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house Bill H.R. 3218

Expanding the GI Bill

Argument in favor

The GI Bill has helped veterans obtain higher education since 1944, and it should be modernized and expanded to reflect modern veterans’ educational aspirations and realities. After serving this country, veterans should be able to pursue whatever educational or vocational training they’re interested in, and the GI Bill should help pay for it.

Ian's Opinion
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07/24/2017
Truly a great bill that helps thousands of veterans that have been left behind by the current GI Bill. This will serve all future veterans without costing tax payers anything. If you would like more information visit forevergibill.org or google HR 3218.
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SecondVoice's Opinion
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11/14/2017
Second Voice for Children of Vietnam Veterans, Inc. Supports all bills to be reviewed before Congress that will assist help in helping the children, veterans and generations after in support of research, data and health care planning as a result of the effects of Agent Orange, environmental pollutants, and other ailments that continue to plaque these generations and the surviving veterans such as psychological disabilities and physical disabilities. These areas include access to care, quality of care, homelessness, PTSD, Suicide, benefits for Veterans and offspring, especially in the area the death of the veteran parent being associated with their service and the children's disabilities as a result of that service be expanded in eligibility resulting in quality of care and benefits.
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Argument opposed

The GI Bill already funds the vast majority of schools that veterans may choose to attend — it shouldn’t be expanded any further, as doing so might significantly increase its cost down the line. Likewise, expanding the eligibility criteria for GI Bill benefits is going to increase the program’s costs down the line, as more people are eligible for them.

Jsb16's Opinion
···
07/24/2017
No yes vote without more details. This bill needs to prevent taxpayer money from going to (and veterans from being taken by) scams like Trump University.
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Doreen's Opinion
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07/24/2017
Not enough information. GI Bill has helped many vets, and I would like to see this continue. Both my father and late husband benefited greatly. I don
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What is House Bill H.R. 3218?

This bill, the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017, also known as the “Forever GI Bill,” combines 18 separate bills together to modernize the GI Bill’s benefits for veterans. It was signed into law on August 17, 2017 and brings significant veterans’ education benefits over the next few years. Some provisions of the bill took place immediately upon the bill’s enactment into law, while others were phased in in 2018, and yet others will take effect in 2019 and 2022.

Effective Immediately:

  • Assistance for Students Affected by School Closures and Certain Program Disapprovals: Entitles students who used GI Bill benefits for school to receive back entitlement charged against them if their school closed while they were attending

  • Elimination of 15-year Time Limit to Use the Post-9/11 GI Bill: Removes the 15-year time limit for the use of Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits for those whose last discharge or release from active duty was on or after January 1, 2013, children of deceased servicemembers who became entitled to Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits on or after January 1, 2013, and all spouses using Fry Scholarship.

  • Independent Study at Technical Schools and Non-Institutions of Higher Learning (IHLs):  Allows GI bill usage for tudy (e.g., online learning) at non-IHLs. The non-IHLs must be area career and technical education schools that provide postsecondary level education or postsecondary vocational institutions.

  • Priority Enrollment: VA to provide information on whether institutions of higher learning administer a priority enrollment system that allows certain student Veterans to enroll in courses earlier than other students.

  • REAP Eligibility Credited Toward Post-9/11 GI Bill Program: Reservists who established eligibility to educational assistance under the Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP) before November 25, 2015, and lost it due to the program’s sunset may elect to have that service credited towards the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

  • Work-Study Expansion: Removes the expiration date for qualifying work-study activities.

  • GI Bill Monthly Housing Allowance: Those who first use Post-9/11 GI Bill on or after January 1, 2018, will receive a monthly housing allowance January 1, 2018 based on the Department of Defense BAH for monthly housing rates.


Effective January 1, 2018:

  • GI Bill Monthly Housing Allowance: Those who first use Post-9/11 GI Bill on or after January 1, 2018, will receive a monthly housing allowance January 1, 2018 based on the Department of Defense BAH for monthly housing rates.


Effective August 1, 2018:

  • Changes to Licensing and Certification Charges: Entitlement charges for licensing and certification exams and national tests under the Post-9/11 GI Bill will be prorated based on the actual amount of the fee charged for the test. This lowers the entitlement charge to benefits.

  • Changes to Transfer of Benefits (TEB): Veterans who transferred entitlement to a dependent can now designate a new dependent if the original dependent dies. If the Veteran dies, a dependent who received transferred entitlement can now designate a new eligible dependent of the Veteran to transfer any of the dependent’s remaining entitlement.

  • Informing Schools About Beneficiary Entitlement: VA must make available to educational institutions information about the amount of educational assistance to which a beneficiary is entitled. A beneficiary may elect not to provide the information to an educational institution.

  • Monthly Housing Allowance During Active Duty Service (Including Reserve Components performing Active Duty Service): VA will prorate the monthly housing allowance under the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Currently, those who leave active duty can’t receive their housing allowance until the beginning of the next full month after being released from active duty. With this change, the student will receive housing payments effective the day of discharge.

  • Monthly Housing Based on Campus Where Student Attends Most Classes: Requires the monthly housing allowance under the Post-9/11 GI Bill program to be calculated based on the zip code of the campus where the student physically attends the majority of classes, rather than the location of the school where the student is enrolled.

  • Pilot Program for Technology Courses (VET TEC): VA will develop a pilot program to provide eligible Veterans with the opportunity to enroll in high technology education programs that VA determines provides training and skills sought by employers in a relevant field or industry.

  • Purple Heart Recipients: Servicemembers and honorably discharged Veterans who were awarded a Purple Heart on or after September 11, 2001, will be entitled to Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits at the 100-percent benefit level for up to 36 months.

  • Reserve Component Benefits: Authorizes service by Guard and Reserve members under 10 U.S.C 12304a and 12304b to receive August 1, 2018 Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits.

  • Reserve Duty That Counts Toward Post-9/11 Eligibility:  The time that a Reservist was ordered to active duty to receive authorized medical care, to be medically evaluated for disability, or to complete a Department of Defense health care study on or after September 11, 2001, now counts as active duty toward eligibility for the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

  • Yellow Ribbon Extension to Fry and Purple Heart Recipients: Allows recipients of the Fry Scholarship and Purple Heart to use the Yellow Ribbon Program.


Effective August 1, 2019:

  • More Benefits for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Programs: VA will provide up to nine months of additional Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to eligible individuals who are enrolled in a STEM field program of education.


Effective August 1, 2022:

  • Yellow Ribbon Extension to Active Duty Servicemembers: Active duty service members may use the Yellow Ribbon Program.

Impact

Veterans; reservists; student veterans; colleges; higher education institutions; non-higher education vocational training programs; technical schools; STEM degrees; Purple Heart recipients; veterans’ families; veterans’ beneficiaries; veterans’ spouses; Fry Scholarship; and the Yellow Ribbon Program.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 3218

$53.00 Million
The CBO estimates that implementing this bill would cost $53 million over the 2018-2022 period.

More Information

In-DepthRep. Phil Roe (R-TN) introduced this bill to improve and extend GI Bill benefits granted to veterans, their surviving spouses, and dependents:

“We have a duty to care for every man and woman who has served their country honorably as they begin their transition from active duty to civilian life. One essential way we can empower servicemembers is to give them the tools they need to succeed in whatever career they pursue. Data shows time and time again that student veterans outperform their peers in the classroom, and I’m proud of this bipartisan legislation to expand GI Bill benefits. The Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017 makes lasting changes to the GI Bill by expanding educational benefits for our nation’s heroes, their dependents and surviving spouses. I’m particularly proud that, for the first time in the history of the GI Bill, new beneficiaries will be able to use this tremendous benefit throughout their lifetimes. A lot of work has gone into this process, and I thank the Veterans Service Organizations for their tireless and continued dedication to our nation’s veterans. I’m proud to work with Ranking Member Walz and members from both sides of the aisle to prioritize the future of America’s heroes and their loved ones, and I look forward to getting this important legislation to President Trump’s desk.”

Original cosponsor Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN) adds that the GI Bill is the preeminent means by which veterans pursue higher education:

“The original G.I. Bill served as the foundation upon which an entire generation of servicemembers returning from World War II built not just their educations but their entire civilian lives. Since that time, the G.I. Bill has remained the preeminent means by which millions of veterans pursued quality higher education and raised middle-class families upon their return home. That is why I am so proud to announce, alongside my friend and colleague Chairman Phil Roe, the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017. This bipartisan G.I. Bill will improve the lives of future generations of veterans by enhancing existing benefits, correcting current gaps in eligibility, and providing new benefits to help our veterans in today’s economy without asking our troops or American taxpayers to pay more.”

After President Trump signed this bill into law in August 2017, Rep. Roe called it a commitment to the care of the men and women who’ve served:

“Today our commitment to support and care for the men and women who have served our great nation has been reinforced with the signing of the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017. This law would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of every veterans service organization and the bipartisan cooperation of both chambers of Congress. I’m also grateful to President Trump and Secretary Shulkin for their unfailing commitment to America’s heroes.”

This bill passed both the House and Senate unanimously and was signed into law by President Trump in August 2017. It had the support of 121 House cosponsors, including 85 Democrats and 36 Republicans, as well as that of Student Veterans of America, the Military Order of the Purple Heart, Concerned Veterans for America, and others.

After President Trump signed this bill into law in August 2017, Rep. Roe, as chair of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, applauded this bill’s passage as a way to support veterans:

“Today our commitment to support and care for the men and women who have served our great nation has been reinforced with the signing of the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017. This legislation will enable veterans to use the education benefits they’ve earned through the GI Bill when and how it suits them best, setting them up for future success in whatever career they pursue. Our student veterans are some of the very best of this country, and I’m proud we can support them with this new law.”

After the bill’s enactment, VA Press Secretary David Shulkin also praised this legislation:

“1.7 million individuals have already taken advantage of the Post 9/11 GI Bill, and we hope that many more now will. We have spent more than $75 billion through the Post 9/11 GI Bill to support veterans and their dependents, and this is another example of bipartisan support that brought us this GI Bill expansion.”


Of NoteThe GI bill has represented America’s commitment to veterans since 1944. When this bill was signed into law in August 2017, it was the most comprehensive change to GI benefits since the enactment of the Post 9/11 Veterans’ Educational Assistance Act in 2008.

Prior to this bill’s enactment, although the GI Bill had been enhanced since its enactment in 1944, there were still many types of training and education programs that remained inaccessible to student veterans through the GI Bill.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / asiseeit)

AKA

Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017

Official Title

To amend title 38, United States Code, to make certain improvements in the laws administered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • EnactedAugust 16th, 2017
    The President signed this bill into law
  • The senate Passed August 2nd, 2017
    Passed by Voice Vote
  • The house Passed July 24th, 2017
    Roll Call Vote 405 Yea / 0 Nay
      house Committees
      Committee on Armed Services
      Military Personnel
      Economic Opportunity
      Committee on Veterans' Affairs
    IntroducedJuly 13th, 2017

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    No yes vote without more details. This bill needs to prevent taxpayer money from going to (and veterans from being taken by) scams like Trump University.
    Like (3)
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    Truly a great bill that helps thousands of veterans that have been left behind by the current GI Bill. This will serve all future veterans without costing tax payers anything. If you would like more information visit forevergibill.org or google HR 3218.
    Like (3)
    Follow
    Share
    Not enough information. GI Bill has helped many vets, and I would like to see this continue. Both my father and late husband benefited greatly. I don
    Like (3)
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    This should not reduce the BAH of veterans. BAH is the life line that we use and reducing it puts us in a tougher situation financially. It's already not enough in alot of areas(depending on where you live). Also it would be great to add current GI bill elligable Vets to the non-expert ion aspect of it.
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    Second Voice for Children of Vietnam Veterans, Inc. Supports all bills to be reviewed before Congress that will assist help in helping the children, veterans and generations after in support of research, data and health care planning as a result of the effects of Agent Orange, environmental pollutants, and other ailments that continue to plaque these generations and the surviving veterans such as psychological disabilities and physical disabilities. These areas include access to care, quality of care, homelessness, PTSD, Suicide, benefits for Veterans and offspring, especially in the area the death of the veteran parent being associated with their service and the children's disabilities as a result of that service be expanded in eligibility resulting in quality of care and benefits.
    Like (1)
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