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.


Lawmakers Press VA Dept. on 85/15 Guidance

Dec 2, 2021, 12:08 PM
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Summary : Leaders of the Veterans' Affairs Committees ask for more clarity on new 85/15 guidance, which may negatively impact the ability of colleges and universities to enroll and serve veterans.
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Leaders of the U.S. House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committees recently sent a letter to Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis R. McDonough requesting additional clarification on the newly released guidance concerning the 85/15 rule.

Sens. Jon Tester (D-MT) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA) asked the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to provide more clarity and communication to schools and students as to how to meet the new requirements, noting that the updates may negatively impact the ability of colleges and universities to enroll and serve veterans, including those currently enrolled.

The 85/15 rule prohibits paying VA benefits to students enrolling in a program when more than 85 percent of the students enrolled in that program are having any portion of their tuition, fees, or other charges paid for them by the school or VA. It aims to combat predatory practices of schools and "is vital to ensuring student veterans and their eligible beneficiaries receive sound and substantial education and training," the letter states. 

However, the lawmakers cite concern over recent guidance from the VA on how the rule will be implemented going forward. In particular, they note the new interpretation of what constitutes a "supported student."

Under previous guidance, a supported student was generally defined as any student receiving any amount of VA education benefits. The recent guidance expanded that definition to include any student who receives an institutionally-funded scholarship or grant, any student who is granted any waiver or forgiveness of tuition and fees, and any student using a payment plan. As such, students who do not receive any form of assistance from VA would be included in the 85/15 calculation as supported students. 

The letter states that institutions across the country have expressed concern that the VA's new interpretation of the law will significantly impact their ability to accept student veterans and their beneficiaries, including those students who are activated in the Guard or Reserve components during their academic term. Furthermore, school officials are worried about the lack of training and communication from VA on accurate implementation of this new guidance. 

Sens. Tester and Moran and Rep. Takano asked the VA to review its recent guidance on the 85/15 rule and respond to their requests for information no later than December 1, 2021. 

"We strongly support VA's efforts to ensure student veterans have positive educational outcomes and are not victims of predatory behavior, but we also want to prevent unnecessary barriers for both schools and veterans, so veterans are able to utilize their earned VA education benefits,” the lawmakers state in the letter.

Related Link

U.S. Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Press Release 

Letter to U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis R. McDonough 

Michelle Mott
Categories :
  • Advocacy
  • Grants and Scholarships
  • Veterans and Service Members
Tags :
  • 85/15 rule
  • accountability
  • Federal Regulations
  • Federal relations
  • forgiveness
  • fraud
  • tuition
  • VA Programs
  • Veterans and service members issues
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