NAICU Washington Update

Action Expected on Providing Protections for the GI Bill

December 04, 2020

For nearly a year, both the House and Senate Veterans Affairs Committees have been working on updating the “Protect the GI Bill Act,” and hope to include amendments in a year-end omnibus package addressing veterans’ health care and other issues. 

NAICU has been working with the higher education community and the staff of both committees to make important changes to oversight and accountability requirements for using GI Bill benefits for education.  Supporters have been advocating for changes such as removing the requirement for institutions to report monthly on veterans’ enrollment status, changing a risk-based review trigger from HCM1 to HCM2, and creating a “dual-certification” process at the VA that would allow veterans to receive their housing allowance earlier in the semester, without allowing “bad actor” institutions to keep GI Bill benefits if a student drops out soon after enrollment.

However, there continues to be concerns with provisions that essentially transform colleges and universities into VA “debt collectors” by imposing a refund policy that does not reflect the college business model, and could leave veteran students unable to re-enroll and complete their higher education.  Provisions that create misleading “individualized shopping sheets” for potential veteran students are troublesome as well. 

NAICU helped develop a higher education community-wide letter, sent yesterday, to the chairmen and ranking members of both the House and Senate committees highlighting these and other issues.

The veterans’ package is also expected to include a provision to provide additional housing benefits to veterans for the spring semester if their school has a late start date due to the pandemic.

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