Tester Fights to Strengthen Education Benefits for Montana Veterans

Senator Leads Charge to Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Modernize, Reform G.I. Bill

(U.S. Senate) – Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Ranking Member Jon Tester today introduced bipartisan legislation to modernize and strengthen education benefits for Montana veterans and servicemembers.

Tester’s bill will get rid of the arbitrary 15-year window for veterans to use their G.I. Bill education benefits. It also extends benefits to certain Reservists who deploy and to survivors of men and women who died in the line of duty.

“The G.I. Bill has provided generations of Montana veterans with access to higher education after they have bravely served our country,”
said Tester. “It’s a no brainer to continue investing in the men and women who have served, and I’m proud to introduce bipartisan legislation that will break down barriers to and strengthen education benefits for servicemembers, Guardsmen and Reservists.”

Tester’s Harry W. Colmery Veterans Education Assistance Act makes responsible investments in student veterans who are pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) fields, as well as technical and vocational careers.

In addition, the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Education Assistance Act does the following:

  • Allows Reservists receiving medical treatment as a result of their service to count this time towards accruing education benefits. 
  • Restores benefits to student veterans who received credits or training from certain educational institutions that close. 
  • Reinstates the Reserve Educational Assistance Program for Reservists. 
  • Prorates licensing and certification benefits, rather than charging veterans a month’s worth of benefits. 
  • Extends full education benefits to recipients of the Purple Heart. 
  • Prorates housing benefits for Reservists who mobilize for training or deployment while attending school.
  • Provides more on-campus educational and vocational counseling services for veterans. 

Last year, there were 2,030 G.I. Bill beneficiaries in Montana.