NAICU Washington Update

Senate Sends Veterans Educational Technical Bill to President

December 17, 2021

Having passed in the House last week, the Senate has now approved legislation that will benefit tens of thousands of veteran students on campuses nationwide.
Facing a fast-approaching December 21 deadline, the most time-sensitive component of the legislation was the extension of the flexibilities enacted in response to the COVID-19 emergency to June 1, 2022.  These flexibilities are assisting nearly 57,000 students at 1,872 schools. 
Without this extension, many more veterans would have seen their benefits reduced or eliminated if their institutions have to revert to online instruction due to the pandemic.  With growing concerns about the omicron variant, this problem can quickly compound.
Another time-sensitive provision addresses the so-called “round out rule” by allowing students in their final term to take non-required courses if needed to maintain full-time benefits (and thereby retain their eligibility for a housing allowance.)
Of particular importance to institutions, the measure also clarifies 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 incentive compensation provision is 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.
In addition, the bill waives enrollment verification requirements for institutions that use flat fee structures.
The bill, which is expected to be signed by President Biden soon, is welcome relief for veterans enrolled in college.

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