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 to Consider Revised Protect the GI Bill Act

Dec 10, 2020, 11:50 AM
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Summary : While generally supportive of the bill's goals, AACRAO and other groups issue concerns that some provisions could create unintended consequences for veterans and institutions.
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Congress is reportedly expected to consider a revised version of H.R. 4625, the Protect the GI Bill Act, as part of a larger package of veteran-related bills. 

The House passed the original version of the measure in November 2019. While generally supportive of the bill's goals, AACRAO issued concerns that some provisions would be problematic for institutions.

In response to feedback from AACRAO and other higher education associations, the modified legislation includes some improvements to the earlier bill, such as eliminating a provision that would have required institutions to verify student enrollment to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) on a monthly basis. However, other concerns remain. Ahead of consideration of the updated legislation, AACRAO joined 14 higher education groups in letters to House and Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs leaders regarding the revised Protect the GI Bill Act.  

The letters express support for the broader objective of the legislation to "provide important protections for student veterans and for taxpayer dollars from waste, fraud, and abuse," as well as the important improvements and clarifications included in the updated language. However, the groups note some concerns regarding several provisions that could create unintended consequences for veterans and institutions.

In particular, section 12 of the revised bill includes language that would make colleges and universities responsible for repaying the VA for the amount of overpayments of tuition and fees that result from changes to a veteran's enrollment status. Currently, when a veteran drops a class or withdraws from a program, the VA treats that as a debt owed by the veteran back to the institution. Under the bill, institutions would be responsible for paying back this debt, effectively putting colleges and universities in the unreasonable position of becoming the VA's debt collector. 

"Given the potential for unintended consequences, we would encourage the Committee to eliminate this section of the bill and instead require the GAO, with assistance from VA, to prepare a follow-up report for Congress further examining this issue upon implementation of the Protect the GI Bill Act," the groups request, among other things.

Related Links

Community Letter to the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs on the Protect the GI Bill Act 

Community Letter to the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs on the Protect the GI Bill Act
Michelle Mott
Categories :
  • Advocacy
  • Veterans and Service Members
Tags :
  • Federal relations
  • fraud
  • gi bill
  • student debt
  • tuition
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