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Military Connection: The Gift of Education

GI Bill Students

 

By Debbie Gregory.

One of the greatest gifts we can give to those who serve and their families is the gift of education. As a way of making it easier for Veterans and their families to use their GI Bill benefits where they choose, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (USDVA) announced all Veterans and dependents using USDVA’s GI Bill benefits shall receive temporary in-state tuition status through the end of the year, regardless of their state of residence. The Secretary of Veterans Affairs has used his authority to waive the provisions of Section 702 of the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014 (Choice Act). This action will ensure all GI Bill students are able to continue training at their chosen institutions.

“Our military members and their families make sacrifices that require them to pack up and move with little notice,” said Bob McDonald, Secretary of Veterans Affairs.  “They shouldn’t be penalized after they leave military service by burdensome residency requirements.  This waiver will allow students to continue receiving the GI Bill benefits they’ve earned as states work to comply with this important law.”

The states that are currently in compliance, meaning that covered individuals using the Post-9/11 GI Bill or Montgomery GI Bill-Active Duty benefits at public institutions of higher learning will be charged the resident rate for tuition and fees are: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

The states/territories that intend to comply, meaning that they are undergoing an internal review process with support from the State Approving Agency and VA are: Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virgin Islands, and Washington.

According to Keith Boylan, CalVet’s Deputy Secretary for Veterans Services, “Students using GI Bill benefits in California are able to continue training at their chosen institutions and receive in-state tuition status.” Boylan went on to say, “CalVet thanks USDVA for taking the initiative for our Veterans and dependents using the GI Bill.”

USDVA’s policy impacts Veterans and dependents who enroll in an institution within three years of the Veteran’s qualifying discharge. The new rule was issued as a waiver under the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the ArmyNavyAir ForceMarinesCoast Guard,Guard and ReserveVeterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Boardinformation on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: The Gift of Education: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: VA Reform Bill Passes: By Debbie Gregory

VA reform billThe long awaited legislation designed to reform the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), has been passed by both houses of Congress, and is pending President Obama’s signature before it can be enacted.

The bill, known as the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014, is a compromise between the House and Senate bills. After being re-worked to include the best of both existing bills, it passed overwhelmingly in each house during separate votes last week. On Wednesday, July 30, 2014 the bill passed in the House by a vote of 420-5. Late Thursday evening, the bill was passed in the Senate by a vote of 91-3.

The bill earmarks $16.3 billion to expand programs and benefits for Veterans. Included in this amount is $10 billion to expand healthcare options for Veterans who are unable to receive timely appointments within the VA system. This provision allows these Veterans to seek care from providers outside the VA system. The bill also allots $5 billion to enable the VA to hire more doctors and nurses to handle a greater number of caseloads, and $1.3 billion to finance 27 new VA facilities across the country.

Also included in the act are improvements to Veteran education benefits. Under section 702 of the pending bill, there is an incentive for schools to charge the in-state tuition for Veterans, their spouses and children when they use VA education benefits such as the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Conversely, the legislation proposes to disapprove future benefits at public schools that charge tuition rates higher than in-state rates to any Veteran who served more than 90 days active service and separated no more than three years before enrollment.

There are provisions for Veteran students already enrolled in school, and a timetable for schools out of compliance to comply. If approved, public colleges and universities would be forced to charge all Veterans in-state tuition rates, *or* risk losing all of their GI Bill students. More than 30 states already require their public schools to make exceptions for out of state Veteran students using their education benefits.

The president is expected to sign the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014 into law.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: VA Reform Bill Passes:  By Debbie Gregory