New Bill to Reform Education for Vets and Troops

November 18, 2013 | Terry Howell

IMG_0150[1]The Serve Act of 2013 – Bipartisan legislation aims to improve the quality of educational programs for servicemembers and veterans.

Last week Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, introduced the Servicemember Education Reform and Vocational Enhancement (SERVE) Act of 2013, a bill to improve the quality of educational programs for servicemembers and veterans and help them transition into the civilian workforce.

According to the Senator’s joint press release, The Servicemember Education Reform and Vocational Enhancement (SERVE) Act of 2013 will improve the quality of  education and training for veterans and military members taking advantage of educational benefits provided by the Dept. of Veterans Affairs and the Dept. of Defense.

Here is a quick summary of what the legislation seeks to acomplish:

  • Require institutions accepting VA or DoD educational benefits to meet minimum standards by ensuring consistency between federal agencies. Raising the bar on minimum standards that educational institutions must meet ensures servicemembers are getting a quality education.
  • Improve transparency of education and training programs by requiring institutions to disclose information such as graduation rates, withdrawal policies, and program costs to students and by ensuring programs fully deliver what they advertise.
  • Require these institutions to provide access to academic and/or career counseling for military and veteran students in hopes of not only improving their chances of graduating, but also helping prepare them for future careers.
  • Facilitate the use of VA and DoD educational benefits for employment training programs by creating a five-state pilot program. States will be charged with developing best practices needed to ensure that quality employment training, apprenticeship, and on-the-job training programs are eligible for participation in the Post-9/11 GI Bill program.
  • Require an annual report to relevant Senate and House Committees on which schools and programs veteran and military students are putting their educational benefits toward, the number of complaints received, and recommendations for further legislative action to improve educational outcomes and ensure the greatest return on investment in these federal programs.

Click here to let your elected officials know how you feel about the SERVE Act of 2013.

About Terry Howell

Before becoming the Managing Editor for, Terry served 20 years in the U.S. Coast Guard as an Aviation Electrician’s Mate and aircrewman. In his final role in the Coast Guard, Terry served as a Career Development Advisor, where he provided career, finance, education, and benefits counseling to servicemembers and their families. Since retiring from the Coast Guard, Terry has authored the book, The Military Advantage, managed the content for TurboTap, the DoD's online transition program and VAforVets, the VA's transition assistance website. Terry earned both his Bachelor's and MBA at Corban University using Military Tuition Assistance and his GI Bill benefits to help cover the cost.


  1. Good……Good! I was beginning to think that members of Congress from both sides couldn't work together on anything.

  2. These are nice PC gestures and get members of Congress in the newspaper for good deeds, but a passed bill means nothing without FUNDING! The Veterans Small business Administration is now having the same problem whereby the bill was passed for Veterans to start their small businesses but Congress never followed through on providing the proper Funding..smh..

  3. Earle L Denton says:

    This is great, now we must get some assurance that both sides will do their jobs in support of this initiative .

  4. Worried Vet says:

    The schools are not the problem. It the VA and Voc Rehab the problem. Veterans are waiting on responses from these organization; then having the veteran more hoops to jump. The VA the last few years have had major improvements – Kudo's for them. It's the Voc Rehab is the problem. 5 month to 1 year to get a response. Counselor hardly work and is never in the office, mixing up files, and sending veteran is the wrong direction because of mixed up files; needs to stop.

  5. The real question, I offer, is how could VA ever previously be OK in approving a school to receive GI Bill funding if that school didn't already provide a quality education (to some assessed standard), disclose graduation rates (required IPEDS data), and provide academic/career counseling to student in general, if not to student veterans in particular? Read as…we are now going to eliminate predatory and/or oblivious institutions who never should have been allowed to receive GI Bill payments in the first place. Not a bad thing, but a bit overdue, perhaps.

  6. I total agree its the VA and Voc Rehab, also VA should extend VRAP program for veteran that are still enrolled.

    • txroadhouse1 says:

      We all need to get on our congressman about this one!!! I am within 2 semesters right now and it will be cutoff in April leaving me one semester shy. I realize I can and will finish on my own but seems to me that it is just one more promise ripped away.

    • M Griffith says:

      Thanks James for mentioning the VRAP program

    • jimmy white says:
  7. I would like to see Congress work on a Bill that pays for the education of all Veterans without the service member having to contribute any money to the program. The Bill should reference any private or public accredited institution not just governmental sponsored schools.

  8. Eddie-a-Vet says:

    Ah baloney, it just restricts our choices for education/training.

    • Exactly! The quality of education is not the problem. If a school is not good, social media will take care of the problem. The problem is lack of help Veterans receive when trying to receive their benefits. This is a cop out and it is not dealing with the real problem.

  9. Eddie-a-Vet says:

    Anyone familiar with University of Phoenix? I do not know what ashes this bird rose from but they are very difficult to work with.

    • University of Phoenix are not difficult to work with at all. As an alumni, I have found the school difficult in courses, which is what I want. I want a school that can be compared to some of the Ivy League curriculum. As a matter of fact, most of the instructors are from Tier 1 schools. I was impressed by the school. It is the top online school as well if you do not like to sit in a classroom. They worked with my Post-9/11 GI bill without a hitch. Be a Phoenix, you will be proud that you did.

      • But then for the two and half years I attended UoP I had nothing but problems from financial aid, to Guard TA benefit application to scheduling around my Guard obligations, which UoP openly espouses to accommodate. I have attended many institutions and this one has been by far the most difficult to work with. To resolve these problems I had to work with at last one layer of management above my counselors and in some cases, the department head. I could write a thesis about the poor delivery, lack of participation by the instructors, and the poor academic skills of most of my classmates, many whom could barely write comprehensible statements to meet the participation and group assignment requirements. I encourage everyone reading this comment to choose another institution – UoP is not worth the effort only to arrive at the end of the process with a degree that is generally regarded as sub-standards in the business community.

        • Unwanted Veteran says:

          Thanks Mike, that is exactly the problem with UoP. Not to mention, any college that pesters you over and over to sign up for their college to the point where you get incessant phone calls and emails should at least raise an eyebrow. Regionally accredited colleges like Embry-Riddle in terms of private institutions are the way to go because your credits do carry over to public institutions.

    • I treat for-profit educational institutions like I treat nuclear power plants when they are on fire. By staying far, far away.

      • Unwanted Veteran says:

        That's sad, because many for-profits like Embry-Riddle are highly respected by various federal institutions and high technology firms. Whereas UofP is a sham because its nationally accredited. In fact, whenever it comes to aviation, there are very few to no public colleges offering access to aircraft, helicopters, and drones. So yeah, you are seriously way off on that blanket statement.

    • I can tell you from experience that the UOPX is a joke. I spent almost three years as a Phoenix. You are forced into working as a group for approx.50% of your total grade. In and of itself doesn't seem so bad. The problem is many of your fellow group members can barely spell let alone operate at an undergraduate level. Seniors with Freshman and everything in between. You either carry their weight and they get the same grade as you or your group suffers if you refuse to cover their shortcomings

      • Unwanted Veteran says:

        Yes, I had a co-worker who was always stressed out with his classes as nobody else would pull their weight. I would see him come to work with a stack of 8 books or more working on the "team" project which was really just him working on it in order to save his GPA. Team projects are awful regardless if its a public or private institution and it's being used against your grade – stupid.

  10. I am a retired veteran currently utilizing my Chapter 33, Post 9/11G.I. Bill at a university. I was awarded 80% educational benefits, thus I will still need to pay well over $10,000 to earn my degree. I agree with Jim that we as veterans, should not have to contribute any amount of money for an education because we earned it.

    • There is definitely a reason you were only awarded 80%, since you retired from the military. I received 100% and I was only in for four years

  11. As a recent graduate from the VRAP program, I have made several inquires to the VA for Job placement assistance……The response was, we will get back to you……From 10/21/12 to 11/21/13 and still waiting for assistance, maybe this Bill will speed up the wheels of the U.S Vetrans Administration Department…or Not.

    United States Navy Veteran

    • Never wait for help go out and get the help you need. There are many places to look.

      Opportunity is sought not waited on.

      • Not in this ecomomy friend…..Trust and Believe I have been trying…employers want experienced wokers not recent graduates.
        United States Navy (Graduate Pharmacy Tech).

  12. Stay on point Vet, and read between the lines its the content of the article that is important to us Veterans.

  13. Lisa Johnson says:

    Does this extend the VRAP program past April of 2014? Hmmmm I graduate in May 2014, but was told that the VRAP program ends in April and I will not be able to collect for the month of May.

  14. R.Reese, USAF Vet. says:

    It would be nice to let older veterans benefit from this bill. There are vets whose circumstances of life prevented them from taking advantage of the GI Bill before they became ineligible by virtue of the passage of time. My daughter has been widowed twice, works in a hospital emergency room and is trying to get through nursing school on scholarships and grants, most of which go to younger applicants. She served honorably in the Army and earlier in life was eligible for educational assistance.

  15. Johnny Adams says:
  16. M Griffith says:

    I applaud any benefits the government gives to ours vets and active service members. I also agree that the VRAP program should be extended to those already in it.

  17. I have the same question as some others. What does this do for the VRAP program? Will they extend it past the March 31, 2014 end date? The VRAP should be paid the length of the career program training someone is taking.
    Such as my Software Development degree takes 21 months.

  18. My husband was in the first war and we were stationed in Germany and we were extended over there so that he could go and fight in that war. He has not been the same since he got back. No sleeping, fighting, depression and angry at the world. I have been married to this man for 33 years and I cant take it any more. The army forgot all about the soldiers that fought the very first war, and their wives, I am 56 years old now trying to get an education that I could never get following him from post to post. The least that the Army could have done was to let the Army wives take the education benefits of their spouses so that we could at least make a decent living. Thank you for allowing me to comment. Sign a proud soldiers wife.

  19. Edward Sisk says:

    VRAP should pay for the whole degree, not just one year–what good is a single year???

    • Kirk Harris says:

      I agree whole heartedly the 1 year VRAP is not good for anything except a certificate. I am getting my Associates degree and that is only because DVR is helping. But I will wait and see after the spring semester how thing's will work out. The school I am attending had me in 5 week blocks so because of this reason, I have only received 1 and a half months money, and won't get any money now until February. And because of this money they have taken my food stamps away. So 2 nearly 3 months without that extra money for food. You are penalized by the VRAP and by the state, for no fault of you own.

    • I agree with you. I am in an accelerated nursing program and find myself short 2 quarters with the Vrap. Since working in this program is an impossibility due to class, clinical rotations, and just plain studying (multiple exams every week) being short is a problem. Unemployment is not an option, so coming up with the extra will be difficult. It is a great program for us but falls just a shade short esp when in one of the needed jobs programs that can't be completed in just one yr.

    • edward kegler says:

      you are right I pray to god they extend vrap

    • Mike Murphy says:

      Actually , you need to take a moment and think about this comment . This program was designed to revamp what education you already have . There is a bill on the floor right now to extend the one year into maybe three . So , call , email all you state reps and congressmen to express your concerns and input . stress that it takes more than three semesters to get any type of degree . Also hit the vfw and legion up too . Thank you for your service . I walk the isle may 2014 under the vrap program . I am so thankful for the help I got . read my post at the bottom of page one for some very important info .

  20. kevin ronan says:

    When are they going to include all POST 9-11 VETS instead of just some ?

  21. Good deal. However, receiving benefits is quite the process. Service member must jump through so many hoops to only start getting benefits months late. Once process is started it is much better though. The problem resides in educating those on how to receive benefits and with those that process the claims. Need more VBA reps!

    • I actually found the process quite easy and fast using ebenefits or by simply mailing in your info. Like you said initial it takes a while for them to verify all your info and send out certificate of elegibility but the process is pretty fast and I reccomend planning ahead when it comes to these things never know what may happen. But once you've got your certificate it's all a breeze and I actually got my school and bah payments on time. So like I said most should plan ahead to atleast find a school with a good va rep and a great place for an education most importantly that isn't after your benefits.

  22. It's a good thing to see more being done to help our veterans. Educational assistance is always appreciated by all. It would be nice to see the VRAP program extended past the April 1, 2014 expiration. It would also be nice to have the VA eliminate the 10 year limit of the Montgomery GI Bill. Unfortunately, I never had the chance to use mine.

  23. Kevin Williams says:

    they should add a second year of VRAP benefits to allow for finishing degrees. Vets from 75-90 get shorted benefits in many cases such as education.

  24. I am finishing up with my one year of VARP, I would love to stay in school I don't understand why they only gave one year and not four years to finish a degree and to be fully trained and able to go out and do the Job I am studying for.

    • Tom, VRAP is like any other government program even though it is through VA education. To pass the bill they had to figure out how to pay for it. One year made the most sense since it was created to get veterans on the job fast, not four years from now.

  25. I am a career school owner. This bill only creates more red tape that no one needs. My schools are already highly monitored and regulated. Unless there is a plethora of schools corrupting the system that I am unaware of, then the time and money the VA has should be spent on helping Veterans get the most out of their benefits. I have so many vets so frustrated with the system and lack of help they get, I feel bad and I do everything I can to help them.

  26. When it comes th to the Post 911 GI Bill, the dependents of veterans should be eligible for the same benefits that the veteran has earned. Benefits to can be lost if not applied for BEFORE leaving service. The rules need to be changed such that If the veteran is eligible, then the dependent is eligible, even after leaving service. If there are still months of entitlements on the books that can be transferred, then let them be allowed for transfer. Dependents should be allowed to have those benefits transferred over to them if the veteran so desires.

    • AMEN! I completely agree. I have my full Post 911 and do not plan on using it. They should allow us to transfer to our dependents.. Its going to just sit there and the money I put into I will loose. We earned the benefits that active duty earn, only difference is we are past and they are present.

  27. This is great and maybe I just have a good school but it seems no different than what is presently going on with my Ed benefits. What I would like to see some other changes. I would like the degree plan regulation amended. This degree plan is forcing students like myself to pay for classes that we need and or benefit from because it’s not on the schools degree plan for the specified degree. I locked myself up, per say, due to prerequisite requirements. I had completed all my generals and other degree specific classes that I could but couldn’t proceed further with the rest of my degree specific classes until I took their prerequisite which was Calculus. I spoke to my advisor and there wasn’t anything he could say or do to help me with situation. I still wanted to attend full time for that semester which was summer so I took Calculus, Project Management, and Business Ethics. I figured PM and BE would be benificial to take since I’m going to school for engineering. Unfortunately, the current regs states if the class is not listed on the degree plan then it will not get counted towards your credits/attendance; therefore, you only receive benefits for the number of hours approved. So needless to say they recognized me as a part time student and only paid me half although I was enrolled full time. I’m running into this problem again for this upcoming Spring semester. I’m nearing graduation and transferring to my 4 year college. They instructed me to take geology as it’s cheaper at my 2 year college and it’s transfers and counts as my required class with them, but because this class is not on my degree plan they won’t pay for. That just doesn’t seem right since it does in fact go towards my degree plan-it’s just not at my present school.
    Lastly, I think the penalties for withdrawing from a class need changed. A good student can struggle and shouldn’t be penalized for withdrawing from a failing class given they follow certain criteria. The current regs give no room for the student struggling with a difficult class. The choice you get is fail the class and lower your GPA but keep getting full time pay or drop the class and keep your GPA but have to pay back all the money received for that class. For me that could have been over $2k and for a student living off aid, well that’s just not an option I can take. I have a 3.57 GPA so I’m by far not a bad student. My answer to that problem is that the regulations should adapt the Federal/schools same regulations of SAP. SAP dictates whether or not the student will pay back the money the received for a class(s) the student withdrew from based on there attendance, GPA, and completion rate. If the student withdraws from the class and has a high completion rate and high GPA, they pay back little to no aid after withdrawing. There are a few other regs in there but that’s the short of it.

    • This “new” bill sounds a lot like a repeat of some previous legislation! You make a lot of good points here, Toni. As a state approving officer for VA education benefits I see many of the issues you mentioned affect students. I have seen more debt letters in veteran files since the p 9/11 than ever before. But student debt to the VA is big business. They even hired a private firm out of St. Paul, MN to handle the debt collecting duties. When I talk about the GI Bill at TAP briefings I make sure everyone knows how to avoid going into debt with the GI Bill. First of all you must be committed. If you are doing it for the monthly stipend then you are doomed for failure. As for the other issue you brought up I’m not sure there is anything that can be done. I can tell you from experience that the VA does not care that you had to drop below full-time for a semester or two. Your education was still paid for and ideally, the salary that we get from our degree will far exceed the money we made during 36 months of BAH. Plus when congress approved the GI Bill improvements back in 2011 they had to come up with a way to pay for it. They wont agree to any terms that have them paying even more. Some of the money comes straight from the accounts of unwitting “tough luck” students. That’s why it’s good to be educated on the GI Bill. As far as taking programs outside the degree plan, your talking about going somewhere your school certifying official is not going to want to go. That is such a subjective area and begs for abuse. However, I have heard that when a student is at the point of finishing up a degree and comes a few hours short of full time, they are allowed to take a non-elective possibly from a similar degree program or a Master program. As for you, to to have such a good knowledge base of the GI Bill you HAVE be close to being done! Congratulations!

    • Joanne Denzer says:

      I agree with you . I have a very difficult class and I cannot withdraw as I would
      have to pay back thousands of dollars. It is truly a bind to be in. I decided
      to rough it out, try to pass the class and I do not, a bad grade will sit on
      my transcript. I cannot imagine trying to re take this class. We should be
      allowed at least one pass on this situation. I do not have knowledge of what
      SAP IS so I cannot comment. I am Voc Hab Title 31. Which, as you know,
      only pays us for the exact amount of days we are in school. This was changed
      when other programs received the money title 31 use to have. It is not a fair
      deal. Also, another question was would I have to pay back the work study
      money in addition to the money the VA gave me monthly?

  28. The hell are these guys doing? Most of the schools I want to go to are trade schools that don't seem to qualify. I already have a bachelor's degree that I paid for using Tuition assistance; I'm also a graduate student. Stop screwing with my benefits, it's already hard enough to get into some of the trade schools for firearms (and many others) using the GI Bill.

  29. DerrickAnthony says:

    The post 911 G.I.Bill should be extended from 36 months of educational benefits to 48 months.A bachelor degree needs at lease 48 months to complete, and the 911 G.I. bill only gives 36 months, to veterans.How about the veterans who was medically retired, or discharge due to combat injuries? All veterans who have serve with honor, and was release from active duty, by the military, and who decide to return to school using the post 911 G.I.Bill, should be given ayear extensiononce they reach the three year cut off.When are we the VETERANS going to receive justice, after all that we have given to our COUNTRY and FLAG? EXTEND the DAMM post 911 G.I.Bill to 48 months of benefits, and welcome US back HOME

    • when it says 36 months of benefits, they mean in total. as most people only go to school for 9 months out of the year, 36 months of benefits translates into 4 years of a traditional 9 month school year. (9 months per school year X 4 years =36 months of benefits) at least this is how it was explained to me. hope this helped

    • Mr. Anthony,
      I am just that of which you spoke of, a disabled veteran. I am fortunate in that through Chapter 31 Voc Rehab, I am afforded a four year degree. I am now in my senior year. I was not aware that the Post 9/11 GI Bill only covers 3 years. That is just ridiculous. It almost seems as if the government penalizes those combat vets who came through their deployments unscathed

    • You don't get break pay under the GI Bill regardless of CH 30 or 33 (Post 911), 36 mos. can and will pay for a Bachelors Degree. As lomg as the scholls are SOC Consortium recognized you should be able to transfer many credits you earned through experience and military schooling (usually knocks out many electives and allows you to focus on core level and other general ed classes needed). Many veterans are working on Graduate level courses/degrees within the 36 mos of benefits. Every summer between they do not receive nearly 3-4 mos, add those up over the 4 years you know have your 4th year or possibly more.

    • Hello DerrickAnthony,

      Having used the Post 911 GI bill for graduate school and having direct knowledge of a colleague who used his to get his PhD I can tell you this: The total months are classroom time not exact time. It took me two years to get my Masters and I took two classes per semester non-stop. I had 36 months approved at 100 percent and still have 23 and a half months left. So there is a computation in the system somewhere that counts classroom hours verses the straight, continuous hours.

      • Vernon, I can also verify this, I am taking 2 classes per semester at Oregon State University, and It is calculated by how many days the class runs. The VA uses 30 days for a month and most classes are 8 weeks which are 56 days. That is basically 1 month and 26 days.

    • says:

      Really…Be thankful for what you have been offered. This is the best V.A. offer for education ever

    • Derrick,
      As i mentioned to Vernon, you need to speak with a VA councelor at the school, becasue the dates are calulated by the actuall days. If yoiur classes are like 90% of collages are, they are 8 weeks which is 56 days. this taken form 36 months would leave you with 34 months and 4 days of remaining benifits after your first semester. You also should take 2 classes per semester and you are given a lot of credit for military experiance, I had no issues with getting my BA in the alotted time, and I still had 5 months of benifits that I am using to get my minor in Natural Resource Management. (15 Credit hours).

  30. MSG Cook (Ret) says:

    Well, I have used the Post 911 GIB to pay for a masters degree; saved he BAH to pay for 2 years of my dauhter's college and for the last 12 months, I've used the rest to train and receive 6 IT certifications.

    BTW, I was unable to transfer the benefit to my daughter, but it worked out better this way.

    PS. Tuition assistance helped pay for my undergrad along wih receiving credits for military training.

    • MSgt (Ret) Mattso says:

      MSG Cook…great use of the 9/11 educational benefits. I was not able to transfer mine, but went back to school and I am about 2/3 rds of the way through my doctorate. I am using my BAH to pay for some of my daughter's education. TA paid for my undergrad and my employer paid for my MBA. I did not want my benefits to go to waste.

      • You guys need to post this to every military website. I was able to transfer my benefits to my son for his BA while I was still active. I competed my BA while still active and finsihed 75% of my MBA. When my son graduated, I was able to take the remaining GI Bill and finish my MBA after retirement. There are ways to accomplish the goal. Like always, outside the box is the answer. So may times I tell folks to work on their degree while active and the answer was "too busy". No one can be too busy to save $$ for their kids education (or theirs). Pay yourself first.

  31. Why not just give all honorably discharged veterans four years of tuition and assistance. With no limits on time or curriculum. As a society, can we do wrong by educating those among us who volunteer…to die for us?

  32. I would like to see the bill amended to allow FT distance learning/online students get 100% payment. Just because a student doesn't attend a class doesn't mean their education and time should be less valued. Most of the Master's Programs I am looking at are web-based which means I would get roughly 50% of the education benefit. Unfortunately man of the Master's in Nursing programs in my area run an upwards of $100,000. I can't afford 1/10 of that on my own as a single parent, neither can most people I know. The entire education system in this country is awful. Those who want to further their education in fields that help others should not end up paying back loans at monthly rates close to their mortgages, while those who choose not to do anything with their lives are handed everything from the government and are provided services (often greatly discounted or free) by those of us who will be paying for our education until our children's children graduate college.

  33. VA should extend VRAP program for veteran that are still enrolled. and end the 10yr limit on Educational benefits.

    U.S. NAVY Veteran

  34. Poor written skills? Do you mean poor writing skills?

  35. Extend the VRAP to a minimum of 2 years benefits. One year is not sufficient to get an associate's degree.

  36. I have my letter of eligibility to receive tuition, but am being told I am unable to give it to my daughter because I did not transfer it while I was active duty! I asked at that time about transferring it and received incorrect information!! What now??

  37. Deargo Ellis says:

    Stay away from The Art Institute of New York! They have stole so much of my GI Bill money by charging me for the same class’s three times. They say they’ll give me the obey back but still haven’t returned it yet! I left the school and tried to enroll in another school but when I tried to use my GI Bill to pay for it I couldn’t because the Art Institute of New York sent in false enrollment for the next term and you can’t be enroll in 2 schools at the same time. I then had a huge gap in hosing payment because of this situation and found myself he less in New York City.

    • If on Vrap, stay away from UDC. I was told I could do an online course through them and Cengage learning. I was lied to! The VA rep at UDC would not even talk to me after I called her on all of their lies. Also, I received my eligibility letter in February but was unable to start school until August, VA is counting my 1 year from the date of the letter. How can I get my degree in 8 months???

    • That really Sucks!

  38. Congress should work on how to expand the options for education, vets have instead of restricting them. Educate Traditional and Vocation Institutions on how to qualify and accept VA Benefits. There is some valuable training available out there, where Institutions have no clue on how to qualify and accept VA Benefits. Most of Congress have not served one day in the military, and sacrificed to serve.
    It's easy to serve if you get to stay in luxury hotels, and go home when ever you want. They have no right to reduce or restrict any Veteran Benefit as we made many of our decisions based on the promises at the time. Flexibility and more opportunities are needed.

    • Mike Murphy says:

      There is a bill on the floor right now so call or email any and all you state reps and congressmen in a positive manner , this is the way to get R done .

  39. M from Iowa says:

    This comment has absolutely no value whatsoever to this discussion. It is quite apparent that you feel the need to ensure people are given the impression that you are much smarter than most of us. I highly doubt that. If you have something to contribute then please do, If you want to criticize then begin by looking in the mirror.

  40. Who knows what the Senate will turn this one into…maybe Immigration reform?? Look what the "Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act H.R 3590" turn into after it was passed…the Senate amended every word, including the title and made it Obamacare. Look it up! How is this legal??

  41. More legislation! They (lawmakers) came out with the VOW Act in 2011, Veterans Opprtunity for Work that had/stated almost the same goals. Will see where this one goes, probably don't want to put any more work on the shoulders of the VA, they have enough issues staying caught up with compensation claims (which most are deserving of course). Seems the priority is on those now transitioning, what about the ones that have already experienced the pain of transitioning or have waited years for claims to be processed, I hear of way too many veterans being denied claims where claims are being discredited to further discourage veterans from proceeding further in the process. I'm currently an educational counselor in support of the new VOW legislation and the program is just taking a foothold and will eventually help many transitioning servicemembers in finding or establishing career/educational goals, if new legislation is to be proposed and implemented it needs to focus on VAs activities and performance standards.

  42. Darnell Brantley says:

    I am grateful for my military educational benefits. I was able to complete 3 degrees (AA, BS, and MA) before my benefits were exhausted.

  43. What about pre 911 vets. who never used their educational benefits but still served 20 yrs and earned them.? Why can''t they give theirs to their children or spouse to obtain a degree. What difference does it make who uses the benefit. It is the servicemember's benefit.

    • Michael Smith says:

      Talk about a vastly misplaced sense of entitlement. What should the taxpayers be on the hook for your kid, via a full ride, to the most expensive state school? And why on Earth should your little Suzy of Jimmy get handed these ludicrosu tax free monthly 'housing' allowances/handouts of upwards $2,000-$3,000 a month for 4 academic years with no proof even needed to show that these ABSURD HANDOUTS off the backs of the US taxpayers are even being used for his/her undergrad 'housing' needs

      The floor is all yours. GOOD LUCK!.

      • Unwanted Veteran says:

        Seriously dude, you ARE WAY OFF BASE on this one. I agree with Debra that Montgomery GI Bill beneficiaries should be able to transfer over their benefits to their children. Did you ever stop to think that military service and sacrifice does not end with the member, but it's also the family that serves too? Are are you that too pigheaded to understand that concept because all you do is wallow in your grief of how hard you had it and you want it to be equally hard on others. I never seen such a self-centered, uncaring, and selfish veteran before. You served in combat and should know better to appreciate veterans and the ones that most likely saved you from being killed. If you were the hero then you shouldn't be worrying about entitlements and who should get what. You need to get over yourself and stop worrying about what the other guys are getting. You should understand and ensure that our future veteran's benefits are eroded like they were when you served. I don't ever plan on attacking future veterans 20 years from now because they got some benefit that didn't exist when I was in. I won't do that to them because it's not fair, it's also not right! What you're doing is wrong.

    • I agree. Only one more way to screw us vets after so much we have done. I do not see why I can't transfer some of my benefits to my children. Last time I checked, our dependants served with us didn't they?

    • William Stewart says:

      Hi Debra, I served 20yrs also, I agree with you, that Montgomery GI Bill beneficiaries should be able to transfer over their benefits to their children. As the only child I had to care for my mom (breast cancer) when I got out and went pass the 10yr mark for the Montgomery GI Bill. But I did get my BA and MBA through grants and loans (not wise). However, because I join the Navy and reside in Texas my son can go to any public college in the state of Texas full time totaling 150 credits hours. This is only a state policy. Each state is different.

  44. Put more reporting requirements in place and the only schools willing to take the GI Bill may be the for-profits. Loan default, graduation rates and college costs are already easy to find for anyone interested.

    I used the benefits, received three degrees, but am sick and tired of Congress trying to get in the news by introducing more regulations.

    • Michael J. Smith says:

      Penning as a Vietnam-Era vet, the relatively new "Post 9-11 GI Bill" is a bridge too far for most vets. The total costs per vet (or his undeserving kid!!!!) can easly reach a STAGGERING $220,000. Overall costs could be in the SEVERAL TRILLIONS!

      Fine for the wounded warriors, but NOT for donut and cookie bakers and desk clerks who saw not one second of comba.




      • Unwanted Veteran says:

        I find your post offensive and would like to ask the moderator to remove it. You are only looking out for yourself while attacking others who have done their time too, whether or not they got shot at. Nobody gets to choose who will shoot them and where they are deployed to. I respect the fact that you saw combat and graciously served our country, nobody is going to take that dignity away from you – especially not any veteran. But you attacking a fellow veteran and keeping him or her from earning a benefit to be solely exclusive like a private club of good old boys is just wrong beyond compare. You get the extra perks because you've been wounded, but this does not entitle you to berate others who have a job to do. The proof of the BAH is done through the submission of the college to the VA, I don't know what you're getting at here. Do you expect a full-time student to be working full-time, or even part-time for that matter? A full-time student like myself depend on that BAH to help pay my rent since I can't work full-time if I'm attending college full-time. DID YOU EVER STOP TO THINK ABOUT THAT? Stop being so pigheaded and realize that you are causing more harm than good here. My family relies on that BAH and it's not consistent as we don't get BAH during the one to two week breaks between terms. That is not fair to expect me to hunt down a part-time job while going to school full-time. No employer hires anybody for one or two weeks as temp, not even retailers do that during the Christmas holidays! What is patently absurd is how little you take into consideration of how my Post GI Bill is being used to keep my family from going destitute while I try to improve my education so that I can be employable in a very tough employment market. Stop making it hard on people like myself and others who are using the Post 9/11 GI Bill the way it was meant to be used. We are already taking cuts and anymore will render the bill pretty much as a useless one. Apparently that's what you want, just to keep it for yourself. You're not a good veteran to other fellow veterans, you're very much a self-centered egotistical simpleton.

  45. michael j.smith says:

    The "Post 9-11 GI Bill" provides a literal full ride to the most expensive state schools with no caps. Wow.

    And there are precedent-setting tax free monthly so-called "housing" allowances (with no receipts even necessary to show that these tax free windfalls are even used for housing).

    These handouts can reach eye-popping amts of upwards of $2,500-$3,000 per month for 4 academic years! Wow again.

    Costs per vet (the vast majority of who never saw one second of actual
    combat – NOT ONE) can EASILY exceed $220,000! These trillion dollar costs
    will be staggering for DECADES! This new GI Bill is FAR, FAR more generous to vets, including cookie baker and desk clerk vets, than any other, including the GI Bill for WWII vets, Korean War vets, and the Vietnam War vets.

    But the largest absurdity is the fact that the kids —THE KIDS — of the vets can also get handed these extremely generous benefits?

    Beyond ridiculous

    • Marion Pointer says:

      Not my children! Even though my husband didn't VOLUNTEER, he had no choice, he was drafted! Today's military is all volunteer, yet they have more since 9/11 than the older vets. He serve 30 years, coming out in '93.

      When we took our daughter to college we heard of many offspring of non-livers getting full rides via the military because their parents volunteered around the time of 9/11, even those with parents who served all of their time right here in the States.

      My husband served in Vietnam and Korea, in fact he was injured in Korea (non-combat).

      Yes, he has a pension and I'm not knocking the volunteers, but if something is made available to one, why not also make it available to those that had no choice on whether they joined up or not otherwise just give it to the serviceman, not their children and pro-rate it according to their time served.

      BTW. Some spouses can also take advantage of the above benefits, but only those post 9/11!

      • michael j.smith says:

        It's absolutely true with this, in my view objectively excessive (except for wounded warriors) "Post 9-11 GI Bill."




        Google "Post 9-11 GI Bill" and see these truths for yourself.

        QUESTION: And who came up with these objectively excessive enhancements?

        ANSWER: Uniformed members 'assigned' to Pentagon policy ofices who stood to gain THEMSELVES!

        The entitlement culture is THRIVING and nearly omnipresent in our nation's all volunteer military, and most especially among the careeists, the vast majority of who never served one second in combat and sit behind desks year after year.

        • You two complaining is ridiculous I served 28 years n yes because of my blood sweat n tears n now retired as a disabled vet my daughter attends a 4 year college all vets have benefits and we earned them less than 5% of Americans choose to serve . So don't blame us I deployed over 5 times. So it is what it is

          • I agree with Marion on the one point if you offer it to some you should offer it to all.
            But Michael I'm guessing you never served or offered a moment of your life to help a single soul. Most the vets that do 20 30 years and retire what use would they have at that point to go do school or what driving force would make them want to so yes I do believe the children should be able to use what their parents EARNED…and the children don't get the Housing Stipend they only get school covered.

        • Micheal, are you whining for a reason? Ludicrous? I missed your comparison? You are comparing what to what? So being wounded means that those that could not use ninja reflexes to avoid that deserve less? Why is it that charity organizations are taking care of our wounded vets? Those that weren't wounded did less? Let me remind you bullets or IED's don't discriminate. Now your saying those that weren't physically hurt are deserving of nothing? So in your infinite wisdom ONLY physically wounded vets should have benefits?

          • Unwanted Veteran says:

            If that's the case that only the physically wounded should have benefits, then I'll start working on my paper cuts. I hate it how wounded veterans will attack others who served in the same conditions in combat. Or how they are a "real" combat hero of various sorts because they saw the "action," and therefore of deserving more in benefits, etc. It's time to stop the internal bloodletting of our own and stick up for all our entitlements. Really, this is not the time to be fighting inside the ranks as everybody will eventually lose and there will be no benefits for everybody. Let's make better sense of this and make sure our Congress stops eroding at everything that we've worked for.

        • Micheal are you delirious? Your attacking Veterans and not WELFARE? Your ok with those benefits but not the military? Here is an idea, give every medically abled WELFARE recipient an option to JOIN the freeloading, benefit collecting, non working soldiers and receive a government check for something that benefits our country outside of food stamps, housing for doing NOTHING!!!!

    • Micheal, you sound like a bitter old man who is mad because he (and his kids) weren't offered this (I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt and assuming you served). I'm a Cold War Vet and these benefits were not offered to me, but I don't begrudge them to the Post 911 vets. IMO, regardless of where you were or what your duty was, these kids VOLUNTEERED to go into harm's way for YOU (and me). Just because a vet didn't actually see combat duty, that doesn't mean they couldn't have at the drop of a hat. Orders to a combat zone can (and do) arrive FOR EVERYONE. You would discriminate against those who weren't deployed… not because they fought deployment or refused to go into a combat zone – but just because they weren't? How narrow minded of you. Your numbers are also skewed… not ALL vets will "take advantage" of this, so you have no idea what the cost will actually be. I have no idea why you are so enraged, but really… this attitude of yours does no one an good. Plus, its aa good investment in the future of our country to have a better educated citizenry. If you got the short end of the stick, I can only tell you what I was told while in the Army *shrug* "Sounds like a personal problem to me."

      • Unwanted Veteran says:

        The way this guy expects it to be that if you got shot or cut by some enemy that should be the only eligibility criteria. He sounds like a bitter veteran that has no interest in protecting other veterans. It's highly likely he let his combat buddies die on the battlefield thinking they didn't deserve to live because they weren't entitled to it. That is, unless they experienced the hardships he did.

    • Unwanted Veteran says:

      What is beyond ridiculous are your assumptions of how everybody gets a free-ride. What exactly do you mean by that? I attend a private university and work hard at my grades while working intermittently part time. I barely lucky to have this job because I go to school full-time. It's clear as day that you have no idea what you're talking about by looking at some extremes that merely does not exist for many people. Granted, I'm not saying that some people scam and get to take advantage of the situation through their kids. However, my situation among others are much different. DO YOU EXPECT ME TO WORK FULL-TIME while GOING TO COLLEGE FULL TIME? And where do you get the notion that I don't need to prove rent or mortgage because if you logically think about it. I have to live somewhere! Pray tell me where a full-time college student not utilizing a dorm and has a family to feed is not paying a rent or mortgage. Stop being a pigheaded person thinking about yourself. You should be supporting our veterans and not attacking the younger ones telling them they're not worthy of anything. What kind of veteran are you to be doing this to your own and making such outrageous remarks accusing everybody of scamming. You sir are an ass.

  46. As a disabled navy vet currently enrolled in the VRAp program I’m afraid with it ending before I recieve my associates degree that I won’t be able to continue my studies do to educational debt. Are there any other va programs that can assist financially when VRAp programs cease ?

      • robert bibbo says:

        I went from VRAP to VOC Rehab since my disability went through (not right) but that is another topic …so if you are disabled you can do vocational rehabilitation

    • Sonya Hamilton says:

      Dear Harry, I am a A.F, veteran currently enrolled in the VRAP program,and will not be able to complete my educational goals due to VRAP benefits set to expire 31 Mar 2014. I have been inquiring about this vary same question and so far there isn't another v.a. program in the works to replace it,or extend it…so I feel your pain.

    • jeff tallent says:

      I too am able to get VRAP but my school is not starting until after March…I have been hounding them like crazy and finally got an answer I could live with…they wrote me back and told me they did not know yet whether VRAP will be extended and will know by February…Just keep your fingers crossed and make sure they send you news letters…jeff Tallent..Birmingham , AL.

    • Mike Murphy says:

      Harry , currently there is a bill on the floor to extend the vrap program because you cant get a degree in three semesters . So , call , email every state rep and congressman you know , be a lobbyist just like the rest of us . POWER in numbers (:

    • Dan Hartman says:

      With ya, Harry. I won't be able to finish either. I cannot contiue without them extending the program. Seems like a waste to me, allowing you to start, but not complete. Why start something you cannot finish? They should allow those of us who began the program to finish. What a slap in the face. What a waste of tax payers money.

  47. ■Require institutions accepting VA or DoD educational benefits to meet minimum standards: Already doing that.

    ■Improve transparency of education and training programs by requiring institutions to disclose information such as graduation rates, withdrawal policies, and program costs to students and by ensuring programs fully deliver what they advertise: Alreay being done.

    ■Require these institutions to provide access to academic and/or career counseling for military and veteran students: Already available.

    More wasted time and money on a program that already does all of this.

    Yes, I agree, positive that they are working together, however, why is it that the only thing we see from republicans is something to do with veterans. Oh, yeah, that’s right: it appeals across a broad section of America. Not like health care. Why can’t we have a minimum standard for health care like they are asking for this sort of thing?

    Don’t get me wrong. I am a veteran, but I don’t see a need for this. It is already in place. Let’s refomr health care and immigration before we waste time on redoing something that already works.

    Debate is good. I would rather see my retirement and disability paid than to spend more money on a program that doesn’t need fixing. Also, who is really getting the money? Veterans? Nah, I don’t think so, looks like it is pork barrel and nothing else.

    • michael j.smith says:

      Most of the 'colleges' providing 'educatiion' to ADs are pseudo diploma mills! These 'e-degrees' from these open enrollment for-profits are essentially worthless anywhere other than within the AD or perhaps the hyper inbred DOD community.

      Units 'earned' at most are NOT EVEN TRANSFERRABLE to open enrollment community colleges. Need another word even be penned? The entire BILLION per year program off the backs of the US taxpayers is a complete waste and should be shut down immediately!

      • Unwanted Veteran says:

        Another inane useless comment of yours. Yeah, I wouldn't recommend going to ICS, ITT, DeVry, UoP, or certain other for-profit schools that are nationally accredited. You are full of it when you say that most of the units earned are not transferable to a community college. How ironic, because most of my Embry-Riddle courses ARE transferable to a State College as well my state's University system. So ONCE AGAIN, YOU ARE WRONG!!!

    • How about VRAP simply paying the amount advertised and on time?

  48. Totally not neccesary to do this. An absolute waste of time and money. Went to school on old GI Bill and new programs after more service. This one is just fine. Counseling is one thing motivation is another. If one goes to school, no matter how much counseling you get, you still have to do the work. Enough, let’s work on health care and immigration reform, stuff that really matters.

  49. I think they need to work on a bill that requires schools to give veterans instate tuition no matter what state they graduated high school from!!!

    • A federal bill would be counter to the 10th amendment, so it is left to the states…and most states do have laws giving veterans in-state tuition regardless of their home state…as long as you are currently serving or are within your first year post active service (and in some cases, even if your service wasn't in that state, i.e. Ohio). The stipulation for the year of post service (in most states) is that it goes towards obtaining residency in the state.

  50. I keep asking why is it called POST 9-11 G.I BILL when it excludes most post 9-11 veterans ?

  51. Mike Murphy says:

    Any veterans in the VRAP program must call 1-888-442-4551 to have tomie manualy put in the information to get paid for December 2013 or you will have to wait till feb . 2014 to receive payment for December 2013 . Thank you for your service .

  52. Kenneth Harper says:

    Do any know about the HR bill/S bill to extended the VRAP to March 2016 ?