New Bipartisan Legislation Will Preserve Post-9/11 G.I. Bill
Recently, I introduced bipartisan legislation to preserve veterans’ education benefits, offered under the Post-9/11 G.I. bill, from abuses by certain schools. Troubling statisticsshow that the cost to taxpayers to send a veteran to a for-profit school is more than double the cost of a public university and that eight of 10 educational institutions collecting the most V.A. benefits are for-profit schools.
The Military and Veterans Educational Reform Act of 2012, cosponsored by Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA), Tom Carper (D-DE), Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Scott Brown (R-MA), would make critical reforms to protect the integrity of the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill and military tuition assistance. It would require schools participating in educational assistance programs through both the Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense to meet the same educational standards currently required for other federal funding.
I introduced the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill my first day in office, starting with a simple concept: that we owe those people who have served since 9/11 the same type of quality educational benefits that those who served in World War II received. I am very proud to say that we were able to do that and it continues to be a great investment in the future of our country through the people who have served.
Some for-profit institutions are providing our students a great education, but with the significant federal dollars being spent, we owe it to taxpayers and our veterans to carefully monitor and provide adequate oversight. Growing concerns of abuses by some educational institutions put at risk the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill, itself, and the invaluable benefits it provides our veterans. Abuses of the World War II G.I. Bill, especially among for-profitvocational schools, led to follow-on restrictions of that program and then to even fewer benefits for those who served in Korea and Vietnam. Fixing these problems is not taking anything away from our veterans; it is preserving the greatest G.I. Bill our veterans and military members have ever had.
Signed into law on June 30, 2008, Senator Webb’s landmark Post-9/11 G.I. Bill offers returning service members up to 36 months of benefits including payment of tuition, fees and educational costs, plus a monthly housing allowance while enrolled in full-time training. Since 2009, more than 1.1 million servicemembers and veterans have applied to use their new benefits and nearly 700,000 have received benefits under the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill.