Veterans Education

Higher education’s commitment to educating veterans and active-duty servicemembers, as well as their dependents and spouses, dates back to the original GI Bill. AASCU has been the administrative agent for the U.S. Department of Defense-funded Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges (SOC) since 1972. SOC works with the higher education community and the military to expand and improve the voluntary postsecondary education opportunities of servicemembers worldwide. AASCU itself also advocates for veterans education policies that are simpler and more transparent for both veteran students and institutions of higher education.

Policy Publications

Policy Matters 

  • Proposed Legislative Changes to the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill: Potential Implications for Veterans and Colleges - November 2010 (View PDF)
  • Implementing the Post-9/11 GI Bill: Lessons Learned and Emerging Issues - November 2009 (View PDF) 
Perspectives
  • When Johnny [or Janelle] Comes Marching Home: National, State, and Institutional Efforts in Support of Veterans' Education - Summer 2008 (View PDF)

Public Policy Agenda

AASCU Public Policy Agenda Priorities Related to Veterans’ Education 

  • Support legislative changes and/or technical corrections to the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008 in order to make procedures simpler and more transparent, as well as standardize benefit processing in accordance with accepted higher education practices. In particular, support efforts to replace separate payment charts for tuition and fees created by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)—in which the VA calculates and caps tuition and fee charges separately—with a combined tuition and fee chart conforming to standard higher education billing practices. 
  • Ensure that veteran students receive their full education benefit entitlement for military service, irrespective of other forms of financial assistance. Collaborate with appropriate stakeholders to oppose any proposals to make the VA the “payer of last resort” for veterans’ educational benefits. Making the VA the payer of last resort will take away benefits veterans have already earned through service to their country and create roadblocks in their path to higher education. Payer of last resort provisions will also result in further confusion and increased administrative burden for colleges and universities serving veteran students. 
  • Support an equitable increase in the $7/student fee paid by VA to institutions for processing veteran student benefit certifications. This fee has not been increased in over 30 years. Given the complexity and multiplicity of present day veterans’ education benefit programs, $7/student does not adequately cover the time-consuming procedures required by VA—let alone provide assistance to properly advise and counsel veteran students. 
  • Support efforts to have school certifying officials given appropriate, secured access to VA data systems (now in development) that will contain timely information on veteran students’ remaining education benefit eligibility. Institutions need appropriately limited access to this data in order to better serve veteran students. 
  • Fund Model Programs for Centers of Excellence for Veteran Success, authorized under HEA, to award competitive grants for model programs that support veteran student success in postsecondary education. 
  • Benchmark MGIB benefits (pre-9/11 GI Bill) to the cost of attendance at public four-year institutions for those service members who served prior to September 11, 2001. Service members eligible under the current MGIB who served on or after September 11, 2001 will have an irrevocable decision point to choose either set of benefits. 
  • Ensure that no student-reservist is required to repay any unearned federal student aid received for an academic term in which they are called to active duty. 
  • Support the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in its efforts to create a comprehensive payment system able to make timely and accurate payments to eligible recipients of veterans education benefits. Such a system should ensure that student veterans, states and institutions do not suffer adverse financial consequences as a result of federal action.  
  • Advocate for more advantageous tuition rates for MGIB Selected Reserve (Chapter 1606) benefits; also advocate for portability equity for MGIB-SR benefits earned during mobilization for a period of 10 years after leaving service (equal to MGIB Active Duty portability rates). 
  • Boost funding for the Upward Bound TRIO programs that prepare low-income, first generation military veterans for college. 
  • Support ROTC programs on campus that allow students to develop both academic and leadership skills in the service of their country. 

Discourage attempts to mandate institutional refund policies for veteran and active-duty military students on the federal level; a recent national survey indicated that nearly 80 percent of responding campuses had already established refund policies for military activations and deployments.

Resources

National Reports

From Soldier to Student: Easing the Transition of Service Members on Campus 
AASCU, SOC, ACE, NASPA, NAVPA
July 2009

 

State Reports 

 

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