The bipartisan legislation passed by the Senate last week to address the Department of Veterans Affairs’ scheduling crisis includes a provision requiring public colleges and universities to charge in-state tuition to veterans using their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits regardless of where they reside.
Public institutions would be required to charge the in-state tuition rate to veterans while they are living in the state if they enroll within three years after separating from military service, according to a summary of the legislation.
Another provision of the bill authored by Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) would extend Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to the spouses of service members killed in the line of duty. About 1,900 spouses would use the benefit annually, reported the Huffington Post.
The measure now moves to the House for consideration before a House-Senate conference works out differences in the competing bills.
In response to the crisis at VA that forced veterans to face lengthy delays before receiving health care, the bill would allow VA to do more contracting with private medical centers to meet demand for care and to shift $500 million within its budget to hire additional medical staff. It also would expand the VA secretary’s authority to fire or demote senior executives for poor performance.