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GI Bill education benefits go into effect

WASHINGTON, July 31 (UPI) -- More than 25,000 U.S. military personnel have pre-applied to transfer unused educational benefits in the GI Bill to family members, the Pentagon said Friday.

The number of applications has exceeded the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs' expectations, Bob Clark, Defense Department assistant director for accessions policy, said in a news release.

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The transfer of unused benefits, part of the "Post-9/11 GI Bill," becomes effective Saturday.

"We've seen, roughly, a thousand applications a day for the past week or so, and we expect that to continue," Clark said. "Transferability of these educational benefits has been one of the most requested provisions by family support groups, family advocacy groups and the troops out in the field and fleet, and we're just happy that it starts on the first of August."

Under provisions of the bill, military personnel are eligible for 36 months of educational benefits under certain circumstances. Service members can use or transfer as much of their educational benefits as they like, and they can revoke or re-designate the benefits' recipient any time, Clark said.

"I see this as a wonderful opportunity for our veterans, our service members, in particular, the families of our career members to give them the opportunity to further their education and reach their dreams," Clark said.

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