Joint Hearing of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the U.S. Senate and the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs of the U.S. House of Representatives at 1:00 p.m. CDT.
Submission For The Record of Faith DesLauriers, and Dorothy Gillman, President, Legislative Director, National Assocation of Veterans Programs Administrators
National Association of Veterans Programs Administrators
April 27, 2011
The Honorable Jeff Miller
House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Chairman Miller:
On behalf of the membership of the National Association of Veterans Programs Administrators (NAVPA), thank you for introducing H.R. 1383 to temporarily preserve higher Post 9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33) rates for tuition and fees for programs of education at non-public institution of higher learning. Both your bill as well as Senator Schumer’s Senate Bill 745 would, in part, correct what we believe to be an unintended injustice to veterans, service members and their dependents currently enrolled.
While students attending private schools may in some cases experience the greatest reduction in benefits beginning in fall 2011 under Chapter 33; many non-resident (out-of-state) students attending public institutions will also experience substantial decreases in their basic Chapter 33 tuition and fee payments.
A sample of 40 students at four public institutions in three different states (Indiana, Kentucky, and Washington) showed reductions in benefits ranging from $936 to $3,864 per year. These figures would likely vary considerably among all 50 states and among institutions. There are definitely students whose benefits will increase based on the new rules, but there are many others whose financial situations will be negatively impacted as is the case for those attending private schools.
We respectfully request consideration to grandfather all Chapter 33 eligible students enrolled on or before April 1, 2011 and, including those serving on Active Duty. All eligible students enrolled on or before April 1, 2011 should receive the greater of the scheduled payment under the 2010-2011 Chapter 33 rules, or the scheduled payment under the provisions of P.L. 111-377. We also request that “Covered individuals” include all students (veterans, service members and those dependents to which benefits have been transferred) regardless of the state in which they are enrolled.
We realize this will require VA to calculate payments at both rates for the grandfathered period – and to track those students for whom grandfathering is appropriate. This effort is reasonable to protect all individuals who have made both personal and financial commitments to pursue their educational endeavors based on the benefits available and promised at the time they applied for admission, were accepted and enrolled at Institutions of Higher learning throughout the country.
Thank you for your support, your service, and for your consideration of these recommendations.