Veterans Affairs to Revise Post 9/11 GI Bill Policy; Will Benefit Guam Veterans Seeking College Degrees

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Guam – Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo has announced that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is revising existing regulations to allow individuals pursuing secondary education in Guam and other U.S. territories to receive a monthly housing allowance based on the Overseas Housing Allowance (OHA) assigned to their respective locality by the Department of Defense. Congresswoman Bordallo requested that the VA provide clarification on why current policy provides students in Guam with in-state maximums for tuition and fees but uses the blended foreign rate for housing payments.  She requested that the VA revise current regulations to provide veterans attending schools in Guam with a housing allowance equal to the housing allowance assigned for each respective territory.

Current VA regulations provide veterans pursuing training in Guam with $1,347.00 a month for housing expenses, which is based on the national Basic Allowance for Housing (BHA) average.  The expected change in regulation will increase the housing allowance for Guam veterans to $2,450 a month, which reflects the full basic allowance for housing overseas at the E-5 with dependents level.

The change is expected to go into effect on August 1, 2012.

“This change in VA regulations will provide our veterans who are attending school in Guam with additional funds to appropriately offset their housing expenses,” said Congresswoman Bordallo. “The Post 9/11 GI bill provides education benefits to veterans and their dependents, and the change brings parity with other veterans using these benefits stateside.  This increase in the living stipend will greatly benefit our veterans on Guam using their Post 9/11 GI Bill education benefits, and it reflects Congressional intent for veterans residing in the territories.  I thank Aaron Unpingco for bringing this discrepancy to my attention during a town hall meeting I held in March, and I thank Dr. Robert Underwood for his support in clarifying the matter.  I look forward to this change in regulation assisting our veterans, who have sacrificed so much for our country.”