August 16, 2022

Ahead of new school year, House passes Chairman Takano’s bill to expand educational opportunities for veterans

As students across the country head back to school, legislation would ensure student veterans can complete education without interruption

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Miguel R. Salazar (202) 779-1486

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Last week, the House of Representatives passed S.5548, the Ensuring the Best Schools for Veterans Act of 2022, by unanimous consent. S.5548 is the Senate version of H.R.8198, previously introduced by House Committee on Veterans' Affairs Chairman Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.) and Ranking Member Rep. Mike Bost (R-Ill.). The Ensuring the Best Schools for Veterans Act of 2022 will improve access to high-quality education for veterans by eliminating burdens placed on educational institutions by the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) current 85/15 rule.  
“Student veterans should be able to choose the programs they want when they enroll in high-quality educational institutions,” said Chairman Takano. “The Department of Veterans’ Affairs’ (VA) 85/15 rule is an important safeguard in protecting students and their educational benefits from predatory fraud and abuse. However, for schools with a small student veteran population, this rule has unintended negative consequences that limit student veterans from participating in their programs. The Ensuring the Best Schools for Veterans Act of 2022 addresses disparities in the 85/15 rule so all student veterans can successfully complete their degree without interruption. I want to thank Senator Tester and Ranking Members Bost and Moran for their work on this important bill as well as the 17 VSOs and educational organizations that supported this effort.” 
BACKGROUND: The 85/15 rule protects G.I. Bill use from predatory institutions by requiring that no more than 85% of a program’s enrollment be beneficiaries of the G.I Bill. Institutions with less than 35% of overall enrollment comprising of G.I. Bill beneficiaries are exempt from some reporting requirements of the 85/15 rule. New reporting requirements for an institution to qualify for the 35% exemption left many institutions uncertain of their standing. The passage of S.5548 clarifies 85/15 rule requirements and will allow for uninterrupted G.I. Bill use in time for the upcoming school year. 
Full text of S.5548, the Ensuring the Best Schools for Veterans Act of 2022 can be found here