President Obama discusses Iraq at the White House on June 19, 2014 / H. Darr Beiser, USA TODAY
Citing the promise made 70 years ago to U.S. service members returning from World War II, President Obama on Friday urged a new generation of veterans to make use of the Post-9/11 GI Bill to pursue an education.
"You pick the school, and we'll help pick up the bill," Obama said in an article written for Military Times.
More than 1 million veterans and family members already have been helped under the Post-9/11 GI Bill, Obama said, and even more will be eligible as troops come home from Afghanistan and return to civilian life.
The Post-9/11 GI Bill, approved by Congress in 2008, provides expanded tuition and other education benefits for veterans and servicemembers who were on active-duty status for at least 90 days after Sept. 10, 2001.
Since 2009, $30 billion has gone toward higher education for veterans, troops and family members.
Obama said the original GI Bill, which was enacted in 1944, helped transform America.
"With the careers it sparked, the homes it helped our veterans buy, and the prosperity it generated, it paid for itself several times over and helped lay the foundation for the largest middle class in history," he said.
Obama noted that even with the Post-9/11 GI Bill, some veterans might still need student loans to help pay their college costs, leaving them in debt. He said his administration is making it easier to automatically reduce the interest rates that servicemembers and veterans pay on their student loans.
He also urged Congress to pass legislation that would allow veterans attending a state college or university to pay in-state tuition, regardless of their residency.
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