Tester, Moran, Takano Push VA to Clarify New Guidance on GI Bill Rule to Protect Student Veterans

(U.S. Senate) – To better protect student veterans nationwide, Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Ranking Member Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), and House Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mark Takano (D-Calif.) are urging Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Denis McDonough to review and clarify recent changes to the 85/15 Rule as well as work with schools to ensure VA’s new guidelines are implemented correctly, without interruption to veterans’ and their dependents’ education.

The 85/15 Rule prohibits VA from paying benefits to students enrolling in education programs where more than 85 percent of the students in that program receive funding from VA, and was established to combat the predatory practices of schools targeting veterans using the GI Bill.

“We write to request clarification regarding the newly released guidance concerning the 85/15 Rule, which may negatively impact the ability of colleges and universities to enroll and serve veterans, including those currently enrolled,” the Senators wrote in a bipartisan, bicameral letter to McDonough. “…The 85/15 Rule is vital to ensuring student veterans and their eligible beneficiaries receive sound and substantial education and training. However, recent guidance from VA on how this rule will be implemented going forward has caused significant confusion and concern for schools and students.”

VA recently implemented new guidance on the 85/15 Rule that may include students who do not receive any form of educational assistance from VA. The Committee leaders expressed their concerns with the Department’s latest interpretation of the law, and requested VA provide more clarity, communication and training to schools on how to remain compliant and meet these new requirements.

They continued, “We strongly support VA’s efforts to ensure student veterans have positive educational outcomes and are not victims of predatory behavior, but we also want to prevent unnecessary barriers for both schools and veterans, so veterans are able to utilize their earned VA education benefits.”

Read the Committee leaders’ full letter HERE.