Senate Passes Moran, Tester Legislative Fix to Protect GI Bill Benefits as Universities Close Due to Coronavirus
WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Senate passed Senate Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Ranking Member Jon Tester’s (D-Mont.) legislation that would allow veterans on the GI Bill to continue receiving full benefits as universities move classes online to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Last week, House Veterans’ Affairs Ranking Member Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.
The GI Bill determines student veterans’ benefits based on whether or not they attend a physical university in person versus an online program. As colleges and universities close campuses to prevent the spread of the COVID-19, veterans on the GI Bill could lose or have their benefits cut. The bill, S.3503, would allow these student veterans to continue to receive full benefits even if the universities they are attending decide to temporarily move classes online due to COVID-19.
“The Senate acted quickly to pass this legislative fix to make certain student veterans relying on the GI Bill to attend college would not be stripped of their benefits because universities are temporarily moving to online classes to prevent the spread of the coronavirus,” said Chairman Moran. “This is a great first step, and I urge my colleagues in the House to also act quickly to pass this legislation and send it to President Trump to sign. We must make certain veterans can still receive the benefits they’ve earned despite concerns surrounding coronavirus and have the opportunity to earn a college degree and achieve success after service.”
“We worked quickly to pass our bipartisan bill that will allow student veterans to receive their earned education benefits, regardless of whether their classes are online or in the classroom,” said Ranking Member Tester. “It’s critically important that we provide schools adapting an online curriculum, with the support they need to continue serving students across the country. It’s now up to the House to send this bill to the President’s desk for signature, so that we can keep students focused on their health, safety, and education.”