November 05, 2015

Reps. Takano, Takai, Gibson and Coffman Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Restore Veterans’ Education Benefits In Event of School Closure

Washington DC – Reps. Mark Takano (D-CA), Mark Takai (D-HI), Chris Gibson (R-NY) and Mike Coffman (R-CO) introduced bipartisan legislation yesterday that would restore Post-9/11 GI Bill education benefits to veterans affected by the permanent closure of certain educational institutions. 

When it suddenly closed earlier this year, Corinthian Colleges, Inc. left more than 400 veterans without a degree or any benefits for school, housing, and other basic necessities. The U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs is not currently authorized to fully reinstate veterans’ benefits if a school they attend permanently closes. The Veterans Education Relief and Reinstatement Act (VERRA) would expand VA’s authority to restore Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits in the event of school closure.

“When schools abruptly close they often leave student veterans with incomplete and non-transferable credits and without critical housing and food benefits,” said Congressman Takano. “The men and women who served this country should not have to bear this burden. They deserve a second chance at the education they need to advance their careers and achieve financial stability.”

“As a veteran, I take great pride in supporting my fellow veterans and their families,” said Congressman Gibson. “The Veterans Education Relief and Restoration Act is just one of the many ways we are working to ensure our Veterans can continue their education and have a smooth transition to civilian life.”

"I'm proud to co-sponsor this legislation and support our veterans. These men and women have served our country honorably and we owe them the educational opportunities we promised. Through no fault of their own, their school closed and abruptly ended their pursuit of a degree. They deserve a second chance to complete their education, "said Congressman Mike Coffman, a Marine Corps combat veteran.

Specifically, VERRA would provide VA with the authority to:

  • Restore entitlement for individuals, including student veterans affected by the Corinthian collapse, who pursued a program of education with VA educational assistance and failed to receive credit – or lost training time – toward completion of the individual’s educational, professional, or vocational objective as a result of the closure of their educational institution.
  • Continue monthly educational assistance payments – including housing allowance – through the end of the term, quarter, or semester in which the school closes, or up to four months from the date of the school closure, whatever is sooner. These extensions would be without charge to entitlement.

A companion bill was introduced in the Senate by Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Thom Tillis (R-NC).

The full text of the bill is available here.