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.


Bill to Protect GI Bill Benefits from Coronavirus Impacts

Mar 12, 2020, 11:59 AM
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Summary : Proposed legislation would grant the Department of Veterans Affairs the discretion not to reduce GI Bill benefits for student veterans if their institutions close or go online during the pandemic.
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U.S. Representative Phil Roe (R-TN), ranking member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, introduced a bill Wednesday to protect GI Bill recipients from being negatively impacted by school closures or other changes as a result of COVID-19. The proposed bill, H.R. 6194, would grant the Department of Veterans Affairs the discretion not to reduce GI Bill benefits for student veterans if their colleges or universities close or go online only during the coronavirus pandemic.

"No student veteran, dependent or spouse should be worried about their GI Bill benefits being reduced or cut off because of actions their school is taking in response to COVID-19," Rep. Roe said in a statement.

"The uncertainty facing student veterans in the wake of unexpected school closures and changes in response to COVID-19 is unprecedented," said Jared Lyon, CEO and president of Student Veterans of America. 

For example, if a program were to move midterm from in-person to online, housing benefit payments would remain the same for the remainder of the term. However, under VA regulations, they would be reduced—for example, to one-half of the national average of the Defense Department's basic housing allowance for enlisted service members with dependents in the E-5 classification. Or if an academic program has been approved as eligible for GI Bill benefits as an in-person track, it would not be approved by the VA as an online program if it were to become online only. That could mean benefits like tuition and housing allowances would stop, because it would no longer be a VA-approved program, reported Inside Higher Ed.

Although the proposed bill would not direct the VA, it would allow the agency additional flexibility between now and December to continue paying full benefits even if a program goes online, Inside Higher Ed reported.

"This critical, time-sensitive legislation explicitly ensures student veterans will be able to continue to attend school and experience no changes to monthly housing allowances as more schools take COVID-19 prevention measures," Lyon said in a statement. 

Related Links

U.S. Representative Phil Roe’s Press Release

Inside Higher Ed

Michelle Mott
Categories :
  • Advocacy
  • Campus Safety
  • Financial Aid and FAFSA
  • Online and Distance Learning
  • Veterans and Service Members
Tags :
  • Federal relations
  • gi bill
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