Vets group: New study results justify continued funding for GI Bill

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Vets group: New study results justify continued funding for GI Bill

by: Nikki Wentling | .
Stars and Stripes | .
published: February 16, 2017

WASHINGTON — In the first six years after the rollout of the multibillion-dollar Post-9/11 GI Bill, more than half of the veterans using the education benefit completed their degrees. Through September 2015, about 453,000 degrees were earned.

Student Veterans of America, a nonprofit coalition of veterans groups on college campuses, released new research to Congress last week tracking how the Post-9/11 GI Bill has been used. SVA leaders said they want to use the findings to eliminate issues for veterans seeking degrees and to justify to Congress the need for continued funding.

In 2014, about 800,000 veterans used the GI Bill, at a cost to taxpayers of about $11 billion. Spending for the benefit in fiscal 2016 is about $12 billion, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. Some in the veterans community fear lawmakers could shrink GI Bill funding to cut costs.

“The success we’ve seen from this research … leads us to understand, in fact, we want more of this, we want more of this success,” William Hubbard, SVA’s vice president of government affairs, told lawmakers. “What can we do to encourage more veterans to pursue a degree? And to that end, what can we do to make the Post-9/11 GI Bill a permanent GI Bill -- not as a wartime benefit -- but as a part of service?”

The research was compiled using a sample of student records from the VA and higher education data from the National Student Clearinghouse. SVA will publish a full report next week that was peer-reviewed by researchers at Syracuse University and Purdue University.

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