Westchester Offers Financial Benefits for Veterans Attending College

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Fordham University is raising awareness about funding for student veterans in Westchester County as part of the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

U.S. military veterans seeking to further their education in Westchester County could be eligible to receive a monthly housing allowance of more than $3,000. This benefit is a part of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and the allowance is calculated based on the cost of living where the school being attended is located.

“Veterans don’t always understand how their education benefits work, and their decisions can save them – or cost them – a lot of money,” says Matt Butler, MSgt. USMC (Ret.), Director of Military and Veterans’ Services at Fordham University.

Brittany Carrion, a student veteran and senior studying organizational leadership at Fordham University, says there were many times, especially during the pandemic, that the allowance saved her. “New York is already an expensive place, so having that higher BAH gives you more stability,” says Carrion, a USAF veteran. “This way, you can focus on actually going to school rather than on how you’re going to pay your bills,” she adds. Carrion is going to continue her studies at Fordham University in one of its MBA programs in the fall.

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To be eligible for the monthly allowance, students must be enrolled full-time, which, in most cases, means taking 12 credits worth of courses. The basic allowance for housing, or BAH, national average is $1,833 per month. Westchester County is currently at $3,342 per month, higher than neighboring zip codes including Stamford, CT and the Bronx.

veteran education
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Prospective student veterans could use the GI Bill comparison tool on the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs website to compare approved schools and see how the allowance and other benefits vary across the country. Job training benefits also fall under the GI Bill, and the comparison tool shows approved employers and VET TEC providers.

The Yellow Ribbon Program is another benefits program for student veterans that aids in paying tuition and fees that the Post-9/11 GI Bill doesn’t cover. Fordham’s Yellow Ribbon program, for example, covers 100 percent of the tuition and fees for eligible veterans in addition to the GI Bill benefits.

“Student veterans gave so much to the military. Higher education gives them opportunities to take the greatest things from their military experience and apply them to the civilian world. That’s what employers want,” says Butler.

Related: Where to Honor Westchester Service Members on Veterans Day

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