Rep. Susie Lee’s Student Veteran Protection Act Passes Committee

October 16, 2019
Press Release

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Susie Lee (Nev.-03), a member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and Chairwoman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Technology Modernization, delivered remarks thanking her colleagues for including the Student Veteran Protection Act, a bipartisan bill she led with Republican Rep. Jim Banks (Ind.-03), into Rep. Mike Levin’s (Calif.-49) Protect the GI Bill Act. The Committee approved the inclusion of Rep. Lee’s bill and it passed the Committee as part of the Protect the GI Bill Act. 

Below is the text of Rep. Lee’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, urging her colleagues to support the Student Veteran Protection Act’s inclusion into the Protect the GI Bill Act:

I would like to thank Chairman Takano for his leadership and for including my bipartisan legislation – The Student Veteran Protection Act – in today’s package of bills that provide much needed updates to the GI Bill. And Chair Levin for considering this legislation as necessary to the Protect the GI Bill legislation.

This is common sense and bipartisan legislation. Currently, when a University or institution of higher learning either erroneously or by accounting error provides a veteran an overpayment, the veteran must reimburse the VA. Even one overpayment can create a barrier on a student veteran’s ability to focus on their job of being a student.  

The Student Veteran Protection Act shifts the financial burden of a VA GI Bill overpayment from the student veteran to the school. Not only does this help remove an unfair obstacle on our veterans’ road to academic success, but it will save taxpayers an estimated $120 million over 10 years by cutting red tape and simplifying the GI Bill overpayment process.  

I want to reiterate what I have said before, we need to make things easier, not harder for our student veterans to succeed. That is why I support the amendment in the nature of the substitution and the efforts of the legislation to simplify the GI Bill’s ability to work for student veterans in Nevada and across this great nation. 

BACKGROUND: 2015 GAO report that found the VA identified $416,000,000 in overpayments under educational assistance program during fiscal year 2014, affecting approximately one in four veteran beneficiaries and about 6,000 schools. By making overpayments the responsibility of schools instead of students, schools would return overpayments directly to VA, instead of sending the payments to students who would then be responsible for reimbursing VA.  According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), schools return 97.7 percent of overpayments when a student’s enrollment status changes, however students only return 87 percent of those overpayments to VA – causing veterans to lose benefits over time.  By simplifying the overpayment process, CBO estimates this section will save the VA an estimated $120 million over 10 years.   

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