NAICU Washington Update

House Approves Long-Awaited Veterans Educational Technical Bill

December 10, 2021

After several months of tumultuous negotiations, the House has approved legislation clarifying that the prohibition against incentive compensation in the GI Bill does not apply to the recruitment of foreign students.  This change conforms the incentive compensation provisions of the GI Bill with those of the Higher Education Act.  The bill is now on its way to the Senate where it is expected to be considered next week. 

The incentive compensation provision was one of several technical amendments to the Isakson-Roe Act and the THRIVE Act, both signed into law earlier this year.  The new legislation also revises the consumer information provisions of Isakson-Roe to permit institutions to use a Department of Education form or template to provide veteran students with information regarding program costs and financial aid.  The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) received several thousand waiver requests related to the original consumer information provisions.

The measure also extends to June 1, 2022, the flexibilities enacted in response to the COVID-19 emergency.  These flexibilities, which would otherwise expire on December 21, are assisting nearly 57,000 students at 1,872 schools this fall.  This extension is particularly important to veterans who are taking courses remotely.

Other provisions of the bill waive enrollment verification requirements for institutions that use flat fee structures and address the so-called “round-out rule,’ which would permit students in their final term of a program to take non-required courses if needed to carry a greater-than-half-time load (and thereby retaining their eligibility for a housing allowance).

While the bill goes a long way toward making serving veterans easier for institutions, it will not solve the emerging problems institutions are facing with the VA’s reinterpretation of the 85/15 rule.  Those problems will require either a regulatory fix by the VA or a statutory fix by Congress.  To date, there appears to be no immediate solution on 85/15 on the horizon. 

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