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GI Bill Favors Some States Over Others

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Sen. Jim Webb's Post-9/11 GI Bill, which went into effect August 1, calls for the federal government to subsidize a veteran's tuition up to the amount it would cost to attend the most expensive public university in the veteran's home state.

The idea was to achieve fairness for those veterans who happen to live in states with higher tuition.

But it turns out that tuition at one tiny program at a Texas university is so high that veterans from that state can get subsidies big enough to cover the cost of many of the private institutions in that state, including Texas Christian, Baylor and Southern Methodist University.

Meanwhile, Massachusetts, Puerto Rico, Wyoming and South Dakota offer the lowest in tuition coverage -- at less than $100 per credit hour, in contrast to the $1,500 per credit hour available in Texas.

Practically speaking, the difference won't be so great, as many private institutions are signing up for the Yellow Ribbon program: the government, by way of the Department of Veterans' Affairs, will match the amount (up to 50 percent) laid out by any private institution to subsidize veterans' tuition.

John Hermansen, a representative from the Student Veterans of America, said that inequalities in the system were more likely to be determined by which private institutions chose to opt in to the Yellow Ribbon program than the different amounts available in each state.

While the GI Bill radically expands the options available to veterans, not everyone is satisfied. In an article on the site Military.com last August, a commentator noted that the different types of benefits afforded, depending on length of service, only takes into account time spent in the military after September 11th, 2001.

A spokesperson for Senator Webb's office explained:

"This bill was designed to recognize the service of those who've served since 9/11, this bill was designed as a wartime bill, the Montgomery bill was designed as a peacetime incentive to recruit service members but not for a time of war...the last 7 years in a wartime environment should be properly rewarded."

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