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House and Senate VA Committee Leaders Introduce Bill to Simplify G.I. Bill Reporting Requirements

Today, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Ranking Member Rep. Mike Bost (R-Ill.) and Chairman Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.), and Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Ranking Member Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kans.) released the following statements after introducing H.R. 8198 and S. 5548, the Ensuring the Best Schools for Veterans Act of 2022, legislation to codify reporting requirements for colleges and universities participating in the G.I. Bill.

“Most American colleges or universities have at least one student veteran or GI Bill beneficiary on its campus. That’s why I am proud that Chairman Takano, Chairman Tester, and Ranking Member Moran are joining me in introducing the Ensuring the Best Schools for Veterans Act today,” said Ranking Member Bost. “This bill would simplify the reporting process for colleges and universities to make GI Bill paperwork requirements easier and more straightforward. This will allow schools to focus on ensuring student veterans get the education they have earned without additional red tape. I hope to see this bipartisan bill passed in both chambers and signed into law before the start of the fall semester.”

“Student veterans should be able to choose the programs they want when they enroll in high-quality educational institutions,” said Chairman Takano. “The Department of Veterans’ Affairs’ (VA) 85/15 rule is an important safeguard in protecting students and their educational benefits from predatory fraud and abuse. However, for schools with a small student veteran population, this rule has unintended negative consequences that limit student veterans from participating in their programs. The Ensuring the Best Schools for Veterans Act of 2022 addresses disparities in the 85/15 rule so all student veterans can successfully complete their degree without interruption. I want to thank Senator Tester and Ranking Members Bost and Moran for their work on this important bill as well as the 17 VSOs and educational organizations for their support.”

“We’ve got to remove roadblocks standing in the way of our veterans and their families getting the quality education they deserve at colleges and universities across the country,” said Chairman Tester. “Our bipartisan bill will do just that—cutting red tape and strengthening necessary oversight to prevent for-profit colleges from preying on veterans’ hard-earned benefits.”

“The GI Bill has made it possible for thousands of veterans to pursue a college degree after their military service,” said Ranking Member Moran. “This legislation will make it easier for colleges and universities that serve student veterans to have a standard and simplified process to enroll students using the GI Bill and help them get their benefits. I am pleased to introduce this legislation with the Senate and House Veterans’ Affairs Committee leaders to help our veterans achieve success after service.”

“We’ve heard from schools and SVA Chapters for well over a year now concerned with the trickle-down effects of VA’s recent changes to its 85-15 rule. The potential, unintended consequences of the new requirements to limit student veterans’ access to quality institutions cannot be overstated,” said Lauren Augustine, Vice President of Government Affairs with Student Veterans of America. “The Ensuring the Best Schools for Veterans Act of 2022 addresses these concerns and better aligns the rule with Congress’ intent. We thank Chairman Takano and Ranking Member Bost for their dedication to addressing this critical issue.”

“The Ensuring the Best Schools for Veterans Act of 2022 is exactly what veteran students and institutions needed,” said Stephen Patterson, Executive Director of the Veterans Education Project. “This legislation is a great step forward to ensuring veteran students are able to use their earned benefits at excellent schools, while providing more oversight and flexibility to colleges and universities.”

“This legislation will be welcome news on campus and will help our institutions in their efforts to serve veterans and other military-connected students,” said Ted Mitchell, President of the American Council on Education. “We thank committee Chairs Tester and Takano and Ranking Members Moran and Bost for their leadership in introducing this bill. It has our full support, and we look forward to its swift passage.”
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