NAICU Washington Update

GI Bill Updates

August 06, 2010

Post-9/11 Veterans Education Assistance Improvements Act of 2010

On August 5, the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee approved legislation to expand and modify the Post-9/11 GI Bill. The bill was introduced by the committee's chairman, Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) in late May. Similar legislation was recently introduced in the House by Rep. Walt Minnick (D-Idaho).

Of particular interest to private colleges is a provision to establish a national $20,000 cap on annual tuition and fee payments to veterans attending non-public institutions.  Currently, the VA sets tuition and fee caps state-by-state, with the figures varying widely across states.  These state-specific numbers are used both to calculate a veteran's basic tuition-and-fee benefit, as well as to establish the baseline for the special "Yellow Ribbon" program (see below).

Testifying before the committee in July, representatives of veteran students groups cited the move to a single national figure as their number one priority in modifying of the post-9/11 GI Bill.  As Tim Embree of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America put it, "We need a GI Bill benefit that is easy to calculate and is easily understood by those who use the benefit as well as those who distribute it."

The legislation also would expand eligibility for active-duty National Guard and Reserve members, and would increase the number of training programs where benefits could be used.

Yellow Ribbon Program

The Department of Veterans Affairs recently announced that over 1,100 colleges have signed Yellow Ribbon agreements for the 2010-11 academic year.  This is approximately the same number of participants as the initial year of the program.  Information about participating schools and their agreements may be found on the VA website.

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