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Public Statements

Vets Eligible to Receive Educational Benefits After Bilirakis Pressures VA to Clarify Program Eligibility

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

At a hearing on Tuesday, Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-Palm Harbor), Vice Chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, questioned why a new veterans' training program would not have covered community colleges that also awarded Bachelor degrees.

On Wednesday, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced it was reversing its rule and would allow the benefits to be applied toward classes taken at all two-year institutions that are VA approved.

"I am pleased to learn that the VA has changed its mind and is now expanding its program in a way that will help veterans rather than make the process more burdensome and bureaucratic," Bilirakis said. "As our nation's heroes transition from the battlefield to the workforce, programs such as VRAP will help bridge the gap and provide them with the tools they need to succeed."

As part of the VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011, the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP) was created to provide one year of training and education benefits to certain unemployed veterans to prepare them for work in high-demand fields.

Initially, any community college that offered even just a single Bachelor degree was ineligible for the program. According to the chancellor of the Florida College System, 23 of Florida's 28 community colleges were not eligible for VRAP because of this.

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