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VA Working on Implementation of New GI Bill

October 8, 2008

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has already attracted Congressional scrutiny regarding its progress in implementing the new GI Bill enacted in late June. The new program, which greatly increases educational benefits for veterans--and, in some cases, their spouses and dependents--begins August 1, 2009.

A subcommittee of the House Veterans Affairs Committee held a hearing in September to get an update. It learned the VA has engaged a contractor to develop a Web-based system to determine eligibility of veterans, track benefits usage, disburse funds for tuition and fees to institutions, and pay allowances to veterans. Building such a system is hampered by antiquated technology (some key systems still rely on COBOL programs) and the need for additional data from the Department of Defense that VA currently does not track. The VA plans to issue proposed regulations before the end of the year to set parameters for the program’s implementation.

NACUBO, along with the American Council on Education, the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, and several other associations, has held several meetings with VA officials to offer advice and assistance. In September, institutional staff from bursar, student financial aid, and veterans’ affairs offices from nine colleges and universities met in Washington with VA representatives to discuss their plans, answer questions about campus procedures and preferences, and express concerns.

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