Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Ensure Quality Education for Our Vets

Recently ROA attended two events on Capitol Hill regarding education benefits for veterans and service members who attend for profit colleges. Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA), Jim Webb (D-VA), and Tom Carper (D-DE) held a press conference in the morning to unveil new data tracking which colleges are taking in the most post-9/11 G.I. Bill benefits. Following the announcement, Senator Carper chaired a hearing of the Senate HSGAC Subcommittee on Federal Finance Management, Government Information, Federal Services, and International Security on improving educational benefits for our military and veterans. During this hearing, panels testified on potential changes to the Department of Defense’s policy governing military tuition assistance to help service members and veterans be more informed in making decisions about where and how to use their education benefits.

ROA responded to these developments by submitting its positions to the committee. Read ROA's response.

ROA has long been a staunch advocate for appropriately extending and managing education benefits for service members. In the last year alone ROA has advocated for the following positions:
  • Include U.S. Public Health Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Corps members in the post–9/11 GI Bill.
  • Include Title 32 AGR and Title 14 eligibility for the post–9/11 GI Bill.
  • Adopt Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) Ch. 30, 38 USC program eligibility rules for non-degree vocational, on-the-job training, apprenticeship, and flight training programs to post–9/11 GI Bill.
  • Exempt GI Bill earned benefit from being considered income in need-based aid calculations.
  • Develop a standard nationwide payment system for private schools.
  • Re-examine qualification basis for Yellow Ribbon Program, rather than first-come first-served.
    ---Enact Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) and Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) protections for mobilized Guard and Reserve students, granting academic leaves of absence, protecting academic standing, and guaranteeing refunds. Adjust interest rates on federal student loans of mobilized reservists when the market rate drops below 6 percent.
  • Increase Montgomery GI Bill–Selected Reserve (MGIB–SR) to 47 percent of MGIB–Active.
  • Include four-year reenlistment contracts to qualify for MGIB–SR.

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