Many veterans plan to head back to the classroom once they've separated from service, but sometimes there are obstacles in their way. Despite having the benefits afforded to them by the Post-9/11 GI Bill, sometimes it can be difficult for them to know exactly what they're entitled to. That may soon change, however, as a bipartisan measure known as the Veterans Education Transparency Act is making its way through Congress. The proposed bill would allow colleges to access what benefits each student is entitled to in the hopes that it can help institutions offer better counseling, according to Military Times.
One of the most important goals the bill's crafters hope to accomplish is removing any confusion associated with exactly what benefits veterans can have. This uncertainty can cause a number of issues, including forcing vets to pay unexpected tuition rates. Rep. Rick Larsen, of Washington, is the bill's chief sponsor, and he says providing schools access to this information is an easy fix to an often bothersome issue.
"Too often, veterans and colleges have incomplete information about their GI benefits, resulting in unexpected tuition bills for student veterans and their families," Larsen said. "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."
Support from schools
Veterans are not the only ones who support the proposed law, some schools have also come out in favor of the legislation, including the University of Washington. Specifically, the school expects the changes will make it easier for its counselors to guide veterans through the complexities of their education. It can also better equip them to show veterans what kind of services are at their disposal, whether it be the benefits themselves or financial aid programs.
"The Veterans Education Transparency Act would improve this flow of information and help student veterans meet their educational goals," said Kay Lewis, the assistant vice president of student life and director of student financial aid and scholarships at the school.
Significant impact moving forward
If the VET Act is signed into law, it could have a substantial effect on veteran life in the near future. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, an estimated 300,000 troops will separate from service each year over the next several years.