Sanders Fights for Expanded Education Benefits for Veterans in New GI Bill

WASHINGTON, May 21 - Sen. Bernie Sanders, a member of the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, today urged the Senate to approve a new GI Bill that would provide expanded education benefits for a new generation of veterans.

The legislation that Sanders (I-Vt.) cosponsored would guarantee a full scholarship to any public, in-state university for veterans who served three years in the military, including activated National Guard troops and reservists. The expanded benefits also could be used for students at private colleges and for graduate schools.

Unlike the GI benefits that transformed American society after World War II, veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan have discovered that current GI benefits cover only half the national average cost for tuition, room and board.

The legislation would offer improved education benefits to those who served in the armed forces after the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001.

"The original GI Bill was an appropriate way for a grateful nation to say thank you to the service and sacrifice of those who wore our country's uniform. That bill also helped reshape the American economy and allowed millions to enter the middle class," Sanders said.

"Today's GI benefits do not come close to covering the cost of a college education. That is why it is so important that we update these benefits by passing the GI Bill for the 21st Century," he added.

"People must understand that caring for our service members is part of the cost of going to war. We are spending nearly $12 billion a month in Iraq. Surely we can spend a little more to provide a college education for the brave men and women we sent to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan."