When you enlist in the military, about 3 weeks into basic training, you are ushered into a room full of other 18-25 year olds and offered the opportunity to invest a portion of your paycheck for the first year of your service into the Montgomery G.I. Bill. The payoff is that after you're honorably discharged, you may use the 1200 dollars you invested plus the phenomenal interest it creates to help defray the cost of your higher education. I decided to finance my own bachelor's degree (See Excelsior College) and save my G.I. Bill for law school.
I've been in class for 6 weeks now, as have all the other folks in school with me. During this time, I've had to pay for tuition, books, rent, food, utilities, gas, insurance, daycare, and diapers. During this semester, I've received no money from the G.I. Bill. Apparently there is a backlog at the Okmulgee branch, which services my school, and they've been unable to process accounts. During a normal month, I'll be paid approximately $1000 from the G.I. Bill, which would go towards the daycare part of my finances (pretty much covers all of daycare for 3 children). For January and February, however, we've had to find other means, which is quite difficult.
It leads me to my hypothesis: The Veteran's Administration wants to make using the G.I. Bill as painfully inconvenient as possible to discourage people from actually using it as an educational finance tool. Consider the following:
1. There is a huge paper trail that must be filed at the outset, indicating your desire to use the G.I. Bill, including an application and your filing of your DD-214, which is your discharge paperwork (If you don't have that, you're SOL and have to wait about a year to get a copy).
2. The funds are not transferred at the outset of class. The basic idea, I think, is that this will discourage people from enrolling in the program then dropping out of school, although I doubt that is going to run rampant, as the efforts to simply get into the program are such a pain.
3. When the funds are transferred, it's month by month. This means that if you have tuition that is due up front, and can't afford to pay it and are relying on the G.I. Bill to help out, then you won't be able to enroll, and thus won't need the G.I. Bill.
Now I completely understand the need to be meticulous, but I also know that the Government is quick to overspend on several things. I remember when I lived in Maryland reading a report that the government spent several hundred thousand dollars to buy a property that they had purchased 80 years prior. If the government can be that sloppy about a piece of property, why do they have such stringent requirements to benefit the fewer than 20% of people that actually use their G.I. Bill benefits?