WASHINGTON – Congressman Vern Buchanan today announced that his legislation, the Veterans Eligible to Transfer School (VETS) Credit Act, unanimously passed the U.S. Senate. The bill now heads to the president’s desk for signature and will be Buchanan’s 27th measure signed into law.
The VETS Credit Act, H.R.6604, would help student veterans by ensuring they are able to quickly and easily transfer their course credits to another institution should their school close or program end suddenly. This legislation passed the U.S. House earlier this year with broad bipartisan support by a vote of 412-1.
“The G.I. Bill’s promise of a college education is one of most important and effective tools we have to recruit and retain the very best and brightest to serve in the U.S. armed forces,” said Buchanan. “I’m pleased to see the U.S. Senate approve my bill, the VETS Credit Act, to ensure that no veteran loses access to the valuable G.I. Bill credits they earned and deserve by virtue of their service and look forward to this important measure being signed into law.”
While current law requires the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to restore G.I. Bill benefits (up to 12 credits) to eligible student veterans whose schools close or program ends in the middle of a semester, the process can be very confusing and oftentimes leaves veterans unable to easily transfer their earned credits to a new school.
Specifically, Buchanan’s bill would require the VA to work with students and explain the school credit transfer process and to provide them with a certificate of eligibility from the VA providing proof of their restored benefits.
In their endorsement of Buchanan’s bill, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) said, “IAVA is committed to ensuring that every veteran can take full advantage of their earned education benefits and that no veteran loses valuable G.I. Bill credits if their school closes or program ends. The Veterans Eligible to Transfer School (VETS) Credit Act will guarantee that affected veterans can easily transfer their course credits to another institution if that happens thereby avoiding the unnecessary loss of benefits.”
The VETS Credit Act has also been endorsed by Disabled American Veterans (DAV) and Veterans Education Success (VES).
Buchanan's bill also included a provision from Congressman Greg Murphy, M.D. (R-NC) that makes it easier for dependents of veterans or active-duty military to retain transferred Post-9/11 G.I. bill benefits.
Rep. Murphy said, “Eastern North Carolina veterans earned their benefits with honorable military service to our country. With Rep. Buchanan’s VETS Credit Act headed to the president’s desk, these benefits are guaranteed so that our servicemen and women returning home have easy access to a college education. I’m proud that my commonsense bill is included in the VETS Credit Act to ensure clerical errors do not prevent dependents from receiving well-earned educational assistance. This is a tremendous step for our outstanding military families and I look forward to seeing how this legislation will help them obtain the benefits they deserve.”
Buchanan has a strong record of fighting for veterans and military families. Last year, a Buchanan measure to reduce military training accidents following the death of Bradenton soldier Nicolas Panipinto was enacted into law. Buchanan has also introduced the Veterans Overmedication and Suicide Prevention Act, which requires the VA to study the link between addictive opioids and the alarmingly high rate of suicides among veterans.