NAICU Washington Update

President Signs Bill Helping Student Veterans

September 02, 2022

After passing its final hurdles in Congress earlier this month, President Biden signed into law the Ensuring the Best Schools for Veterans Act on August 26, allowing student veterans access to the programs and majors they desire to pursue as early as this fall. 

The law, which clarifies issues institutions were having with the “reset” that started in October of 2021, will: 
  • Ensure that accredited institutions with less than 35% GI Bill student enrollment are exempt from collecting or reporting 85/15 requirements; 
  • Exempt programs with fewer than 10 students;
  • Count students on repayment plans as “non-supported;” and 
  • Allow schools to apply for a review if they are found to be out of compliance with the 35% waiver or the 85/15 rule. 
The law is in effect upon enactment, so that enrollment this fall can be addressed.

The Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Veterans Benefits Administration sent a message to School Certifying Officials and other stakeholders outlining the first steps the agency will take for implementing the new law. 

Specifically, the VA mentioned the following:  
  • If the institution has received a 35% Reporting Exemption or “waiver” as part of the October 1, 2021, reset, no action is required.
  • If the institution has submitted a 35% Reporting Exemption or “waiver” to VA since the October 1, 2021, reset do not reapply. VA is actively reviewing exemption requests and will provide a response to institutions directly.
  • If the institution has not met the deadline to report and submit the associated application for a 35% Reporting Exemption or “waiver,” it must be submitted using VA Form 22-10216, 35% Exemption Request From 85/15 Reporting Requirement.   
  • If the institution does not qualify for a 35% Reporting Exemption or “waiver,” then it must continue to report 85/15 computations as done previously with one important change:
    • For terms or calendar quarters beginning on-or-after August 26, 2022, the following students may be classified as non-supported:
      • Students who are not Veterans or reservists, and are not in receipt of any institutional aid;
      • All graduate students in receipt of institutional aid;
      • Students in receipt of any federal aid (other than Department of Veterans Affairs benefits);
      • Undergraduates and non-college degree students receiving any assistance provided by an institution, if the institutional policy for determining the recipients of such aid is equal with respect to Veterans and non-Veterans alike; and
      • Students on a repayment plan completed no later than 180 days from the end of the term, quarter, or semester. 
The VA has indicated that it will provide additional guidance and training on the new law this fall. 

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