WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) introduced legislation to ensure student veterans do not face financial or academic penalties if they need to withdraw from classes during the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill would give GI Bill beneficiaries additional flexibilities to ensure they do not face bills for overpayments or lose their academic or housing benefits due to unforeseen circumstances during this pandemic that may cause them to withdraw from classes.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has interrupted education for so many student veterans across the country,” said Brown. “This legislation will help ensure student veterans have the flexibility to take time off during this crisis and resume at a time that works best for them, without losing the benefits they’ve earned.”
“Student veterans should not be penalized for taking time out of the academic year due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Blumenthal. “This is an unprecedented time and we must give GI Bill recipients the flexibility they need to address any health and family emergencies. I am proud to introduce this legislation with Senator Brown to ensure our country’s student veterans do not needlessly lose their hard-earned, well-deserved academic and housing benefits.”
This bill would allow GI Bill beneficiaries to withdraw from classes during the pandemic without penalty, by not counting a withdrawal during the pandemic period against a student’s available benefits and allowing the same benefits to be used later through a restoration of benefits, extending the housing stipend by four weeks for those who withdraw, and allowing those who withdraw to use their six hour credit exclusion later. The full text of the legislation can be found here.
The bill is endorsed by the National Association of Veterans’ Program Administrators.
“The National Association of Veterans’ Program Administrators (NAVPA) is pleased with the immediate response from our nation’s leadership to protect student veterans from unforeseen circumstances due to the COVID-19 crisis,” said NAVPA President Dr. Jan Del Signore. “As educational institutions across the country take action to ensure the safety of students, faculty, and staff, NAVPA appreciates the new measures being initiated by Congress to grant the Secretary of the VA the ability to address any disparities and ensure our student veterans have no detrimental impact from this national emergency.”