekends and are on active duty for two weeks of the year. In return, they receive $140 per month for full time students.

Other funding also is available for three-quarter time training, which offers $105 per month and $70 per month for half-time training individuals.

The Montgomery GI Bill is a continuation of the Va educational assistance that began with the original World War II program.

“The bill benefits guardsmen because they can get educated while partaking in the military without leaving home. It also gives the government better educated people and makes reserve duty more attractive,” McBee said.