Veterans & Service Members

AACRAO recognizes and honors the sacrifices these men and women have made and its members are proud to assist them and meet their educational needs. Veterans and students on active military duty and their families face special circumstances and challenges.

Changes in federal statute and executive actions have greatly promoted the expansion of services toward veterans and their families. Since the Post-9/11 GI Bill was passed in 2009, close to 1 million veterans, service members, and eligible dependents have taken advantage of the educational benefits available to them. With the passage of more recent legislation, such as the Forever GI Bill in 2017 and the Isakson Roe and THRIVE Acts in 2021, there will be significant changes to military education benefits over the coming years.


Latest Actions

AACRAO recently hosted a webinar to discuss the implementation of veteran legislation passed in December 2020, also known as the Johnny Isakson and David P. Roe Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act. This law will have a transformative effect on the mission of Education Service to provide ready access to, and timely and accurate delivery of, education benefits to Veterans, Service members, and their families, as well as further enable the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to empower GI Bill beneficiaries to achieve their vocational and career goals.

Other recent legislation introduced in both the House and Senate include important provisions to help ensure veterans can continue to receive their education benefits as well as technical corrections to the legislation passed last year.


AACRAO Endorses Bill Addressing 85/15 Rule Reset

Jun 29, 2022, 15:02 PM
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Summary : Legislation would clarify the 35 percent exemption and address several other challenges resulting from VA's recent 85-15 rule policy reset.
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Members of the U.S. House and Senate Committees on Veterans' Affairs recently introduced legislation to address concerns stemming from recent policy changes to the 85-15 rule by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

The bipartisan, bicameral Ensuring the Best Schools for Veterans Act of 2022 would clarify congressional intent regarding the 85-15 rule and the 35 percent exemption and address several other challenges resulting from VA's 85-15 reset—including a requirement that institutions perform 85-15 computations at the major, minor and concentration level and a new interpretation of what constitutes a "supported student."

AACRAO has been engaged with a higher education coalition to work with the VA, as well as congressional staff, to provide relief to institutions participating in VA educational benefits programs. The coalition sent a letter to leaders of the the House and Senate Committees on Veterans' Affairs in support of the legislation, urging its swift passage. 

As the letter explains, the 85-15 rule "provides important safeguards for veterans and their GI Bill benefits against waste, fraud and abuse." The law "seeks to ensure that at least 15 percent of the students in any education program are not using GI bill benefits to pay for the program" in an effort to combat predatory institutional practices. 

Under current law, the 85-15 rule exempts institutions with a total veteran population of less than 35 percent from having to compute or submit 85-15 ratios on a program-by-program basis, the letter notes. However, as part of the recent policy reset, the VA rescinded all 35 percent exemptions currently in effect and started to require campuses to provide 85-15 ratios for every program at the institution and to resubmit these calculations every two years.

Due to these changes, as well as the new "supported student" guidance, the coalition warns that "numerous programs at colleges and universities across the country will be prohibited from enrolling veterans next term."

The groups praise the provisions included in the proposed bill, particularly its clarification of the 35 percent exemption. The legislation "will undo the negative impacts of VA's recent policy change on institutions with low total veteran populations and the veterans they serve," the letter states. 

"It will also ensure that veterans who attend these institutions will be able to enroll in their program of choice," the coalition adds. "Without this critical fix, institutions will be forced to deny veterans from enrolling in certain programs at their campuses, and in some cases, may be forced to turn them away entirely."

Related Link

Letter in Support of the Ensuring the Best Schools for Veterans Act 

Michelle Mott
Categories :
  • Advocacy
  • Compliance and Reporting
  • Enrollment Management
  • Veterans and Service Members
Tags :
  • 85/15 rule
  • accountability
  • Data
  • Federal Regulations
  • Federal relations
  • fraud
  • gi bill
  • VA Programs
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