With schools closing or moving to online learning for extended periods of time, Post-9/11 GI Bill housing vouchers were in jeopardy;
Following bipartisan push from Congressman, House passed legislative fix sending bill to be signed into law by the President
STATEN ISLAND, NY — March 19, 2020 — With most colleges and universities closing campuses and moving to online learning, veteran students receiving Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) vouchers were in jeopardy of seeing benefits slashed, potentially forcing them to fall behind on rent. Following a bipartisan call earlier this week led by Congressman Max Rose (NY-11) and Congressman Gilbert R. Cisneros, Jr. (CA-39) to quickly pass a bipartisan legislative fix, the House of Representatives passed this morning by unanimous consent S. 3503, which already passed the Senate and now goes to the President to be signed into law.
“Our veteran students have served their country and we cannot forget them,” said Rose, an Army combat veteran and Member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. “Due to the change to online learning, all our veteran students were facing drastic cuts to their housing allowance if we didn’t act. Time was of the essence and I’m proud that we were able to push this across the finish line.”
Under the Post-9/11 GI Bill, veterans receive housing benefits to provide fair housing for students to attend higher education, although rates for online learning or training are much lower than on-site classes for many veterans.
“The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) rate for a full-time student utilizing exclusively online training is $894.50—thousands of dollars less than the on-site class rate for many veterans,” wrote Rose with fellow Members of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs in a bipartisan letter to Congressional leadership. “Given the large number of universities converting to online-only education out of caution, veterans will be locked into an unplanned lower BAH rate, and one they’re likely to be unprepared for. We will see a growing population of student veterans forced to make untenable financial and housing decisions, because while their BAH rate will change, they will still need to pay their rent at the end of the month. This unexpected cut to BAH will severely impact their lives, and must be delayed.”
Joining Rose and Cisneros in signing the bipartisan letter were Representatives Gus M. Bilirakis (FL-12), Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (Northern Mariana Islands’ At-Large – MP-At Large), Joe Cunningham (SC-01), Chris Pappas (NH-01), and Susie Lee (NV-03).
Full text of letter HERE.
SOURCE: Jonas Edwards-Jenks | Communications Director | Congressman Max Rose