Washington– Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) announced today she is cosponsoring legilslation introduced by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) which would limit use of GI Bill benefits to accredited educational programs that will provide the required licensure or proper training to pursue employment opportunities. The Career-Ready Student Veterans Act would provide stronger consumer protection measures for veterans by prohibiting schools lacking appropriate programmatic accreditation from receiving GI Bill benefits. Veterans would be protected from wasting education benefits on educational programs that will not equip them for employment.
Currently, some veterans use GI Bill benefits for education programs that do not adequately equip them for employment. Although a school may have institutional accreditation, it may lack appropriate programmatic accreditation or fail to meet state-specific criteria required for certification or licensure. When veterans use GI Bill benefits at unaccredited programs, they may face severely limited employment options or be precluded from job opportunities entirely. The programs at issue primarily include law, teaching, criminal justice, and numerous healthcare degrees, including nursing, psychology, medical assisting, dental assisting and surgical technology.
Additional co-sponsors of the legislation are U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.). U.S. Representative Mark Takano (D-Calif.) has introduced companion legislation in the House. This legislation is supported by the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), the Military Officers Association of American (MOAA), Student Veterans of America (SVA) and Veterans Education Success.
More specifically the Career-Ready Student Veterans Act would:
- Modify the requirements for approval of courses using VA educational assistance by requiring that educational programs meet instructional curriculum licensure or certification requirements of the state.
- Require that programs are approved by the appropriate board or agency in a state if an occupation requires approval or licensure.
- Authorize the VA Secretary to waive this requirement only under limited, clearly defined circumstances.