Congress finalized legislation Wednesday that allows student veterans taking remote classes to continue receiving full GI Bill housing benefits through summer 2022, Military Times reported.
Student veterans enrolled in online courses typically get half the amount in monthly housing stipends as students taking in-person courses under the post-9/11 GI Bill. Stipend amounts depend on where students live, so the difference in financial support can vary from several hundred dollars to $2,000. When the pandemic forced students to move their studies online, Congress allowed the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to continue paying full housing stipends to online students to avoid tens of thousands of veterans losing part of their benefits, a policy that was set to expire Dec. 21.
“While we’ve made a lot of progress in getting this virus under control, many veterans continue to take classes online due to the pandemic and need the protections in this legislation in order to continue their studies,” said Representative Mike Levin, chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee’s panel on economic opportunity. “At a time when we are trying to keep veterans housed and encourage them to pursue a higher education, the last thing we can afford is to let these protections expire and risk derailing their studies or, even worse, forcing them out of their homes.”
The measure passed by Congress pushed back the expiration date and is expected to be signed by President Biden in the coming days.
“No veteran should ever have to face uncertainty when it comes to their future,” Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee chairman Jon Tester said in a statement.