Both the House and Senate this week voted overwhelmingly to approve a $16.3-billion compromise bill to overhaul the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and speed up veterans' access to healthcare.
The House Wednesday voted 420-5 to approve the bill, with the Senate following suit Thursday night, 91-3. It now goes to President Obama, who has pledged to sign it into law.
The measure is aimed primarily at addressing serious scheduling problems facing the VA, which came to light last spring. But it also includes a provision requiring public institutions to charge all veterans and their dependents, regardless of their actual residence, no more than the in-state tuition rate for a period of three years post-discharge, in order for those institutions to remain eligible for Post-9/11 and Montgomery GI Bill benefits.
The in-state tuition provision will be effective July 2015, which is a short turn-around time for states and higher education institutions to revise their laws and policies in this area.
New Benefit for Vets
Inside Higher Ed (Aug. 1, 2014)
The Education Benefits in the VA Reform BillMarketplace (Aug. 4, 2014)