Carper Cosponsors Legislation to Protect Veterans from Wasting G.I. Bill Benefits on Unaccredited Education Programs
Aug 05 2015
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.) joined a bipartisan group of Senators to introduce legislation that would prevent unaccredited education programs from receiving G.I. Bill funds and ensuring G.I. benefits only go toward providing veterans with quality education and career training from properly accredited educational programs. Authored by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), the Career-Ready Student Veterans Act protects veterans from losing their G.I. Bill benefits to unaccredited educational programs unable to equip them with the tools and knowledge needed for employment.
"After bravely serving our nation, our veterans have earned a generous educational benefit that is meant to provide high-quality college education and career training that equips our veterans for meaningful civilian careers," said Sen. Carper. "Allowing our veterans to use their hard-earned G.I. Bill benefits on unaccredited programs is a disservice to our veterans and a waste of taxpayer dollars. Congress must protect veterans and taxpayers by making sure the G.I. Bill goes toward legitimate programs that prepare veterans for the workforce."
Currently, some veterans use G.I. Bill benefits for education programs that do not adequately equip them for employment. Although a school may have institutional accreditation, it may lack appropriate programmatic accreditation or fail to meet state-specific criteria required for certification or licensure. When veterans use G.I. Bill benefits at unaccredited programs, they may face severely limited employment options or be precluded from job opportunities entirely. The programs at issue primarily include law, teaching, criminal justice, and numerous healthcare degrees, including nursing, psychology, medical assisting, dental assisting and surgical technology.
Sen. Carper joins Senators Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) in sponsoring the Senate bill. U.S. Representative Mark Takano (D-Calif.) introduced companion legislation in the House. This legislation is supported by the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), the Military Officers Association of American (MOAA), Student Veterans of America (SVA) and Veterans Education Success.
More specifically the Career-Ready Student Veterans Act would:
- Modify the requirements for approval of courses using VA educational assistance by requiring that educational programs meet instructional curriculum licensure or certification requirements of the state.
- Require that programs are approved by the appropriate board or agency in a state if an occupation requires approval or licensure.
- Authorize the VA Secretary to waive this requirement only under limited, clearly defined circumstances.