The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) this week delayed the implementation of its new Enrollment Manager system for certifying GI Bill benefits to early March following outreach from AACRAO and other higher education associations.
A previous VA message announced plans to sunset the current VA-ONCE system on January 13 and subsequently launch the new platform at the end of January 2023, leaving a gap of at least two weeks—during the peak certification period for the spring semester—when institutions would be unable to submit certifications.
"Colleges and universities are deeply concerned that this system migration will disrupt and delay critical veteran education benefits including veterans' monthly housing allowances, particularly for new veterans transitioning into higher education for the first time," AACRAO and other groups stated in a letter to VA officials.
The letter outlined a number of issues related to the proposed roll out, highlighting the shortened preparation time frame due to campus holiday closures, as well as potential hardships, overpayments, and student debt. The groups strongly urged the department to delay the transition to the new system to ensure that veterans' benefits are not delayed or otherwise impacted. Additionally, the associations requested that the agency provide more training resources for school certifying officials (SCOs) to help minimize any disruptions and ensure a smooth transition.
In response to that outreach, the VA delayed the implementation of the new system from mid-January 2023 to the early March 2023 timeframe and announced the development of multiple interactive training modules and other resources, including in-person events and webinars, ahead of the launch of the new Enrollment Manager system.
"We understand that VA believes that Enrollment Manager will be a significant improvement over the current system and will provide a more intuitive and user-friendly experience for certifying officials," the groups stated in their letter to the VA. "We are hopeful this will be the case and appreciate VA’s efforts to bring about improvements to the current system."
Letter to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs on Enrollment Manager System Transition
Inside Higher Ed