Monday, November 1, 2010

ROA Meets with Vets to Discuss New GI Bill 2.0

Erim Sarinoglu
Legislative Intern

ROA further expanded its role in promoting veterans’ educational benefits in meeting with IAVA and student veterans Oct. 27. The meeting, which took place at ROA’s headquarters, included Peter Nesbitt, President of the University Military Association at Georgetown University, who shed light on obstacles student veterans face at local institutions of higher learning. Also discussed were current efforts to reform the Post-9/11 GI Bill through the "New GI Bill 2.0."

Currently, the Post-9/11 GI Bill sets a maximum amount a student veteran may receive according to the state he chooses to study in. The limit is calculated as the highest combination of tuition and fees for a public school in that state, but this VA-calculation causes inconsistent treatment due to widely varying state tuitions, and places a disproportionate burden on vets who choose to study at private universities in states with low public university tuitions. About 25 percent of veterans that use the Post-9/11 GI Bill enroll in private universities, and in certain states and Washington, DC, these formulations make each dollar of the veteran’s earned benefit go much less far.

The New GI Bill 2.0 would provide some major improvements such as full coverage for all public schools, a direct $20,000 baseline payment for all private schools as part of the Yellow Ribbon Program, the inclusion of certificate and vocational schools, and eligibility of Title 32 Active Guard Reserve. But the prospects for passing improvement bills during the lame duck session are not good.

The reform has seen support from on both sides of the aisle, but election politics and small inter-party and inter-chamber skirmishes have left the bill “slow balled” and in limbo. The full coverage and new baseline payment schemes would alleviate most problems student veterans currently have with the bill. However, some Republicans think those measures would cost too much, even though the Congressional Budget Office says their cost estimates are inaccurate and inflated. Also, some Democrats don’t want to share the bipartisan limelight around election time. Other, more productive lawmakers from both sides are struggling to push the measure past more contentious issues like tax cuts.

ROA believes that the continued education of our veterans after their brave service is not only the right thing to do, but also is crucial in getting our economy on the right track with bright, well-educated leaders. ROA recently submitted testimony to Congress that included the requests that Coast Guardsmen’s Title 14 service be eligible, and NOAA Corps and USPHS members be provided eligibility for transferability. ROA looks forward to further expanding its role in promoting our veterans’ educational benefits as more investigative meetings about the Post-9/11 GI Bill occur in the coming weeks.

To help in the efforts to push the GI Bill 2.0 legislation forward, contact your Congressmen and Senators today.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How about senior NCO, Warrant Officers and Senior commission Officers. Why don't they get a chance to pass their benefit to their Children? Someone paid the price with their lives, some with divorces and other wit their loss of their jobs or businesses.