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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Baghdad to Boston

Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Democratic Leaders and
Democratic Members of the House joined with representatives from
Veterans Service Organizations gathered at an enrollment ceremony
for the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Improvements Act.
This package makes it easier for veterans to take advantage of New
GI Bill benefits, helps veterans successfully enter the civilian
workforce, and extends educational benefits to members of the
National Guard and veterans who use distance education. The bill
was later signed by President Obama. Photo used with permission
from Leader Nancy Pelosis photo stream.

Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Democratic Leaders and Democratic Members of the House joined with representatives from Veterans’ Service Organizations gathered at an enrollment ceremony for the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Improvements Act. This package makes it easier for veterans to take advantage of New GI Bill benefits, helps veterans successfully enter the civilian workforce, and extends educational benefits to members of the National Guard and veterans who use distance education. The bill was later signed by President Obama. Photo used with permission from Leader Nancy Pelosi’s photo stream.

The Massachusetts National Guard Tuition and Student Fee Waivers and Post 9/11 GI Bill helps Massachusetts veterans get a free education from Massachusetts state schools.

These waivers helped Amy National Guard soldier Specialist Matthew Katz, who deployed to Baghdad in 2007 with the Massachusetts and Rhode Island 65th Public Affairs, get certified as a Wilderness Guide.

“It also helped me create a non-profit for veterans http://homeofthebraveproject.org,” Katz said. “The Home of the Brave Project is dedicated to supporting our veterans long after they come home . . . [It offers] an opportunity to take advantage of positive coping mechanisms and have our country show their appreciation at the same time,” said Specialist Katz.

Mitt Romney signed The Massachusetts National Guard Tuition and Student Fee waivers in 2006, allowing servicemen and women to attend state schools for free.

The Post 9/11 GI Bill, enacted in 2009 has also helped service members of all branches attend college by giving them money for living expenses and also paying for tuition and fees. Retired Operations Specialist 2nd Class Petty Officer of the Navy Caroline Necheles, now a senior at UMB, said the college assistance helps service members through their transition into civilian life.

“It gives them a place to go when they are lost after exiting the military and don’t have any idea what to do next. It gives them a place where there are other veterans, so they have people who understand who they are and what they are going through without having the psychological aspect of a medical issues to hinder them from reconnecting to the civilian world,” said Necheles. “The Post 9/11 GI Bill has helped me because I don’t have to have a job while I’m going to school. I can put all my concentration into my schoolwork. I can afford to actually go to school, since I didn’t take the option of my grandparents paying for collage after high school.”

Massachusetts Army National Guard Recruiter of Dorchester Staff Sergeant Latoya Wiggins weighed in the benefits for National Guard Soldiers who want to attend any of the 28 state schools in Massachusetts.

“Some come to us because they can’t pay for school or they are in debt from starting school and aren’t able to finish it on their own. We pay 100 percent of the tuition and student fees and if they are a full-time student they can get the Montgomery GI Bill pay them $330 a month, while going to school,” said Staff Sergeant Wiggins.

The Post-9/11 GI Bill provides financial support for education and housing to individuals with at least 90 days of aggregate service on or after Sept. 11, 2001, or individuals discharged with a service-connected disability after 30 days. You must have received an honorable discharge to be eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

“To get the Post 9/11 GI Bill you have to be a combat veteran and the percentage the soldier gets depends on how much time they have served overseas,” said Staff Sergeant Wiggins.

The Post-9/11 GI Bill went into effect August 1, 2009. Approved training under the Post-9/11 GI Bill includes graduate and undergraduate degrees, vocational/technical training, on-the-job training, flight training, correspondence training, licensing and national testing programs, and tutorial assistance. All training programs must be approved for GI Bill benefits. Veterans who have deployed since Sept. 11 and have been overseas for more than 36 months will receive 100 percent of the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

There are also new incentives, which encourages the Guard to continue recruiting. “We will also pay up to $50,000 for student loans for a 6 year commitment in the Guard. There is also a health care professional loan that will pay back $120,000,” said Staff Sergeant Wiggins.

The Post 9-11 GI Bill will pay eligible individuals’ full tuition and fees directly to the school for all public school in-state students, usually maxed at $7,000 for tuition and student fees. A monthly housing allowance is given at the rate of an E-5 with dependents is based on the cost of housing of the location of the school. The Post 9/11 GI Bill also offers an annual stipend for books and supplies at most $1,000 a year paid proportionately on enrollment.

About the Contributor
Felicia Whatley served as the following positions for The Mass Media the following years: Managing Editor: Spring 2009 *News Editor: 2009-2010 *Whatley served alongside Caleb Nelson for these years.