Banks Introduces Bipartisan Yellow Ribbon for Overseas Education Act

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Washington, May 22, 2020 | comments

Washington, DC -- Today, Congressman Jim Banks (IN-03), member of House Veterans Affairs Committee introduced the bipartisan Yellow Ribbon for Overseas Education Act to remove barriers that prohibit student veterans from using the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Yellow Ribbon Program to attend overseas colleges and universities. Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton (VA-10) joined Rep. Banks in introducing the legislation.

“Since 2008, the Veteran’s Affairs Yellow Ribbon Program has helped hundreds of veterans receive educations they otherwise would have struggled to pay for,” said Rep. Banks. “As a veteran myself, I am proud to sign onto this legislation that expands the list of institutions of higher learning that may participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program to include colleges and universities located outside the United States.”

“The Yellow Ribbon Program was created to help those who have served our country access higher education opportunities and begin to chart out their post-military careers,” said Rep. Wexton. “Student veterans whose academic careers may take them abroad deserve the same support from the Yellow Ribbon Program as those studying here in the U.S. My bipartisan legislation would grant qualifying veterans greater flexibility to go to the school of their choice and receive the benefits they are entitled to for their service to our country.”

“This bill fixes a long-standing problem that prohibited schools with overseas locations from offering the Yellow Ribbon program to student veterans studying at those campuses. With this bill in place, our nation’s veterans will be able to take advantage of the Yellow Ribbon Program to its full extent, no matter where they attend school. SVA supports this common-sense solution and hopes to see it signed into law soon so the Department of Veterans Affairs can quickly implement these changes,” said Justin Monk, Policy Associate for Student Veterans of America.

The Yellow Ribbon Program helps pay higher education costs for student veterans that exceed the amount covered by the Post-9/11 Veterans’ Education Assistance Act, known as the Post-9/11 GI Bill. That maximum amount covered by the Post-9/11 GI Bill for the 2019-2020 school year is $24,476.79.

Through the Yellow Ribbon Program, the VA and participating institutions of higher learning agree to match a certain amount of the additional costs not covered by the Post-9/11 GI Bill. This helps further reduce the financial burden for veterans pursuing undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral degrees, especially those who are attending private or out-of-state schools where costs tend to be higher. The program is available to all veterans who are at the 100% Post-9/11 GI Bill benefit level, including Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship recipients and Purple Heart recipients.

However, current law only allows the Program to apply to U.S. institutions. Student veterans have raised this issue after being blocked from using the Program benefits at schools overseas,. The Yellow Ribbon for Overseas Education Act would clarify the existing VA code to extend Yellow Ribbon Program eligibility to overseas schools, removing the barriers currently in place that are holding back some veterans from pursuing the higher education opportunities of their choice.

Reps. Banks and Wexton’s legislation is endorsed by the Student Veterans of America.

 

The full text of the bill can be found here.

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