NAICU Washington Update

House Unanimously Approves Post-9/11 GI Bill "Hold-harmless" Legislation

May 24, 2011

By a vote of 389-0, the House of Representatives has approved the "Restoring GI Bill Fairness Act of 2011" (H.R. 1383), providing a "hold-harmless" for veterans who would otherwise see their post-9/11 GI Bill tuition-and-fee benefits reduced under legislation enacted last December. (See Washington Update, 12/20/10)

The December legislation established a $17,500 annual cap on the tuition-and-fee benefits provided to veterans attending private postsecondary institutions, replacing the existing state-by-state calculations.  The cap means higher benefits for veterans in many states.  However, without further legislation, some veterans in seven states would see their benefits drop when the cap takes effect this August 1.

As approved by the House, students currently enrolled in private institutions in Arizona, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Texas would be protected from a reduction in their tuition-and-fee benefits over the next three years.  This change would permit these students to complete their programs without having to deal with a sudden drop in their benefits.

The projected $50 million cost would be offset by altering a scheduled reduction in VA home loan origination fees.  Rather than taking effect on October 1, the fee reduction would be phased in over a two-year period.

Related Senate legislation, S. 745, has been introduced by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), and is pending before the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee.