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.


Senate to Consider Protect the GI Bill Act

Jul 1, 2020, 19:14 PM
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Summary : AACRAO expresses concern that some provisions would be problematic for institutions.
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The U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs is expected to mark-up the House-passed Protect the GI Bill Act, H.R. 4625, this Congress. AACRAO sent a letter to committee leaders ahead of the bill's consideration outlining concerns about certain provisions that would be problematic for institutions. 

The proposed legislation would require institutions to report veteran enrollment status to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) on a monthly basis—a process that would be burdensome for colleges and universities, as the VA-ONCE system does not accept batch data and reporting must be done manually.  

"The manual entry related to the compliance elements of the certification process/reporting, as currently imposed by the VA, already presents challenges for institutions," the letter states. "During manual entry, data can be mis-keyed, undermining accuracy. Additionally, institutions offer non-standard enrollment terms, multiple student levels (undergraduate, graduate, professional, etc.), and a large array of scholarships and grants adding layers of complexity to reporting."

AACRAO strongly recommended that lawmakers remove the additional monthly reporting requirement from the proposed bill. The association also urged committee leaders to utilize the legislation to make updating and upgrading the VA-ONCE reporting system a priority to allow institutions to report electronically through batch reporting.

"We truly believe that the best option for veteran verification is for the VA to upgrade technologies and implement an enrollment verification process similar to that of the Department of Education for Title IV compliance," the letter states.

An AACRAO work group, composed of School Certifying Officials (SCOs) from high veteran-serving institutions, released a report in November 2019 evaluating issues, requirements, and student information system (SIS) functionality to facilitate veteran reporting improvement. The work report also includes protocols for data collection and reporting using existing tools while anticipating the future state of the reporting process. 

Report recommendations are supported by NASPA-Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, Student Veterans of America (SVA), Veterans Education Success, along with many SCOs across the country. 

Related Links

AACRAO Letter to Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Regarding the Protect the GI Bill Act

Michelle Mott
Categories :
  • Advocacy
  • Compliance and Reporting
  • Financial Aid and FAFSA
  • Grants and Scholarships
  • Veterans and Service Members
Tags :
  • Federal relations
  • gi bill
  • Resources for Veterans Administration Certification
  • SIS
  • VA Programs
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