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ACE Announces Veterans Education Initiative

November 20, 2008

With the Post-9/11 GI Bill scheduled to begin providing considerably more financial support for veterans next August, the American Council on Education has launched a major initiative aimed at increasing support for veterans seeking higher education. The agenda for "Serving Those Who Serve" includes national surveys, three regional meetings on implementation of the new GI Bill, a web portal, and incentive grants for institutions.

The project will focus on:

  • Increasing public awareness of the new GI Bill and higher education’s commitment to serving veterans
  • Helping institutions develop programs for veterans
  • Facilitating implementation of the administrative provisions of the new GI Bill
  • Reaching out to veterans to inform them of available benefits and assist them in planning

An ACE issue brief, based largely on a presidential summit convened last summer, discusses factors that positively affect veterans’ participation: access to information, streamlined benefits processes, provision of academic credit for military training and experience, and transitional support programs on campus. It concludes with ten ways institutions can build supportive policies and practices.

New GI Bill Implementation Planning

NACUBO has been active with ACE and several other associations in working with the Department of Veterans Affairs on implementation of the new GI Bill. In a recent meeting, VA officials estimated that the veteran student population may grow by 20 to 25 percent next year. With less than a year to implement new payment systems, the VA is now planning a two-pronged approach. For the short-term (at least the first year), the agency will rely on an expansion of the capabilities of its current VA Once system supplemented by several hundred new employees in its service center, with all interchange between institutions and VA being handled by the institution’s designated veterans affairs coordinator, including requests for payments of tuition and fees. In the meantime, the VA will work (with a Navy-based technology unit as its contractor) to build a robust, rules-based, fully automated system to determine eligibility, process claims, and make payments to veterans and institutions.

NACUBO will alert members to developments, including proposed regulations expected in December and the joint ACE/VA regional meetings later this winter.

NACUBO Contact: Anne C. Gross, vice president, regulatory affairs, 202.861.2544.