COVID-19 Relief Bill Includes Long-Sought Change Helping Military-Connected Students

COVID-19 Relief Bill Includes Long-Sought Change Helping Military-Connected Students
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A MOAA-supported passage in the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package will close a loophole in federal education regulations that had made military-connected students the target of predatory practices by bad actors in for-profit education.


The so-called “90-10 Rule” requires for-profit schools to secure at least 10% of their funding from non-federal sources. However, a loophole in the rule allows these schools to count DoD and VA education benefits, most notably GI Bill benefits, as non-federal income. This made student-veterans (and their benefits) tempting targets for schools focused on profits over a quality education.


MOAA and other advocacy groups have teamed with legislators to seek a fix, protecting student-veterans from falling victim to aggressive recruitment efforts followed by schools collapsing and benefits spent toward unfinished or less-than-useful degrees.


H.R. 1319, which passed the House on March 10 and was signed into law by President Joe Biden the next day, includes language that will remove this loophole, classifying DoD and VA benefits the same as other federal education assistance such as Pell Grants. MOAA joined more than 30 advocacy organizations in a letter to key lawmakers in both chambers seeking the change.


[RELATED: Download MOAA’s GI Bill White Paper]


Closing the loophole “is even more imperative now as COVID has increased predatory colleges' targeting of military-connected students,” the letter states. “Closing the loophole removes the recruiting target from the backs of military-connected students and protects taxpayer funds from propping up failing colleges.”


The change would not apply to schools until “institutional fiscal years beginning on or after January 1, 2023,” according to the legislation. 


“MOAA is pleased to see a major step taken toward protecting student-veterans and their dependents from predatory institutions,” said Cory Titus, MOAA’s director of government relations for veteran benefits and Guard/Reserve affairs. “MOAA has long supported closing this loophole, and we look forward to working with VA and other institutions on its implementation.”


Learn about MOAA’s ongoing advocacy efforts on our Advocacy News page.


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About the Author

Kevin Lilley
Kevin Lilley

Lilley serves as MOAA's digital content manager. His duties include producing, editing, and managing content for a variety of platforms, with a concentration on The MOAA Newsletter and Follow him on Twitter: @KRLilley