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Kaitlynne Hetrick | March 24, 2020

Read: Defend Education Benefits for Veterans

IAVA Government Affairs Associate, Kaitlynne Hetrick shares insights about defending education benefits.

In 2008, education benefits forever changed for the post-9/11 generation of veterans. After years of tireless advocacy by IAVA and our allies, the Post-9/11 GI Bill was passed into law. With it, thousands, and now millions, of veterans and their dependents had the doors to higher education opened for them. After deploying for years to the battlefields of Iraq, Afghanistan, and around the world, Congress, the president, and the American people agreed that these warriors had earned this benefit, paid for with their service.

More than one million veterans have been sent to school thanks to the Post-9/11 GI Bill. This education benefit has helped these veterans in their transition home and into civilian life, and has trained America’s next greatest generation to lead in tech startups, Fortune 500 corporations, nonprofits, and at every level of government across the country. Despite being an obvious success, the Post-9/11 GI Bill has not been immune to attempted cuts, and it continues to be exploited by bad-acting schools. 

IAVA stormers set to hold a Capitol press conference to #DefendTheGIBill from cuts

Over the years, there have been several attempts to make cuts to the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Alongside our many allies, IAVA has fought hard against these efforts, and we’ve won. But the fight doesn’t stop there!

Currently, due to a loophole in the current law, the GI Bill and Tuition Assistance are not counted as federal funding. This loophole leaves an opening for predatory institutions to take advantage of veterans’ benefits and leave veterans stuck with unnecessary debt and a subpar education. Congress must close loopholes that reward these bad actors while strengthening regulations that help veterans choose the best educational programs to meet their career goals. We cannot let the practices of some schools put the GI Bill in jeopardy. The Senate has introduced legislation to close the loophole and protect veteran and taxpayer funds from these bad actors. The Protect Veterans’ Education and Taxpayer Spending Act (S. 2857) by Sens. Thomas Carper (D-DE), James Lankford (R-OK), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), and Jon Tester (D-MT)  would finally count DOD and VA funds as federal dollars, and the so-called “90/10 loophole” would be closed once and for all.

The Post-9/11 GI Bill has been enormously transformational and is one of the most popular veteran benefits available. An astounding 75% of IAVA veteran members surveyed reported that they have either used their GI Bill benefits or intend to use them. We must let Congress know that it is past time to #DefendTheGIBIll and close the 90/10 loophole! Let your voice be heard and contact Congress – Take Action here! 

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