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house Bill H.R. 2360

Should Veterans’ Education Benefits Only be Available for Use on Approved Courses?

Argument in favor

Veterans’ hard-earned federal educational benefits shouldn’t be spent at institutions that mislead students about the full requirements of obtaining state-issued licenses or certifications.

Steven's Opinion
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02/11/2016
As a veteran currently using my GI Bill to go to school, my initial reaction to this bill was hostility. I sacrificed for those benefits and I'll spend them as I see fit. But after looking it over it really seems to have the vets best interest in mind by screening out the hucksters and fly by night operations looking to fleece veterans of their benefits. So I had a change of heart.
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GrumpyMSgt's Opinion
···
02/12/2016
There are too many fly-by-night operations that just get vets in debt for student loans and takes their VA dollars too. Vets certainly have the right to choose but perhaps only from accredited institutions.
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TMGDW's Opinion
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02/09/2016
This bill will ensure that veterans are able to take classes that will assist in their education as well as be worthwhile to their state.
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Argument opposed

Veterans earned their benefits and should be free to spend them where they want without worrying about the VA holding them back. Individual students should be looking into state licensing requirements on their own.

LibertyForAll's Opinion
···
02/09/2016
As a veteran and American, I'm going to be direct. Don't tell me what to do with my life! You don't know how to run it... only I do!
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operaman's Opinion
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02/09/2016
While the Federal Government wants to play a roll of "big brother," in selecting their benefits. Returning veterans know the benefits they wish to pursue. Some want college and others want to skip the degree to attend a technical schools and thus skip world history and calculus. A meat and potato school to save time. Many of veterans have basic to advanced military training. They are seeking an advanced certificate for a good paying job. Most of our service men and women have figured out a BA in pre-Cambrian basket weaving will not support a family.
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Yesenia's Opinion
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02/11/2016
Even in accredited institutions, the VA imposes its limits. If it's not part of your major prep coursework, classes get denied and veterans can't use their benefits. Now, I understand why they would have in place if a student is taking BS classes that really are not going to benefit a student and make no sense whatsoever. However, I was forced to change my major in order to get VA benefits so I could complete classes for grad school requirements (I was a gender studies major that is also completing pre-requisites for a physician's assistant graduate program. Forced to change my major to biology). I have a plan in place, I know what classes I need to take, why can't I take classes I need for grad work as an undergraduate student if I no longer have classes to take for my B.A.? And I can't blame the VA for 100% of my situation as it is also the fault of counselors who would like me to stay at this school for another year when I'm getting ready to transfer. Yet, I have no other classes I can take for my undergrad studies. Seems to me that even accredited school are operating on the level of some of the sketchy for-profit schools as well. I think the VA needs to step aside for students that have a plan in place and know exactly what they're doing when it comes to educational requirements.
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What is House Bill H.R. 2360?

This bill would require that non-accredited educational courses meet certain requirements before Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits (or G.I. Bill benefits) can be used to pay for tuition and fees. Programs that prepare students for employment in fields that require licensure or certification by a state would have to demonstrate that the courses satisfy state prerequisites or have been state-approved.

The VA could waive the requirement that the state approve of the courses or curriculum in question if:

  • The educational institution is accredited by an agency or association recognized by the Dept. of Education;

  • The program didn’t meet the requirements at any time during the two-year period preceding the waiver;

  • The waiver furthers educational assistance programs or furthers the education interests of the individual;

  • The educational institution doesn’t provide any incentive payments based on securing enrollments or financial aid to people involved in recruiting or admitting students or in making decisions about financial aid awards. Foreign students who are ineligible for federal assistance would be excluded from this provision.

Within 30 days of issuing a waiver, the VA would be required to notify Congress and justify why the waiver was issued.

The VA would be required to disapprove of a course unless the educational institution publicly discloses any conditions or additional requirements like training or exams that are required to obtain the license, certification, or approval the program prepares for. Other courses at a given educational institution would not necessarily be disapproved by the VA, so the individual could pursue other programs if they stay enrolled continuously.

Impact

Veterans pursuing an education at institutions that aren’t accredited with GI Bill benefits,

Cost of House Bill H.R. 2360

$0.00
The CBO estimates that implementing this bill would lead to no additional spending.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA) introduced this legislation to ensure that student veterans enrolled in career-education programs receive an education that prepares them for the workforce without misleading them about additional requirements:

“My bill would require programs to have accreditation if required for the relevant field and to meet the curriculum and instructional requirements for state licensure or certification in order to receive GI Bill benefits. These reforms are critical for protecting servicemembers, veterans, and taxpayers from unscrupulous for-profit colleges.”

This legislation was passed by the House Veterans Affairs Committee on a voice vote in September 2015. It currently has seven cosponsors in the House, including four Democrats and three Republicans.



Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flickr user 143rd ESC)

AKA

Career-Ready Student Veterans Act

Official Title

To amend title 38, United States Code, to improve the approval of certain programs of education for purposes of educational assistance provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Veterans' Affairs
  • The house Passed February 9th, 2016
    Passed by Voice Vote
      house Committees
      Economic Opportunity
      Committee on Veterans' Affairs
    IntroducedMay 15th, 2015

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    As a veteran currently using my GI Bill to go to school, my initial reaction to this bill was hostility. I sacrificed for those benefits and I'll spend them as I see fit. But after looking it over it really seems to have the vets best interest in mind by screening out the hucksters and fly by night operations looking to fleece veterans of their benefits. So I had a change of heart.
    Like (17)
    Follow
    Share
    As a veteran and American, I'm going to be direct. Don't tell me what to do with my life! You don't know how to run it... only I do!
    Like (49)
    Follow
    Share
    While the Federal Government wants to play a roll of "big brother," in selecting their benefits. Returning veterans know the benefits they wish to pursue. Some want college and others want to skip the degree to attend a technical schools and thus skip world history and calculus. A meat and potato school to save time. Many of veterans have basic to advanced military training. They are seeking an advanced certificate for a good paying job. Most of our service men and women have figured out a BA in pre-Cambrian basket weaving will not support a family.
    Like (12)
    Follow
    Share
    There are too many fly-by-night operations that just get vets in debt for student loans and takes their VA dollars too. Vets certainly have the right to choose but perhaps only from accredited institutions.
    Like (9)
    Follow
    Share
    This bill will ensure that veterans are able to take classes that will assist in their education as well as be worthwhile to their state.
    Like (8)
    Follow
    Share
    Even in accredited institutions, the VA imposes its limits. If it's not part of your major prep coursework, classes get denied and veterans can't use their benefits. Now, I understand why they would have in place if a student is taking BS classes that really are not going to benefit a student and make no sense whatsoever. However, I was forced to change my major in order to get VA benefits so I could complete classes for grad school requirements (I was a gender studies major that is also completing pre-requisites for a physician's assistant graduate program. Forced to change my major to biology). I have a plan in place, I know what classes I need to take, why can't I take classes I need for grad work as an undergraduate student if I no longer have classes to take for my B.A.? And I can't blame the VA for 100% of my situation as it is also the fault of counselors who would like me to stay at this school for another year when I'm getting ready to transfer. Yet, I have no other classes I can take for my undergrad studies. Seems to me that even accredited school are operating on the level of some of the sketchy for-profit schools as well. I think the VA needs to step aside for students that have a plan in place and know exactly what they're doing when it comes to educational requirements.
    Like (6)
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    Share
    I do believe that our servicemen and women should be allowed to pursue any course of study they desire using their hard-earned federal education benefits. However, this bill seeks to stop these funds going to unaccredited, for-profit institutions which currently actively solicit discharged veterans. Degrees from unaccredited institutions tend not to be respected by human resources departments at companies or admissions offices for graduate studies.
    Like (3)
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    Veterans earned these benefits and have a right to use them however they please. Even college students get to choose their courses! These are grown men and women. Treat them like it.
    Like (2)
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    The Veterans earned their way to their free education by fighting for our freedom. When a student wins a scholarship they're not forced to use that towards certain courses, so why would we make our Veterans do that?
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    Yes, there are too many diploma mills scamming vets out of quality education.
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    A vote of nay means that a veteran could take their education benefits and use them for something like a Trump University.
    Like (2)
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    .......what? but students going to school on the taxpayer's dime can study whatever? this should be an individual choice
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    Education should be free to those who risk their life for others.
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    The military limits those who serve enough as it is. There shouldn't be limits on the education they want to pursue.
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    The Benefits should be used for programs that have accreditation and is a nonprofit school. These benefits shouldn't be used at schools or training programs that are non accredited
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    Let veterans choose their own benefits.
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    Only if military actions have to be approved by veterans in return.
    Like (1)
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    Seems like a solution without a problem.
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    This is a bullshit bill proposed by people in Congress whom either have no clue how our benefits work or is using us as a manipulation tool (now or future) for election/political purposes- they can burn in hell for abusing us either way. I am not usually so confrontational in my responses, but This is getting ridiculous. Our GI Bill benefits are 1. Limited to use only at accredited Universities and 2) no longer sufficient to cover the cost of a secondary education (maybe in the 80s/90s yes, but no longer). If they want to actually DO something, make it illegal for "for profit" universities to charge anything more than a public university would and place the same lending limits on them as public universities. As it is, for profits (the ones you see advertising on Facebook and on the radio/on TV all the time; eg Ashford, Phoenix, etc) are able to exploit a lending limits loophole for Vets that lets them use up our entire GI Bill, then lend on top of it up to the limit that a public school would otherwise have been limited to (effectively doubling down on the money they get). What Vets aren't aware of is that these schools promote themselves as "Veteran friendly" and target us with job types that we tend to gravitate toward, then (conveniently) don't warn us so we have no idea what has happened until we have a degree (often not of the type that people are familiar, so it ends up being effectively useless), no GI Bill left, and are $40k in debt (with no job to pay it off because the degree isn't recognized). Want to actually do something? Close this loophole and help those who've been hurt by it. Better yet, make public tuition free...
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    There are too many organizations expressly created for the purpose of ripping off veterans. If this helps control some of that activity it is for the benefit of the entire nation
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