AAU joined ACE and 13 other higher education organizations in sending a letter to the House and Senate Committees on Veterans’ Affairs supporting the Ensuring the Best Schools for Veterans Act of 2022. The legislation would address recent policy changes to the 85-15 rule made by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
As the letter explains, the 85-15 rule “seeks to ensure that at least 15 percent of the students in any education program are not using GI bill benefits to pay for the program.” The rule protects veterans from being targeted by programs exclusively designed to take advantage of generous GI benefits and provides a helpful measure of the quality of educational programs. Under the 85-15 rule, institutions can receive an exemption from computing and reporting 85-15 ratios to the VA if fewer than 35% of students on campus receive GI benefits. During a recent policy reset, the VA rescinded all 35% exemptions currently in effect and began requiring campuses to provide 85-15 ratios for every program to receive future exemptions. The VA also asked campuses to resubmit their calculations every two years. As the letter notes, due to these changes, “numerous programs at colleges and universities across the country will be prohibited from enrolling veterans next term.”
The letter commends the proposed legislation’s clarifications to the 35% exemption and notes that the bill “will undo the negative impacts of VA’s recent policy change on institutions with low total veteran populations and the veterans they serve.” The letter further adds that the legislation would also “ensure that veterans who attend these institutions will be able to enroll in their program of choice.”