U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) today announced his bill, H.R. 3535, the GI Bill Work Study Improvement Act of 2019, to improve the veterans work-study program utilized by veterans at universities throughout the district unanimously passed the House.
Davis introduced this bill after the issue was raised by several universities at his veterans roundtable at the University of Illinois-Springfield last August. Davis hosted then-VA Chairman Phil Roe to the district to discuss veterans’ education benefits after the Forever GI Bill was signed into law. H.R. 3535 was passed as part of a larger veterans package.
Davis’ prepared remarks:
Thank you to my friend from Florida, Mr. Bilrakis, as well as Dr. Roe for all the work they do for our veterans. I rise today in support of my bill, the GI Bill Work Study Improvement Act, which was included in HR 3504 during markup on July 11.
Section 5 of HR 3504 contains the GI Bill Work Study Improvement Act, which I introduced with my colleagues, Susie Lee, Dr. Phil Roe, and Mike Bost. This legislation creates a block grant program to disburse the funding that would normally be used by the VA to administer their Work-Study program, to colleges and universities so that they themselves can directly administer the VA Work Study program and the benefits that go with it.
Last summer, I held a Veterans Roundtable in my district and was honored to have Dr. Roe attend. The Roundtable was widely attended by local stakeholders, including representatives from the majority of the 13 community colleges and universities in my district.
The schools, led by the University of Illinois, communicated to Dr. Roe and I one of the big challenges they were experiencing with the GI Bill –the difficulty in dealing with VA’s rules and regulations for the Work-Study program.
Unlike normal work study programs, this is not administered by the schools but instead by the VA, who manages the hours and time cards of each student Veteran and then directly reimburses them.
The process is very lengthy and when there is a spike in other GI Bill program requests, work study benefits are often moved to the bottom of the priority list.
So, based on the input we received from the colleges and universities back in my district, including UIS, we got together and developed legislation that will change the way these Work Study benefits are paid to the veterans.
This bipartisan work led us to the GI Bill Work Study Improvement Act and I am beyond pleased that this bill was included in HR 3504 during markup recently and that we are now debating it on the floor today.
I urge all of my colleagues to support this important legislation that will help our wounded veterans while also assisting colleges and universities in administering the Work Study program through the GI Bill.
With that, I yield back.
Click here to learn more about the bill.