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  • J. Olson

VA Rule Change to Impact Veterans, Will Prevent Some from Using Their GI Bill

A new VA rule change is going to have some undesirable repercussions on veterans across the nation.

Until recently, the 85/15 Rule said that the VA could not pay for a student’s education if they are in a program where more than 85% of the students have their tuition supported by either the college itself or the VA.

The new change is redefining what is considered a “supported student.” Previously it was “any student receiving VA benefits.” However, it will now be considered “any student who gets a scholarship grant from their school, who is granted a waiver or tuition and fee forgiveness, or any student using a payment plan”.

As you can see, the rule change will make it so a large number of non-veteran students fall under the 85/15 Rule.

This means that veterans who want to use their GI Bill could have a more difficult time enrolling at schools they want to attend.

Many think that the VA’s intention for changing the rule was an attempt to decrease predatory schools from trying to get veterans to enroll so they can get more money coming into the school from students using the Post 9/11 GI Bill.

While the VA’s motive of trying to prohibit schools from preying on veterans is worthwhile, many think this is not the way to go about it.

Several members of Congress agree, and have sent a letter to VA Secretary Denis McDonough requesting the following.

  • To provide a list of schools and/or programs that have been suspended under the new guidance.

  • Why the VA changed its guidance on the 85/15 Rule when the statutory language in section 3680 of title 38, United States Code, did not change?

  • What training and communication has been provided to schools on how to implement this new guidance?

  • If students are activated by the Guard or Reserve during their academic term, will they be unable to return to their educational program if it drops below the 85/15 ratio during their activation?

  • What resources is VA providing to school certifying officials to ask questions and gain clarification about the new guidance?

The letter included a suspense date of a reply back to Congress NLT December 1. The VA’s response (if there was one) has yet to be released to the press.


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