Shea-Porter Co-Introduces Bill to Restore Post-9/11 GI Bill Benefits for Veterans Affected by For-Profit College Closures
Washington, DC— Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) today co-introduced the Veterans Education Relief and Restoration Act (VERRA), a bill to assist veterans who lost Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits due to recent for-profit college closures, including Nashua’s Daniel Webster College, a subsidiary of ITT Tech, which closed in 2016.
“Too many veterans have been left without the chance to finish their degree because the for-profit college they were attending folded,” said Shea-Porter. “The legislation I’m co-introducing would restore post-9/11 GI Bill education benefits to veterans in this unfortunate situation. When colleges go out of business, veterans shouldn’t have to suffer the consequences.”
After a number of for-profit colleges closed in 2016, the Department of Education initiated a program to discharge student loan debt for affected students. However, the Department of Veterans Affairs does not have the authority to restore Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits for veterans in similar circumstances. The legislation Shea-Porter co-introduced would fix this, so that the VA can restore education benefits for veterans who have used these benefits for credits that are now useless, through no fault of their own.
A former military spouse, Shea-Porter voted for the 2008’s Post-9/11 GI Bill, legislation that helps many of our nation's veterans pursue their education and successfully transition to civilian life. The Department of Veterans Affairs will issue approximately $13 billion in Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits to almost 900,000 individuals this year. Currently, 7,388 students across New Hampshire rely on these benefits for graduate and undergraduate degrees, vocational and technical training, on-the-job training, flight training, correspondence training, licensing and national testing programs, entrepreneurship training, and tutorial assistance [XLS]. This year, Southern New Hampshire University ranks 10th in the country for total number of GI Bill recipients, with 4,806 students receiving over $23 million in Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits, and 290 students are currently using the benefit to attend UNH Durham.
So far in this Congress, Shea-Porter has cosponsored 19 bipartisan bills to improve services for veterans, including the WINGMAN Act, legislation she co-introduced and the House passed earlier this year to make it easier for certified Congressional caseworkers to assist veterans. In January, Shea-Porter reintroduced the Veterans Health Equity Act, a bill that would remedy New Hampshire’s status as the only state in the nation without a full-service VA hospital or equivalent access. The bill has been cosponsored by every member of the New Hampshire delegation, Republican and Democratic, since Shea-Porter first introduced it in 2008. She has also been a leader in the fight to lift the harmful federal hiring freeze that is damaging the VA’s ability to provide care and limiting employment opportunities for returning veterans.