SCHUMER: NEW YORK VETERANS SET TO LOSE THOUSANDS IN COLLEGE AID UNDER CHANGES TO POST 9/11 GI-BILL; INTRODUCES LEGISLATION TO PROTECT VETERANS’ TUITION BENEFITSNew York Veterans Currently in College Are Set to Lose Thousands in Promised Tuition Assistance Under Upcoming Changes to GI Bill; Could Force Them to Drop Out or Not Complete ProgramsSchumer Legislation Would Preserve Veterans’ Tuition Benefits by Grandfathering-In Student Vets Until They Complete Their StudiesSchumer: We Shouldn’t Change the Rules in the Middle of the Game; Vets Deserve Education They Were PromisedU.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today introduced legislation to protect tuition benefits for New York veterans that are set to be drastically reduced in August. Under the Post-9/11 GI Bill, passed in 2008, veteran students were eligible for full tuition benefits at public institutions, or they could receive up to the same benefit amount if attending a private institution. Thousands of veterans applied to and were accepted by private universities with the understanding that their tuition would be fully covered. However, as a result of a 2010 law, benefits for students attending private institutions will be capped at $17,500 in the next academic year – a potentially drastic cut that will cost many New York veterans of thousands of dollars each year. Schumer’s legislation would allow those veterans who were receiving tuition benefits under the 2008 Post-9/11 GI Bill to keep the benefits they were promised at the time of their enrollment, before revisions were made to the law.“This legislation will fix this inequity and ensure that our veterans receive the full benefits they were promised and rightly deserve. It will make sure we don’t change the rules in the middle of the game,” said Schumer. “With the Post-9/11 GI Bill, we made great strides towards helping all veterans who want to get a college education get one. But recent changes to the law, while enhancing benefits for many veterans, unfortunately cut benefits for others including some New Yorkers.”The Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008, also known as the Post-9/11 GI Bill, significantly expanded the educational opportunities for veterans by helping pay for their tuition. Students could receive a tuition benefit up to the highest amount charged by a public university in their state, which varied widely from state to state. This resulted in disparities in the amount of tuition benefit that veterans received, with some students receiving less than ten thousand dollars per year in tuition. The Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Improvements Act of 2010 replaced that provision with a nation-wide maximum reimbursement rate of $17,500 for private institutions, scheduled to take effect in August 2011 that made scholarships more equitable for veterans across the country.However, Schumer said that by failing to protect students already enrolled in school, this new law would robs thousands of veterans of the educational benefits that were available to them when they made the decision to enroll in school. In New York, under existing rules, students at private institutions were are able to receive up to $1,010 per credit hour (or $25,250 for a typical full-time academic year) because the amount was pegged to the cost of tuition at high-cost public universities like Cornell. Under the revised rules, veterans at private institutions, as of August 2011, will only be allowed to receive $17,500 going forward. For veterans at private institutions, that could mean thousands of dollars in higher tuition, forcing many to take on additional debt, transfer to different schools, or simply drop of out altogether. For example, the New York Post recently reported that 204 veterans at Columbia University will see their annual $31,000 in financial aid cut to $17,500, shouldering veterans with a $13,500 a year burden that was not planned for when they enrolled.Schumer’s legislation will allow students who were enrolled before the new rules take effect to continue under their existing benefits while they complete their studies. This will save many New York veterans thousands of dollars in tuition and allow them to continue their studies at their current schools without disruption or extra tuition. The protection applies to students who were already enrolled before January 2011, and sunsets in December 2014. Schumer said this legislation would ensure that veterans get the education they were promised.
V.H.E. Update: Sen. Schumer Introduces Legislation
June 09, 2011