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.


Congress Passes, Trump Signs Second Emergency GI Bill Fix

Apr 29, 2020, 17:34 PM
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Summary : Measure pays work study students and extends education benefits by the length of time their school is closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
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Last week, Congress finalized a second GI bill fix to protect student veterans from losing their Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) education benefits because of issues related to the coronavirus outbreak. President Trump signed the measure into law this week. 

The Student Veterans Coronavirus Response Act, H.R. 6322, follows legislation last month designed to protect GI Bill and other U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs-funded students from a reduction in their housing allowance as classes shifted online as a result of the pandemic. The first bill, S. 3503, grants the VA Secretary the authority to continue to provide VA educational assistance to veterans when an approved program of education at a college or university is converted to an online program due to an emergency or health-related situation. This authority extends through Dec. 21, 2020.

However, that legislation did not cover income lost from other sources, such as shuttered work study programs connected to the GI Bill. The latest measure—passed by the House earlier this month and by unanimous consent in the Senate last week—would keep those work study payments active through the remainder of the semester, even if students cannot reach their place of employment.

The Student Veterans Coronavirus Response Act would ensure that veterans can receive an additional monthly housing allowance payment if their institution closes due to COVID-19. Additionally, veterans would be able to have their education entitlements restored if their campus closes or the veteran needs to withdraw due to coronavirus-related issues.

Lawmakers hailed the passage as an important step in protecting veterans' financial future, reported the Military Times. White House officials have not said when the legislation may be signed into law, but also have not offered any objections to the proposal.

AACRAO strongly supports the Student Veterans Coronavirus Response Act. Ahead of the Senate vote, the association joined a letter to urge lawmakers to support its passage. 

"As the extent of the crisis began to spread last month across the country, Congress acted swiftly to ensure that student veterans did not lose access to their GI Bill benefits and housing allowances as their institutions moved coursework online. As the pandemic continues to impact the ways in which student veterans work and learn, additional flexibility will continue to ensure our military-connected students have their financial needs met and can continue with their studies," the letter states.

"These and other changes will help ensure that veterans' education benefits are not negatively impacted by campus programming changes and/or closures necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic that are beyond their control."

Related Link

The Military Times

Michelle Mott
Categories :
  • Advocacy
  • Online and Distance Learning
  • Veterans and Service Members
Tags :
  • covid-19
  • Emergency Financial Support
  • Federal relations
  • gi bill
  • work study
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