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New bill aims to protect G.I. Bill students

A new law penalizes schools that punish vets over late payments from the V.A.

WASHINGTON — The bipartisan Veterans Benefit and Transition Act of 2018, signed into law by President Donald Trump on New Year's Eve, includes over 20 provisions that should make meaningful improvements to the lives of veterans across the country.

The main improvement the law will make is making schools ineligible for G.I. Bill payments if they place penalties or burdens on students as a result of the Department of Veterans Affairs failing to pay G.I. Bill payments on time. 

The V.A. still relies on 40-year-old computers and software to process Forever G.I. Bill claims causing the delays.

More than 100,000 G.I. Bill students had pending housing claims that were processed late or incorrectly this past semester because of computer problems at VA, forcing them into difficult financial circumstances. Many also did not receive their tuition payments, which put them at odds with their schools.

ECPI University Executive Director of Military Education Bill Brown says, the VA must do better.

"It's hard to accept and it's disappointing," he said.

Brown applauds the new bill.

"We think it's going to be a great addition to the G.I. Bill frame-work," he said. "It's going to ensure students all across the United States get the same protections."

Under the new rules, students will be able to simply show schools their VA certificate of eligibility as proof that payment is coming.

Under the new bill, if schools don't agree to the new rules, they won't be allowed to keep enrolling students using the G.I. Bill.

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