Larsen, Young Put Forward Bipartisan VET Act to Help Veterans Use Their GI Bill Benefits

Jul 19, 2013 Issues: Education, Veterans

WASHINGTON—Student veterans and their families will be able to better use their GI Bill educational benefits under the bipartisan Veterans Education Transparency (VET) Act introduced today by Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Wash., and Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska. The VET Act will allow colleges to access information about veterans’ educational benefits so they can provide better counseling to veterans.

“Veterans who have served our country have earned every penny and more of their GI Bill education benefits,” Larsen said. “Too often veterans and colleges have incomplete information about their GI benefits, resulting in unexpected tuition bills for student veterans and their families. The VET Act will fix this problem by letting colleges directly access information on veterans’ GI benefits, letting them give the best educational guidance to their students.”

“As a veteran and former educator, I understand how important it is to give our nation’s veterans the very best education possible,” Young said. “The VET Act will help our nation’s finest get the absolute most out of their GI Bill education benefits and will help ensure that they are not left holding the bill for an education that they earned through their service to this great nation.”

The VET Act (H.R. 2749) would:

  • Give colleges the ability to see each student-veteran’s amount of GI Bill or other educational benefits through eBenefits;
  • Facilitate college planning, so veterans’ counselors or academic counselors could help veterans register for classes to complete their degree in the time covered by their allocated educational benefit;
  • Allow veterans to opt out of sharing their educational benefit information with their college;
  • Enact strict privacy protections for veterans so that their educational benefit information could only be used for education counseling purposes by the educational institution where the veteran is enrolled.

The University of Washington has endorsed the VET Act because it allow the school to better help student veterans navigate the complex veterans’ educational benefits programs and coordinate all of their financial aid resources, presenting them with the full array of options available to meet their educational goals.

“Ensuring student veterans have complete information on their available educational benefits is goal number one for the University of Washington” says Kay Lewis, Assistant Vice President of Student Life and Director of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships at the University of Washington. “The Veterans Education Transparency Act would improve this flow of information and help student veterans meet their educational goals.”

The text of the VET Act is available here.