Senate Passes Bill Aimed at Protecting GI Bill Benefits

By Allie Bidwell, Communications Staff

The Senate this weekend unanimously passed a bill aimed at protecting student veterans from using certain financial aid dollars on career programs that won’t help them get a job. The bill, the Career Ready Student Veterans Act, was attached as a provision to the continuing resolution that Congress passed to fund the government through April 28.

The bill, which was previously passed by the House of Representatives in February, would prohibit student veterans from using their GI Bill benefits at institutions that do not meet certain licensure or certification requirements needed to enter the field the program targets.

Walter Ochinko, policy director of Veterans Education Success, said in a statement that the two unanimous votes by the House and Senate show that “every member of Congress agreed that veterans should be protected from education programs that are a waste of their time and their hard-earned GI Bill benefits.”

“With passage of this provision, degree programs that lack the accreditation needed for graduates to site for licensure exams or obtain certifications won’t be eligible to participate in the GI Bill,” Ochinko said.

In 2015, Ochinko released a report that documented this program, and found that 20 percent of 300 programs approved to participate in the GI Bill to train students for licensed occupations were improperly accredited. In fact, Ochinko found that graduates of those programs were not eligible to sit for the required licensing and certification programs, and therefore could not get hired in their fields.

“Our veterans risked their lives to protect our freedoms as Americans,” said Sen. Tom Tillis (R-NC), a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee and an original sponsor of the bill. “This good-faith policy ensures they earn an education that will help them enter the civilian workforce and provide the opportunity to seek employment that will put them on a path toward a successful career.”


Publication Date: 12/14/2016

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