The American Legion – February 26, 2010



The Post-9/11 GI Bill is considered landmark legislation because of its sweeping benefits, which provide aid to veterans pursuing nearly all forms of higher education. But a few academic areas have been left out – namely, advanced-learning classes offered at institutions that don’t officially grant degrees.

    Under current terms of the legislation, the Post-9/11 GI Bill won’t cover vocational courses, on-the-job training or any sort of classes at institutions that don’t give degrees. So, veterans wishing to take private flight school lessons after their service have to use the Montgomery GI Bill or different education benefits to receive aid, which likely won’t be as generous.

    This oversight has drawn criticism from veterans and political entities including The American Legion, which testified Thursday afternoon in front of Congress for H.R. 3813 – a bill that would make the appropriate changes to the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Robert Madden, assistant director for the Legion’s Economic Division, gave oral testimony for H.R. 3813 in front of the House of Representatives’ Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity, Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.

    Among other bills, Madden advocated for H.R. 3813, Veterans Training Act, which would amend the Post-9/11 GI Bill to include coverage for postsecondary education and higher learning at non-degree granting institutions on a by-approval basis.

    “The American Legion supports H.R. 3813 and would like to make sure on-the-job-training, flight schools and vocational courses are covered under the Post-9/11 GI Bill,” Madden said. “The American Legion seeks to support equalizing education benefits for those who seek higher learning in less traditional manners, as opposed to the traditional ways of seeking education at a degree-granting institute.”

    Madden also gave oral testimony on two other bills: H.R. 3948, which seeks to include Post-9/11 GI Bill coverage for preparatory courses for entry into postgraduate studies, and H.R. 3976, which would enhance benefits during housing crises to help servicemembers keep their homes.