Career Education Colleges and Universities applauded the quick work of Congress to protect Veteran Students in the midst of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. CECU welcomed the passage of Senate Bill 3503, which allows Veterans and their dependents, as well as service members, on the GI Bill® to continue receiving their benefits as universities temporarily move their classes online to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). The bill, authored by Senate Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Jerry Moran (R-KS.) and Ranking Member Jon Tester (D-MT.), ensures that GI Bill® recipients will not lose access to their earned education benefits because of the shift to online education.
“Veterans enrolled in on-site career classes would have lost up to 50% of their living allowance when schools followed orders to transition to on-line delivery through no fault of theirs, or their school,” said Steve Gunderson, President & CEO in response to the passage of the legislation. “We deeply appreciate the bi-partisan response and protection of our veteran students and their earned B.I. Benefits.”
In a statement, Steve Gonzalez, a US Marine Corps Veteran and CECU’s Senior Vice President Of Government, Military & Veterans Relations welcomed the passage of the bill saying, “This is an important act by the US Senate to protect our nation’s servicemen and women. One of the many unforeseen consequences of the spread of COVID-19 was that Veterans could have had their benefits cut or lost entirely; Senators Moran and Tester have worked quickly to avert this possibility.”
CECU would be remiss if we did not also recognize the efforts of House of Representatives Veterans’ Affairs Ranking Member Phil Roe (R-TN.), who introduced companion language in the House and worked with House Representative Chairman Takano (D-CA) to move this language to the President’s desk CECU welcomed the passage of the bill by the House with Gonzalez saying “It was vital that both chambers of Congress came together quickly to protect our nation’s Veterans. We are delighted to see the speed with which the Members of Congress listened to concerns from those who work with Veterans in Higher Education and acted to ensure continued access to their earned GI Bill® benefits.”