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H.R. 4830 (115th): SIT-REP Act

H.R. 4830, as amended, would amend 38 U.S. Code § 3679 so that a school is not eligible for GI Bill benefits unless it adopts a policy that protects eligible student veterans, survivors, or dependents from policies that . penalize these students for their inability to meet the institution’s financial obligations because of a delayed GI Bill payment. Penalties that are prohibited include the assessment of late fees; the denial of access to classes, libraries or other institutional facilities; or the requirement of borrowing additional funds. The VA can waive these two required polices as deemed appropriate. These provisions would not apply to schools if the delay is longer than 90 days.

H.R. 4830, as amended, would also amend the heading for section 302 of the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017 (P.L. 115-48). The new heading would read: Authorization for use of educational assistance under any of the educational assistance programs of the Department of Veterans Affairs to purpose independent study programs at certain education institutions that are not institutions of higher learning.

Students eligible for Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits must file a claim with the VA who provides a certificate of eligibility. The student provides this certificate to the educational institution so that the school can certify the student can receive payments.

The processing of these VA claims can be delayed and delays happen more often at the beginning of semesters. As a result some schools have forced students to begin a payment plan until their benefits are paid by the VA. H.R. 4830, as amended, would address this by requiring schools to adopt policies preventing such penalties if they want to remain eligible for GI Bill benefits.

Last updated Jun 5, 2018. Source: Republican Policy Committee

The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Jan 18, 2018.

Servicemembers Improved Transition through Reforms for Ensuring Progress Act or the SIT-REP Act

This bill authorizes the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to require educational institutions, in order to be eligible for educational payments, to adopt policies that prohibit penalizing student veterans for late VA assistance payments.

Such policies shall: (1) permit a veteran who provides the institution with a certificate of VA assistance eligibility to attend courses for a period without VA payment; and (2) ensure that the educational institution will not impose penalties such as late fees, course denial, or requiring an individual to borrow additional funds because of delayed VA payments.