FAIRFAX, Virginia (CNN) – President Barack Obama joined hundreds of young veterans marking the implementation of a new "G.I. Bill" on Monday, calling the expanded benefits package part of a "moral obligation to those who sacrificed greatly on our behalf."
The updated version of the famous World War II legislation significantly expand education benefits for men and women who served at least three years in the military after the September 11, 2001, attacks.
It provides as much as a full scholarship at in-state public universities for eligible veterans, service members, reservists, and National Guard members.
The first tuition checks authorized by the measure were mailed on August 1.
The new G.I. legislation, which was signed into law last year, was opposed by many Republicans worried it will deplete retention rates among those currently serving in the military at a time when recruitment efforts are struggling.
Obama, who backed the new benefits package as a senator, celebrated its implementation with a group of student veterans at George Mason University in northern Virginia.