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.
Witness Testimony of The Honorable Ken Calvert (CA-42)
Chairman Flores, Ranking Member Takano and distinguished members of the subcommittee – thank you for inviting me here to testify today on HR 331, a bill that would streamline VA processes to the benefit of our veterans.
The issue is fairly specific to community college districts that have multiple colleges as part of the district. Currently, the department of Veterans Affairs (VA) requires Community Colleges to certify that their veteran students are enrolled for a specific number of classes before the VA will disperse student benefits.
Ranking Member Takano’s congressional district and my district include a community college district with three colleges. The community college district operates under uniform curriculum for all three colleges. Under current regulations, each of the three colleges must write letters to the other colleges within the District to verify their classes meet regulations. This unnecessary paperwork delays benefits to veterans and increases processing time and costs to college district as well as the VA.
This process is unnecessary because:
• All the colleges' curriculum is approved at the District level and is aligned across colleges;
• The District registration system includes an option for a student to register at any one of the colleges in the same term;
• The District's computer system contains all student and course information on one record that can be accessed and viewed at any of the colleges;
• A student's official transcript includes courses taken at all of the three colleges.
HR 331 would correct the problem by permitting each college in the District to certify veterans for all classes attended within the District rather than just for classes attended at that particular college. HR 331 would update the rules which would mean veterans would receive their benefits sooner and the VA would have less paperwork to process.
HR 331 provides an important and necessary legislative fix to a problem that is impacting veterans in my and Congressman Takano’s congressional districts and could be impacting thousands of veterans across the country. I would like to personally thank Chairman Flores’ staff for their work and advice in drafting this bill and I welcome any questions the subcommittee may have at this time.