Veterans looking to start flight training have a new source of financial aid thanks to legislation approved in the House of Representatives on the 16th of December. The bill is now awaiting President Barack Obama’s signature.
The House approved the bill, S.3447 the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2010, with a vote of 409-3. S.3447 allows vets to take flight training, certificate programs, apprenticeships, on-the-job training, correspondence training, and other educational programs by broadening provisions of a 2008 bill. The new bill allows qualified military personnel to apply educational funding to these types of programs that was previously restricted to programs at colleges and universities. Among the qualifications required is that the individual must have served in active duty military for three years since Sept. 11, 2001. The Senate approved the bill on December 13
The bill, which improves the 2008 offering, allows veterans to use their benefits to cover in-state tuition and fees up to a maximum amount of $10,000 a year for flight training. The flight training must be and FAA approved course at a certified pilot school. The exclusion of similar provisions in the 2008 bill led Veterans groups to criticize the previous legislation. They indicated that out that learning other skills and trades, such as flying, would benefit veterans given the current state of the economy.
S.3447 is what is known as an authorization bill, meaning that funding will come from a separate appropriations process, and once funding is established, veterans can expect to start receiving benefits by August 2011. Interest groups are concerned that the new legislation could be subject to House ‘cut-go’ rules, which would require an existing program to be cut before the new program can be funded.
Regardless of potential funding snares, the bill is a good thing for the flight training industry and veterans. It provides veterans with an additional source of significant financial aid and it provides flight schools with a new pool of students with money that are ready to hit the skies. Most importantly, veterans who take advantage of this program will be on step closer to being able to take advantage of the coming shortage of airline pilots. If you’re a veteran and you qualify, be sure to keep up with this developing source of funding.
This article was written by Matthew Everett, a private pilot, aviation writer, and frequent contributor to AviationSchoolsOnline.com. You can follow him on twitter @leaving_tf or find his blog at http://leavingterrafirma.com.
Find a GI-Bill School – Aviation Schools for U.S. Veterans
More VA info – resources for veterans – articles, videos, links, and more