New law allows veteran education benefits to continue

By Daphne J. Thomas
March 30, 2020

Congress signed into effect March 21 a new law that authorizes the United States Department of Veterans Affairs to extend educational assistance to veterans through December 21, 2020, for education programs that are now delivered online due to an emergency or health-related situation. The guidance applies to the current academic terms only.

American Council on Education quoted a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) in favor of the legislation: “In light of coronavirus challenges, many campuses are working quickly to stand up online classroom instruction as a way to protect students and campus communities and limit contagion. However, moving programs of education online has the potential to significantly and negatively impact the ability of veterans to receive GI bill benefits. As just one example, under current Post-9/11 GI Bill rules, student veterans taking courses online typically receive only half the housing allowance of their on-campus peers.”

The new law gives VA temporary authority to continue GI Bill payments uninterrupted in the event of national emergencies. This allows for continued payment of benefits even if the program has changed from resident training to online training. Southwest Tennessee Community College veteran students who have questions or concerns about their benefits may contact Veterans Affairs Coordinator Kristina King at kking1@southwest.tn.edu or 901-333-4029.

 

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