Distance learning students, who were previously not eligible for living stipends, are now eligible. However, they will only be extended half of the allowable amount. Another stipulation extends more benefits to active duty members as well. Because active duty personnel already receive living stipends, there are no additional funds in this area; however, they are now eligible for a $1,000 a year book and supply allowance.
These developments facilitate a significant expansion of services that will promote the advancing education of our service members; but despite the changes for the better, making room for such additions has caused other cuts. Tuition caps are now set based on a national average instead of being capped separately for each state. This new cap on tuition assistance is now $17,500 a year; and will apply to all military students regardless of graduate or undergraduate status, or whether they currently enjoy full tuition coverage that exceeds this amount.
Additionally, the revision of the living stipend reward eligibility calls to base monetary compensation on the number of credits taken. Those who take less than a 50% course load will not be eligible for living expense payments, while those with a maximum course load will be eligible for the full amount. Also, implemented by this bill is a cut off concerning living stipends. Allowances received for these expenses will not be extended during periods where school is not in session.
All in all, this bill provides educational assistance to those who were not previously extended significant benefits. The cuts implemented to make these additions more feasible are expected to affect a minute number of people, as compared to those who will benefit.
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