FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ---- February 23, 2010
VA Begins Nationwide GI Bill Advertising Campaign to Reach Student Veterans and Schools
Ads to Be Placed in College Newspapers, Radio Stations, Campus Venues and On-Line Sites to Ensure Student Veterans and Servicemembers Receive Their Education Benefits
WASHINGTON - The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today announced a two-month, nationwide advertising campaign to assist student Veterans and servicemembers applying for the Post-9/11 GI Bill.
"VA, student Veterans and our schools have made significant progress in implementing the GI Bill this spring, but we still have more to do," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. "We won't rest until all student Veterans have received the education benefit they earned in defense of our Nation."
Since inception of this historic new program, VA has issued nearly $1.9 billion in Post-9/11 GI Bill benefit payments and opened the door to higher education to 209,490 people.
As of Feb. 12, VA has received spring semester Post-9/11 GI Bill enrollments from approximately 180,000 student Veterans and already paid nearly 90 percent of students. All Post-9/11 GI Bill participants whose spring enrollments were received by Jan. 18 have been paid.
The GI Bill Advertising campaign includes half-page ads in top college publications, online and social media, print, radio, and outdoor advertising such as posters and flyers. Public service announcements are being delivered to approximately 150 college radio stations and 750 local stations in areas where there is a high density of students, as well as military installations.
Student Veterans on college campuses will also see a variety of posters in registrars' offices, dormitories, cafeterias, student union buildings and other high traffic areas.
"This comprehensive, nationwide advertising campaign will help us reach those student Veterans, servicemembers and educational administrators who need help in understanding the GI Bill and their role in the benefits process," said Keith Wilson, director of VA's educational service.
Social media and online advertising will be extensively used to reach the younger generation of student Veterans. VA will place banner ads on social media sites such as Facebook, Google, MySpace, Yahoo, and other outlets.
Text messaging ads will also link student Veterans to VA. By texting "GIBILL," Veterans will receive the basic message: "You Served. Get Benefits." Veterans will then be directed to follow three steps: "Review your benefit options online. Submit your application. And check with your school certifying official to confirm that your VA enrollment certification has been sent to VA."
VA also developed a hip pocket guide and checklist with helpful tips to assist Veterans and servicemembers in the application process.
The Post-9/11 GI Bill, passed by Congress last year, is the most extensive educational assistance program authorized since the original GI Bill was signed into law in 1944.
Information about the Post-9/11 GI Bill, as well as VA's other educational benefit programs, is available at VA's Web site, www.gibill.va.gov, or by calling 1-888-GIBILL-1 (or 1-888-442-4551).