By DARLENE SUPERVILLE
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Jill Biden is promoting a new website designed to make it easier for service members, veterans, their spouses and dependents to calculate their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits at thousands of schools and job training programs.
“In just a couple easy steps they can figure everything out,” Biden told The Associated Press before a scheduled appearance Wednesday on NBC’s “Today” program to show off the GI Bill Comparison Tool.
Using the website, service members can estimate tuition and fees, housing allowances and book stipends for each school. They also can find data on graduation rates, loan default rates, median borrowing levels and other indicators.
Before the website was created, service members had to consult multiple sources to find the same information, said Biden, a military mom. Her stepson Beau serves in the Delaware National Guard.
The website launched in February, but the vice president’s wife is highlighting its existence as she and first lady Michelle Obama mark the third anniversary this month of Joining Forces, their nationwide support program for service members, veterans and their families.
Biden said in the NBC interview that she and Mrs. Obama started the site “to encourage all Americans to support and honor our military families.”
Last week at the White House, both women recognized the millions of caregivers of sick or wounded service members and veterans.
The website was created under an executive order President Barack Obama signed two years ago to make sure GI Bill beneficiaries have the information they need to compare options and make the best choices about their education benefits.
Congress created the Post-9/11 GI Bill in 2008. Service members and veterans who have spent at least 90 days on active duty since Sept. 10, 2001, are eligible.
The Veterans Affairs Department says it has distributed more than $30 billion in tuition and other education-related payments under the bill to more than 1 million veterans, service members and their families, and to the universities, colleges and trade schools they attend.