On Thursday, March 4th, a subcommittee of the House Veterans Affairs Committee (HVAC) is set to vote on a number of GI Bill upgrade recommendations, including one of IAVA’s top legislative priorities: living allowances for distance learners (H.R. 950, Living Allowances for Distance Learners).
IAVA has long advocated that distance learners should not be penalized under the new GI Bill, making it one of our top priorities in 2010. Last December, IAVA’s Tom Tarantino testified before HVAC on this very issue.
“Veterans attempting to earn a degree through distance learning should be entitled to the same benefits as veterans attending traditional brick and mortar institutions. Currently these veterans do not qualify for a living allowance, unless they take at least one course “in residence.” One brick and mortar class qualifies the student for the full living allowance. This exception reveals that the “in residence” requirement was simply a way of determining the proper living allowance rate because they are based on the ZIP code of the school and is not a statement on the quality of distance learning generally.
Distance learning is a wildly popular form of education for veterans. This unfair distinction must be undone. IAVA acknowledges that a different process of determining housing allowance rates must be employed for distance learners. IAVA recommends basing the housing allowance for distance learning on the zip code of the veteran’s residence or establishing a national distance learning living allowance rate.”
IAVA will continue to work with Congress and the entire veterans community to streamline and simplify the Post-9/11 GI Bill, one of our top legislative priories for 2010.
Additionally, the Committee will be marking up:
- H.R. 950 Living Allowance for Distance Learners
- H.R. 1169 Specially Adapted housing and automobile grant
- H.R. 1879 USERRA rights for State Call-ups
- H.R. 3484 Reauthorizing VA work-study program (see IAVA’s Tim Embree testify on this bill)
- H.R. 3561 Increasing flight training amounts with GI Bill
- H.R. 3577 GI Bill Transferability for Retirees
- H.R. 3579 Increasing the School Reporting Fee (see IAVA’s Tim Embree testify on this bill)
- H.R. 3948 Test Prep for Heroes Act (see IAVA’s Tim Embree testify on this bill)
- H.R. 3976 Helping Heroes Keep Their Homes Act (see IAVA’s Tim Embree testify on this bill)
- H.R. 4079 Temporarily remove the requirement to increase wages for OTJ vets (see IAVA’s Tim Embree testify on this bill)
- H.R. 4592 Pilot Jobs program for Vets in Energy Fields