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house Bill H.R. 2196

Should the Required Credit Hours for a Veterans' STEM Scholarship Program Be Reduced?

Argument in favor

STEM careers are a growing segment of the U.S. economy, and veterans’ GI Bill benefits should help them gain the educational credentials they need for STEM careers. Currently, the 128 semester credit hour requirement for the Edith Nourse Rogers STEM Scholarship program is too high, making most veterans unable to utilize it.

Kodiwodi's Opinion
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06/24/2019
I have no issues with this and will support this effort to allow our vets to complete their education in STEM areas by decreasing the credit hour requirements for scholarships. I read the bill. This is an unnecessarily high number of credit hours for a scholarship and is not the norm across the country. They are not dumbing down the Vets with this decrease of credit hours.
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jimK's Opinion
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06/24/2019
Lowering the credit hour requirements allows more veterans to benefit from this program. Lowering the credit hours does mean less sponsored education for those selected; true. Since there is no increased funding for this program, it also means that more veterans will be able to participate.
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SneakyPete's Opinion
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06/24/2019
YES by All Means YES Extend Veterans STEM Benefits STEM careers are a growing segment of the U.S. economy, and veterans’ GI Bill benefits should help them gain the educational credentials they need for STEM careers. Currently, the 128 semester credit hour requirement for the Edith Nourse Rogers STEM Scholarship program is too high, making most veterans unable to utilize it. SneakyPete.......... 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻. 6.24.19..........
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Argument opposed

The VA already expects to disburse all the funding it’s received for the Edith Nourse Rogers STEM Scholarship program each year, which proves that the program is reaching eligible veterans. Lowering the semester credit requirement for this scholarship won’t make more veterans able to access its benefits if the VA’s already distributing all of its funds under it.

Lionman's Opinion
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06/24/2019
Please actually read the bill. We’re not reducing or increasing the number of Vets in the program, or paying more or less money; we’re just making them learn less for their degree. I don’t think we want to lower the bar.
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I.Got.an.Idea...'s Opinion
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06/24/2019
The Scholarship is provided to veterans as a benefit and respect for serving. Degree credit hours are industry standards by accreditation boards. The credit hours to obtain the degree should not be reduced for an accredited degree. The schools should with with accreditation board to create new accredited degrees that require less credit hours to attain. This could be accomplished by providing a Bachelors of Arts ( Lower credit hours) vs. a Bachelors of Science (Higher credit hours). In this manner veteran students can have more options to obtain degrees. Also, if a Student obtains a B.A., they could likely take additional online or night or weekend courses while working, to obtain the B.S. degree.
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Bob's Opinion
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06/24/2019
Education policies should be decided by the schools themselves and government should not fund or regulate them at all.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Veterans' Affairs
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Economic Opportunity
      Committee on Veterans' Affairs
    IntroducedApril 10th, 2019

What is House Bill H.R. 2196?

This bill would reduce the credit hour requirement for the Edith Nourse Rogers STEM Scholarship program at the Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA) from 128 semester (or 192 quarter)  credit hours to 120 semester (or 180 quarter) credit hours.

Under current law, the VA can provide $25 million in scholarships under this program in 2019; $75 million under the program each year from 2020-2022; and $100 million in 2023 and each year thereafter. The department expects to award scholarships totaling the maximum authorized amounts each year.

Impact

Veterans pursuing STEM degrees; Forever GI Bill; Edith Nourse Rogers STEM Scholarship program; and the VA.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 2196

$0.00
The CBO estimates that implementing this bill wouldn’t increase the total scholarship amount the VA will distribute under the Edith Nourse Rogers STEM Scholarship program each year. Therefore, there is no cost to this bill.

More Information

In-DepthRep. Andy Barr (R-KY) introduced this bill to give veterans greater flexibility to use their educational benefits under the Forever GI Bill:

“It is incumbent upon us to provide our veterans with the tools they need to be successful in their transition to civilian life after serving in the Armed Forces. By removing arbitrary credit hour requirements for student veterans enrolled in STEM programs and giving them more flexibility to use their Forever GI Bill benefits, veterans will be able to better take advantage of the education benefits they are owed.”

Original cosponsor Rep. Mike Levin (D-CA) adds that this bill will help veterans obtain the degrees they need to launch careers in high-demand industries:

“It is critical that veterans have the support they need to pursue a STEM degree. I will continue to work with my colleagues across the aisle on measures to ensure that veterans can launch careers in high-demand industries.”

House Veterans’ Affairs Ranking Member Phil Roe (R-TN) adds that “by eliminating the credit hour requirement for a STEM degree program to qualify for this scholarship, we are ensuring that the scholarship functions as intended and that all student veterans interested in a STEM degree are able to qualify for the additional funding.”

This bill passed the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs by a voice vote with the support of three bipartisan cosponsors, including two Republicans and one Democrat.


Of NoteThe Edith Nourse Rogers STEM Scholarship program is an undergraduate program that is part of the Forever GI Bill (also known as the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017). It’s administered by the VA and provides up to nine months of additional Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits (up to a maximum of $30,000) to qualifying Veterans and Fry Scholars seeking an undergraduate STEM degree or who have earned a STEM degree and are seeking a teaching certification. 

Currently, veterans who want to use this scholarship must be enrolled in a STEM program exceeding the required 128 semester credit hours. The VA has found that there are only three states where the average STEM degree exceeds that number of credit hours. Thus, eliminating or lowering the credit hour requirement would allow more veterans to utilize this scholarship program.

The scholarship is available to students enrolled in a program studying, or who have earned a degree in:

  • Agriculture science or natural resources science program;
  • Biological or biomedical science;
  • Computer and information science and support services;
  • Engineering, engineering technologies, or an engineering-related field;
  • Health care or a related program;
  • Mathematics or statistics;
  • Medical residency;
  • Physical science; or
  • Science technologies or technicians.

This program’s namesake, Edith Nourse Rogers, represented Massachusetts in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1925–1961 and was a tireless veterans advocate. She was one of the first women to serve in Congress and had the second-longest tenure of any female lawmaker. Rogers served on the Foreign Affairs Committee and Civil Service Committee, chaired the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, and was the first woman to preside as the House of Representatives Speaker pro tempore.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphot.com / asiseeit)

AKA

To amend title 38, United States Code, to reduce the credit hour requirement for the Edith Nourse Rogers STEM Scholarship program of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Official Title

To amend title 38, United States Code, to reduce the credit hour requirement for the Edith Nourse Rogers STEM Scholarship program of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

    I have no issues with this and will support this effort to allow our vets to complete their education in STEM areas by decreasing the credit hour requirements for scholarships. I read the bill. This is an unnecessarily high number of credit hours for a scholarship and is not the norm across the country. They are not dumbing down the Vets with this decrease of credit hours.
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    Please actually read the bill. We’re not reducing or increasing the number of Vets in the program, or paying more or less money; we’re just making them learn less for their degree. I don’t think we want to lower the bar.
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    Lowering the credit hour requirements allows more veterans to benefit from this program. Lowering the credit hours does mean less sponsored education for those selected; true. Since there is no increased funding for this program, it also means that more veterans will be able to participate.
    Like (21)
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    YES by All Means YES Extend Veterans STEM Benefits STEM careers are a growing segment of the U.S. economy, and veterans’ GI Bill benefits should help them gain the educational credentials they need for STEM careers. Currently, the 128 semester credit hour requirement for the Edith Nourse Rogers STEM Scholarship program is too high, making most veterans unable to utilize it. SneakyPete.......... 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻. 6.24.19..........
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    A 128 credit hour requirement for this scholarship is unnecessary. Plenty of STEM programs across the country will require less than that. Let’s ensure that veterans are able to easily access the funds to complete a STEM program anywhere in the country!
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    The Scholarship is provided to veterans as a benefit and respect for serving. Degree credit hours are industry standards by accreditation boards. The credit hours to obtain the degree should not be reduced for an accredited degree. The schools should with with accreditation board to create new accredited degrees that require less credit hours to attain. This could be accomplished by providing a Bachelors of Arts ( Lower credit hours) vs. a Bachelors of Science (Higher credit hours). In this manner veteran students can have more options to obtain degrees. Also, if a Student obtains a B.A., they could likely take additional online or night or weekend courses while working, to obtain the B.S. degree.
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    I will support this proposal to encourage veteran opportunities.
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    Education policies should be decided by the schools themselves and government should not fund or regulate them at all.
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    This will allow more veterans more opportunities to higher paying jobs!
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    As a Vet I’m not sure where I stand in this yet! Is someone out there calling Vets stupid and thus needing to lower standards? I wait and read comments from other Vets! Sneaky Pete! CombatVeteran! Your input please?
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    Makes sense. If veterans in only 3 states can participate than the program it isn’t accurately representing the veteran population whether they’re getting enough applications or not.
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    They deserve a break.
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    This is good legislation for veterans.
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    Despite the fact that the for-profit college industry will exploit this loophole and we will have entrapped another generation in the University of Phoenix student debt club. There is absolutely no agreement in what criteria is used in defining authentic STEM education or which industry these reduced credit degrees would align with. I have, quite literally, seen and been asked to review an entire lesson module devoted to the analysis of shopping cart wheels as an example of STEM education. And this is not the worst learning module I have had the unfortunate experience of being asked to review. The Three Little Pigs college STEM learning module comes to mind... While the learning may be engaging, and even humorous in its approach, it simply isn’t the training that gets people jobs in the industry. Please trust me on this one.... I have fought for authentic STEM education for the better part of 6 years, and those who know me, know how hard I am willing to fight for education. The quality of these so-called reduced credit STEM degrees could/would vary greatly. Besides, there are already Nanodegrees offered in STEM fields from places like Udacity. Those programs actually work. Build competency based STEM training systems with industry leaders having a say in defining depth and scope of the curriculum.
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    I read one, it said that all of the funds for this are being dispersed each year so there's no need to lower the credit requirements for graduation. That is not the point. All of the funds being distribute head is a good thing. But lowering the Class Credit load makes it easier for the students to meet the requirements and finish the courses. If the course credit loads are too high it tends to Foster dropping out. Credit levels need to be realistic so that these people are able to take the courses and get the degrees and still have jobs and lives while they're doing it.
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    This is about reducing a requirement to qualify for a scholarship, not reducing credit hours to qualify for a degree. Right? Then yes by all means make that money available to as many veterans as we can.
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    Maintaining standards is very important. This change is not necessary to benefit the program. Perhaps, it needs a funding increase instead.
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    No need for the extra hours. Already be all you can be.
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    Help more vets to get in Do not lower education standards Educate more vets
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    No. There is a reason why some curriculum mandates more and pushes individuals to work hard to be the best they can. Strong curriculum isn’t intended for individuals to fail but to work hard to achieve. Something that is too easily given ends up not being appreciated. An adage notes the lazy man’s way ends up being harder work requiring every lie and wrong deed to be covered up by another and another. Individuals in the military and veterans realize this and they already appreciate hard work and discipline.
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