IAVA Spearheads Crucial Legislation to Protect New GI BillCONTACT: Michelle McCarthy (212) 982-9699 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Watchdog Bill Introduced by SVAC Chairman Patty Murray Defends Vets Against Deceptive Recruiting Practices by For-Profit Schools, Establishes List of “GI Bill Friendly” Schools
NEW YORK- Today, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the nation’s first and largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization representing veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, stood with Senate Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Patty Murray, Senators Daniel Akaka and Mark Begich to introduce the GI Bill Consumer Awareness Act of 2012. This crucial legislation, pushed for by IAVA Members during IAVA’s seventh annual nonpartisan “Storm the Hill” advocacy trip to Washington, D.C., will ensure that veterans utilizing the Post-9/11 GI Bill and other VA education benefits have the resources and information they need to identify career-ready schools and programs. It will also require the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense to develop a joint policy to curb aggressive recruiting and misleading marketing aimed at troops and veterans using the GI Bill.
"The New GI Bill is one of the single greatest tools new veterans have to protect against unemployment in this tough economy. IAVA fought hard for its historic passage in 2008, and we applaud Chairman Murray, Senators Akaka and Begich for stepping up to protect it. Great careers start with a great education. But right now, vets lack clear and consistent information about their education opportunities. Identifying the right school or program is the first crucial step towards getting the best education and training for the job market. The GI Bill Consumer Awareness Act will give vets a head start, so they can apply to the school that’s right for them and take full advantage of the benefits they’ve earned,” said IAVA Founder and Executive Director Paul Rieckhoff.
“This bill is also a smart defense against for-profit schools who are engaging in deceptive GI Bill recruiting practices. Some of these schools are failing to deliver the quality job training, skills, or education that our country promised our vets—and leaving too many vets to foot the bill. IAVA refuses to let these practices jeopardize the entire future of the New GI Bill, which we fought so hard for. As we push through Storm the Hill, IAVA expects leaders from both sides of the aisle to get on board to pass this crucial bill into law."
Since June 2008, when IAVA spearheaded passage of the historic Post-9/11 GI Bill, over 500,000 new veterans, their spouses and children have taken advantage of its benefits. According to IAVA’s groundbreaking 2012 Member Survey, almost 50% of IAVA Members plan to use the New GI Bill for themselves or their families in the future. IAVA’s New GI Bill Calculator anchored at NewGIBill.org is the premier online educational resource for calculating eligibility for the GI Bill and other career-ready programs. But the GI Bill Consumer Awareness Act of 2012 would also:
- Require the VA to collect and publish data from the Department of Education and schools on dropouts, degree completion by school, rates of job placement and more.
- Establish a list of the most GI Bill friendly and least GI Bill friendly schools.
- Establish a system to track student veteran complaints about GI Bill processing as well as fraud, waste and abuse by schools.
- Require that in order to be approved for GI Bill funds a school must have at least one full time employee who is knowledgeable about VA benefits, and provide access to counseling and support services for veterans if more than 10 veterans are enrolled.
- Require schools to sign an MOU that will ban them from recruiting on Active-Duty Military Installations, and require the DoD and VA to develop new policies to curb aggressive recruiting.
- Establish a working group that will survey student veterans on the quality of education they received; review marketing and recruiting practices; and monitor major issues effecting veterans in higher education.
- Assess the quality and relevance of all current educational counseling services, and integrate new information with TAP and One-Stop Services.
- Expand eligibility for VA Vocational counseling and remove the $6 million cap on funding for Vocational Rehab Counselors.
- Study the best a worst practices in caring for and supporting veterans on campus, and turn those best practices into a toolkit to support veteran success on campus.
On Tuesday, IAVA Member Veteran Moses Maddox, who served two tours in Iraq with the Marines and has been impacted by for-profit schools’ recruiting practices and abuses, joined Chairman Murray, Senators Akaka and Begich, and veterans from across the country at a Capitol Hill press conference to unveil the GI Bill Consumer Awareness Act of 2012. Media interested in learning about his experience or speaking with another IAVA veteran attending school on the GI Bill can contact Michelle McCarthy at email@example.com arrange an interview.
In addition to supporting the GI Bill Consumer Awareness Act, IAVA Members from across the country are advocating at Storm the Hill 2012 for expanded suicide prevention initiatives, increased focus on PTSD, TBI and other invisible injuries, and better care and support for women warriors. To learn more about Storm the Hill and read IAVA’s 2012 Policy Agenda recommendations, click here.
To arrange an interview with IAVA Founder and Executive Director Paul Rieckhoff, IAVA Deputy Policy Director Tom Tarantino or one of the 26 veterans from across the country participating in Storm the Hill 2012, please contact Michelle McCarthy at 201-675-1063 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more about the participating veterans at www.iava.org/stormthehill.
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (www.IAVA.org) is the country’s first and largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and has more than 200,000 Member Veterans and civilian supporters nationwide. Its mission is to improve the lives of this country’s newest generation of veterans and their families.
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