Proposed Legislation Would Make Changes to GI Bill

Many of you have posted comments about how the private school tuition cap might affect you. So I wanted to give a quick update on some legislation winding its way through the halls of Congress.

The House passed legislation (H.R. 1383) proposing a way for students already enrolled in private schools to attend without seeing their tuition payments reduced. From Congressional Quarterly:

[The] legislation would modify the GI Bill to temporarily preserve higher reimbursement rates for tuition and fees for veterans who were enrolled in education programs at private higher education institutions on or before April 1, 2011. It would set the payable amount of benefits for such students at $17,500 or at the established charges payable level determined using the maximums published in October 2010 — whichever is greater — through July 31, 2014.

The legislation is aimed at students in Arizona, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Texas—states that would have seen tuition payments greater than the $17,500 cap.

Under the proposal, students who enrolled after April 1, 2011 would be subject to the cap.

The legislation would still need to be passed by the Senate to get to the President’s desk to become law. A similar bill has been introduced in the Senate and will be discussed at a June 8 hearing.  We’ll keep you updated on the process as it unfolds.

Leo Shane at Stars & Stripes  has more on the subject.

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9 Comments to “Proposed Legislation Would Make Changes to GI Bill”

  1. Jon says:

    Thanks Alex, it’s much appreciated.
    I know that you guys making yourselves open and accessible goes a long way to show that someone within the great bureaucratic process cares.
    Keep it up!

  2. Concerned Vet says:

    I think I know why the commenter had said this website is going downhill: Credibility of the VA.
    For example, if you go to the top of this page under “Other VA Blogs”, it says “coming soon”. Well it has said that since it opened, and I know of no “OTHER VA blogs”….and I dont think they are “coming soon”. This one little lie is in a sea of so many others, it went largely unnoticed.
    Why does the Va tell us stuff that is repeatedly not factual? Dont they check their information first? I think the VA, if they want their credibility back with Veterans, need to keep their mouth shut, and, when they do open it, we should be able to count on what they say. This has not been the case. Vets deserve, and demand, the truth.

    • Alex Horton says:

      We’re putting the finishing touches on a new blog. It’ll be out very soon, and we’ll be sure to let everyone know.

    • Jon says:

      Concerned Vet- I know what you mean, but you would probably get better results if you address your concerns in a logical, constructive manner.
      I, for one, do not want the VA to “keep their mouth shut”. I would like to hear exactly what the VA has to say, and if it is not based on fact, than have it corrected. I have not been a veteran for very long, but I would say thanks to the problems older vets experienced, the VA is becoming more open and transparent, and that translates into better service for younger veterans. It’s far from perfect, and I have no problem calling a spade a spade, but statements like “sea of lies” just aren’t useful.
      No, I don’t work for the VA. But please don’t scare away VA employees who are trying to help by spewing rhetoric. You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

      • Alex Horton says:

        Thanks Jon. You’re absolutely right. I responded to his comment and moved on, but I copied one of your suggestions about the GI Bill word for word and sent it to the education folks here. They liked the idea and will consider including it in a guest post. That what this blog and social media are all about.

    • Brittany says:

      I am curious as to how this bill is causing our current benefits to be put on hold? I am a veteran who attends school full time in Florida and did not receive any of my GI Bill (post 9/11) benefits on June 1st nor have they sent payment to my school to cover tution. When I contacted the VA, I was told that because of the new bill they are not able to process any enrollment at this time and to not expect payment until at least August 1st. I want to know if this is true or not. If this is true, what are the veterans who are full time students suppose to do when we depend on these funds to subsidize our living expenses while still having to maintain the standards set by GI Bill to qualify?

  3. Concerned Vet says:

    Lots of things to help Vets are “coming soon”…that never seem to arrive:
    1. How about a backlog reduction that was promised, when the backlog of VA claims, substantially increased instead? This means a million families are impatiently waiting on the VA to process their paperwork, so they can try to support their families.
    2. Far too many of these Veterans families can not wait on the VA anymore and give up. The courts say 18 Veterans per day give up and take their life.
    http://www.azdailysun.com/news/national/govt-and-politics/article_b788a874-acb4-585c-8884-25c2d171c3b1.html
    Being “nice” to the VA does not work..the VA just keeps doing things the same old way, and I am very disturbed that 18 Vets per day must die while the VA tries to figure out a solution to the backlog problem.
    The VA executives pay needs cut 20% until, or unless the backlog is reduced or eliminated.
    Oh, and none should get a bonus with a million man backlog. NONE.

  4. Kendall Workman says:

    Alex, I would hope that this blog is to share information both good and bad. If the VA is sincere about caring for Veterans then they will certainly apply fixes when they find out there is a problem. Sadly that is not the case with me. And my issue is just Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits, nothing as serious as our fellow Vets dealing with medical issues. I tried the “using honey” approach for the past year and a half to no avail. I only have 24 hours in each of my days and after spending hundreds of hours on the phone explaining my entire story to a different call center rep every time I called, and then they tell me that someone will look into the problem but no one ever calls back what am I supposed to think? Just to give a little more background, the VA overpaid/double paid me for 4 classes in 2009-2010 which I promptly called them and said please stop! Then of course they sent bills which I promptly paid all the money they sent me but they also sent the bills to my school which also sent most of my tuition payments back. This included tuition that I was actually entitled to. Ok, honest mistake by the VA I’ll call them and I’m sure they’ll fix it right? Well, every rep I’ve spent the hour on the phone with can see on their computer screen where all the funds were returned but they have never been applied to my account because apparently people never send money back to the VA! I wish I would have known that ahead of time. So, my experience gets better, about 6 months into this fiasco the VA reports me 120 days delinquint to all three credit bureaus! Now it’s personal. As an active duty service member with a security clearance I cannot have bad credit and expect to keep my clearance so I start frantically calling everyone- the media, my congressman, the VFW, you name it and of course the VA. Their response was pathetic, they told me that there was nothing they could do until I paid the debt! The same debt that they acknowledged was paid in full several months earlier! I even received a letter from a so-called Director in Oklahoma that stated that my entire debt was waived and they were going to send me all the money back! Really! This was 3 months before the credit reports went down the drain. And of course you can probably guess that I never received the money . Not that I ever expected to. To be honest I would have rather just got what I was entitled to and see the rest go to improving care for fellow Veteran’s that really need it. I even wrote to Secretary Shinseki in the hopes that someone would at least look into it. What a joke. I have never felt more helpless in my life. I was on my local television news station with my story and even though I’m sure no one of any importance at the VA cares, I felt a little vindicated that people know the organization is still broken. I’m a reasonable person and I consider myself somewhat educated. I thought the squeeky wheel would get a little grease but in my case it flew right off the cart and no one cared. So I’ve made it a personal goal to warn as many people as possible of the risks involved in using so-called benefits. I’ll do this through my continued military service and as a Post Commander of my local chapter of the VFW. Good luck with your blog.

    • Alex Horton says:

      Hey Kendall, sorry to hear about your problems. I sent you an email asking for your last four and the school you attended when you had those issues. If you don’t see it, send me those two things at newmedia@va.gov. I’ll do my best to help out.