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.


House Bills Address Concerns in Sweeping Veterans Benefits Law

Oct 20, 2021, 19:53 PM
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Summary : Lawmakers recently introduced two bills to make technical corrections to the Isakson Roe and THRIVE Acts and extend certain COVID-related flexibilities for veterans education benefits.
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House lawmakers recently introduced two bills to make technical corrections to the Isakson Roe and THRIVE Acts and extend certain COVID-related flexibilities for veterans education benefits.  

The Johnny Isakson and David P. Roe, M.D. Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement (Isakson Roe) Act and the Training in High-demand Roles to Improve Veteran Employment Act (THRIVE Act), which were enacted earlier this year and effective August 1, provide important protections for student veterans to help ensure that they can use their GI Bill benefits to complete a quality postsecondary education. However, certain provisions included in the legislation could create unintended consequences for veterans and institutions.

The two proposed House bills would address many of those areas of concern. The Student Veteran COVID-19 Protection Act, H.R. 5509, and the Responsible Education Mitigating Options and Technical Extensions (REMOTE) Act, H.R. 5545, would both: 

  • Extend certain COVID-related flexibilities granted to the secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and set to expire this December until June 2022. Without this extension, veterans could see their benefits reduced or cut off if their campus needs to move instruction online. 
  • Make the VA's incentive compensation provision parallel to the incentive compensation provision in the Higher Education Act (HEA) by adding the exception that permits recruiting of foreign students in foreign countries. 
  • Require the VA and the State Approving Agencies to interpret the VA's incentive compensation provision consistent with the Education Department's interpretation.
  • Allow the VA to waive the second certification requirement for institutions with a flat rate tuition and fee structure. 
  • Allow institutions to satisfy Isakson Roe section 1018's consumer information requirements by using the Education Department's "College Financing Plan" template. 

The Student Veteran COVID-19 Protection Act, introduced by Rep. Mike Bost (R-IL), includes language to expand the VA's "rounding out" policy, which helps veterans receive full time benefits during the last term of their education program. The measure would also require the proposed changes be paid for by offsetting funds. 

In contrast, the REMOTE Act, introduced by Reps. David Trone (D-MD), Mark Takano (D-CA), and Mike Levin (D-CA), would pay for the measure using emergency spending. 

AACRAO joined the broader higher education community in letters to Rep. Bost and Reps. Trone, Takano, and Levin, to express strong support of both bills. 

"We stand ready to work with you and your colleagues to ensure that legislation addressing these issues is passed by Congress and enacted into law as quickly as possible," the letters state. 

"These and other technical corrections address the implementation concerns raised by our college and universities while maintaining important protections for veterans," the groups added.

Michelle Mott
Categories :
  • Advocacy
  • Financial Aid and FAFSA
  • Higher Education Act
  • International
  • International Admissions and Credential Evaluation
  • International Education
  • Online and Distance Learning
  • Veterans and Service Members
Tags :
  • covid-19
  • Federal relations
  • gi bill
  • incentive compensation
  • Resources for Veterans Administration Certification
  • tuition
  • Veterans and service members issues
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