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Veterans, Allies Celebrate Win for Vets Punished by School Closures

NEW YORK, NY (July 18, 2017) —  Recent reports indicate that the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017 (H.R. 3218) will be updated to include an important improvement that impacts veterans who were enrolled in schools that were shut down, such as ITT Tech and Corinthian Colleges. IAVA advocated in testimony yesterday for this critical change to the bill, which currently grants students who attended closed schools restitution for just one semester of tuition, no matter how long the student attended the school. 

IAVA will continue to fight to bring veterans education benefits in line with the Department of Education school closure policies for federal student loans and grants. 

“We are pleased to see such quick action by Chairman Roe to right this oversight in the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017,” said Allison Jaslow, Executive Director at IAVA. “Veterans should not lose the tuition they’ve earned because their school went bankrupt.  And it’s mind-blowing that veterans actually have fewer rights than civilian Americans whose federal aid is impacted in the exact same circumstance.  We thank Congressman Takano for his leadership to help those already impacted gain full restitution.  It’s imperative that those who’ve already been unfairly punished are made whole, but we stand with our allies, including Congressman Messer, to ensure veterans impacted by future closures are protected.” 

Late last night, House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Roe confirmed that he would amend the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017 to include the full restoration of benefits, thanks to pressure from IAVA and our partners.  We continue to support Congressman Messer’s bill, Protecting Veterans From School Closures Act of 2017

  “It’s heartening to see that we can see a good bill get even better as the sausage-making process continues” continued Jaslow.  “We will continue to advocate for fixing this issue permanently, in addition to closing the so-called 90/10 loophole as we outlined before the Committee yesterday.  There is no justifiable reason as to why the Post-9/11 GI Bill and other military education benefits should get any less protection from bad actors than other government education programs. Period.” 

IAVA has led the fight against cuts to promised GI Bill benefits and attempts to tax new recruits in wartime for their Post-9/11 GI Bill, while vigorously calling for improvements in the bill itself and to fighting bad actors in the for-profit education industry.  Many of the provisions of the expansion bill, which IAVA supports, can be found outlined in IAVA’s Policy Agenda here

IAVA led the passage of the Post-9/11 GI Bill in 2008 and in championing upgrades in 2010 and 2014. These upgrades simplified and improved tuition benefits, expanded eligibility to the National Guard, included vocational programs, and made nationwide in-state tuition rates a possibility for new veterans.

The Post-9/11 GI Bill has been used at least 1.5 million veterans and their family members to accomplish educational goals and chart new career paths. In 2016, IAVA’s year-long campaign to #DefendTheGIBill effectively killed over $4 billion in attempted cuts to the Post-9/11 GI Bill by the 114th Congress. 

IAVA member service programs have also served hundreds of thousands of veterans with one-on-one GI Bill support.

Note to media: Email press@iava.org or call 212-982-9699 to speak with IAVA CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff or IAVA leadership.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (www.IAVA.org) is the leading post-9/11 veteran empowerment organization (VEO) with the most diverse and rapidly growing membership in America. As a non-profit founded in 2004, IAVA’s mission is to connect, unite and empower post-9/11 veterans. Celebrating its 12th year anniversary, IAVA has connected more than 1.2 million veterans with resources and community, and provided more than 7,300 veterans with personalized support from IAVA’s Master’s level social workers.