Shea-Porter Co-Introduces Landmark New G.I. Bill
WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) today co-introduced the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017, a bipartisan bill that would represent the largest update to the GI Bill since the passing of the Post-9/11 GI Bill in 2008.
“I’m proud to co-introduce today’s bipartisan bill, which is the most significant expansion of GI Bill education benefits in a decade,” said Shea-Porter. “We can never fully repay veterans and their families for their service, but expanding access to education is a good way to show our gratitude. I am especially glad this bill includes a provision I introduced earlier this year to ensure that deployed National Guard and Reserve members will qualify for the same educational benefits as those they served alongside once they return home.”
“After returning from Iraq, I relied on the Post 9-11 GI Bill to attend UNH Law the very first semester it went into effect in 2009. It is great that this bill will modernize and expand the benefits that got me where I am today to returning service members, including National Guard members and Reservists,” said Portsmouth City Councilor Josh Denton, a former Army officer.
Today’s bill represents the largest expansion of GI education benefits since the 2008 Post-9/11 GI Bill, for which Shea-Porter voted. It would extend eligibility for education assistance to National Guard and Reserve component members who served or will serve alongside active duty troops, a priority Shea-Porter has championed in the House with her Reserve Component Benefits Parity Act.
The bill also allows future GI Bill recipients to use the benefits over the course of their life, eliminating the current “use it or lose it rule” that caps eligibility for benefits at 15 years. In addition, it allows all Purple Heart recipients since 9/11 to qualify for these benefits and restores education assistance for veterans who attended for-profit colleges that folded, two provisions Shea-Porter has championed this year.
A former military spouse, Shea-Porter helped pass the 2008 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’s flagship campus in Durham.