Tester holding schools accountable over G.I. Bill misuse

Senator sponsors bills to raise standards, provide more information to students

(U.S. SENATE) – Senator Jon Tester is making sure that service members and veterans who attend school with G.I. Bill benefits get the high-quality education they earned.

Service members, veterans and other beneficiaries use G.I. Bill benefits to attend college or train for new jobs.  But some schools use misleading information and aggressive tactics to recruit potential student veterans.

Tester is backing two bills that prevent abuse of G.I. Bill benefits by schools and guarantee that G.I. Bill beneficiaries can access the information they need to make smart decisions about their futures. 

Tester’s G.I. Bill Consumer Awareness Act will require the VA to provide G.I. Bill beneficiaries with easy-to-understand information about schools approved to accept benefits.  Beneficiaries will be able to access schools’ veteran enrollment numbers and job placement rates, as well as other pertinent information.

“Our men and women in uniform made tremendous sacrifices for this country, and it's our responsibility to support them when they come home,” Tester said.  “These bills hold schools accountable for taxpayer dollars and make sure G.I. beneficiaries get the education they deserve to find jobs and support their families.  It’s the right thing to do.”

Tester is also backing the bipartisan Military and Veterans Educational Reform Act that requires schools with at least 20 students enrolled in VA or Defense Department educational assistance initiatives to provide support services to military and veteran students.  The departments will also have to review schools suspected of failing to meet educational standards.

“IAVA applauds Senator Tester for his leadership in protecting the New G.I. Bill so all veterans are career-ready after service.  Our veterans aren't dollar signs in uniform, and our country must ensure that they receive the quality education and job training that they earned and need to succeed in the workforce," said Paul Rieckhoff, Founder and Executive Director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA).

The 21st Century G.I. Bill, signed into law in 2007, was one of the first bills Tester cosponsored in the Senate.  The bill fully took effect in 2009, paying for college tuition, living expenses and books for thousands of Montana veterans who have served on active duty in the military since the terrorist attacks of 2001.  In 2012, more than 590,000 beneficiaries are expected to enroll in educational institutions using the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill.
Tester, Montana’s only member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, most recently told the VA not to withhold veterans’ tuition benefits over debts that many veterans incur at no fault of their own.

Tester’s G.I. Bill Consumer Awareness Act is available online HERE.  His bipartisan Military and Veterans Educational Reform Act is available online HERE.

More information about the 21st Century G.I. Bill is available online HERE.