OUR AGENDA Our agenda is based off of a few central ideas, with the advancement and support of Veterans as our central goal. It will be pursued at the local, state and federal levels.
1. There should be full coverage for veterans’ education. If service members are willing to go through the stress of war on behalf of our nation, then they should be supported with school benefits, for they in fact have more invested in this nation than most others. Also, history has shown us that supporting veteran's education benefits yields a high rate of return in social capital, such as creating new jobs and businesses, lowering the unemployment rate, lowering crime, and reducing homelessness.
2. Health care should be worth while and available for veterans and not be an "insurance company" type approach where they do their best to deny services to veterans.
3. Reintegration has to be supported so that veterans who have given so much do not become cast out of our communities, but rather become productive members.
We believe these items would best be upheld by supporting the G.I. Bill, helping schools with a grant program for veteran’s coordination, creation of veterans resource centers on college campuses, reintegration programs at the state level, embedding VSO's in reserve and guard units before and after deployments, and increased funding for the VA.
Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Improvement Act of 2010
Beginning August 1st, 2011:
• Active-duty service members and their spouses using transferred benefits would be eligible, beginning Aug. 1, 2011, for the $1,000 book allowance; student veterans already receive this allowance.
• Living stipends would be available to people taking distance learning classes without the current requirement that they must take at least one classroom course to qualify. However, the payment would be half of the national average living stipend.
• Living stipends would be available to anyone taking enough credits to be considered a half-time student. Current law limits stipends to those attending more than half time.
• Nontraditional education would be covered through certificate and nondegree programs, apprenticeships and on-the-job training, and correspondence training.
• A tuition and fee reimbursement cap for private colleges and universities, some graduate courses and for students paying out-of-state tuition would be simplified. Instead of being based on the highest rates for public schools in each state, a single nationwide cap would be set at $17,500, effective Aug. 1, 2011. This is the national average for in-state tuition and fees. That amount is more than the current cap in all but a few states.
• GI Bill benefits could be used multiple times for licensure and certification tests and national college exams, starting Aug. 1, 2011. But students who use this benefit more than once would lose one month of their 36 months of benefits for every $1,667 spent on exam fees.
• For National Guard and reserve members, the bill would expand the types of service that count toward earning benefits, to include mobilization under Title 32 and service in the Active Guard and Reserve program. This would apply to service since Aug. 1, 2009.
• Coast Guard entry-level training and skill training would count toward earning benefits, effective on the date the bill becomes law.
• Living stipends for people attending school less than full time but more than half-time would be prorated, effective Aug. 1, 2011. Under current rules, full stipends are paid to those attending college on a more than half-time basis.
• Active-duty members who now may receive full tuition and fees for attending private school would have payments capped at $17,500 a year, beginning in the fall 2011 term. They could be eligible for Yellow Ribbon Program benefits, like other student veterans, to cover tuition and fees that exceed the cap.
• Service members released from active duty because of pre-existing medical conditions, hardships or physical or mental conditions that are not service-connected would have to have an honorable discharge to use the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Currently, the type of discharge does not restrict eligibility.
• Rules preventing duplication of benefits would expand so that family members could use transferred Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits from only one service member at a time, and anyone using the Post-9/11 GI Bill could not concurrently use survivors education benefits or National Call-to-Service education benefits.
• Payment of benefits during intervals between school terms would be allowed only during emergencies, such as when schools are temporarily closed by presidential order.
H.R. 1451: Post 9/11 GI Bill Payment Restoration Act To repeal a modification of authority to make certain interval payments of educational assistance under laws administered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and for other purposes.