The National Association of Veterans Program Administrators
The National Association of Veterans Program Administrators is pleased to provide brief comments regarding the issues to be covered during the House Veterans Affairs Committee Economic Opportunity Subcommittee June 20, 20123 on “The Value of Education for Veterans at Public, Private and For-Profit Colleges and Universities.” NAVPA is proud to represent over 300 educational institutions serving veterans, military members, and their families throughout the nation. Our members are those who serve as the first-line contact for these students at our institutions.
The institutional reporting requirements under Public law 112-249 are met through the US Department of Education and relate to data for institutions as a whole and not specifically for the veteran population. This data is regularly provided by school offices designated for institutional reporting and so we do not expect our members to be directly involved in providing it to the federal agencies tasked for collection. The transparency and communication requirements in the Principles of Excellence for those schools that voluntarily pledged to comply are student-facing and will serve to better inform student veterans, military members, and their families about education policies and practices.
NAVPA would like to express our appreciation for the dedicated phone line at the VA’s Education Call Center provided for school officials. The ability for our members to quickly and easily access information about specific students’ eligibility, entitlement, or tuition and fee payments has been extremely helpful. PL 112-249, Section 3 requires VA to provide dedicated points of contact for school certifying officials to assist in “preparing and submitting such reports or certifications.” While the Call Center SCO Hotline provides specific student eligibility and payment information, they are not trained nor tasked to provide general information about VA policy or certification procedures. SCOs still rely on their VA Education Liaison Representatives to provide that information or to answer questions about how a specific student situation should be interpreted and certified. Unfortunately, ELRs often remain difficult to reach in a timely fashion due to their many duties including travel for compliance survey visits.
It is not in our area of expertise to comment on issues related to education costs or value and we defer to other organizations more suited to respond.