MANCHIN, CORNYN INTRODUCE BILL TO EXPAND GI BENEFITS FOR VETERANS IN STEM FIELDS
Washington D.C. – Today U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and John Cornyn (R-TX) introduced the Veteran STEM Scholarship Improvement Act, a bill to help Veterans take full advantage of the scholarship provided to Veterans studying science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM fields).
“In the United States, Veteran students have a higher average GPA, higher graduation rate than their non-veteran counterparts, and out-earn their civilian peers who never served. This proves that GI Bill programs not only benefit our Veterans but also our economy. That’s why I am proud join my Republican colleague to introduce the Veteran STEM Scholarship Improvement Act. Expanding this program to ensure that all STEM Veterans have access to this funding gives us a way to thank our Veterans for defending our freedoms and sacrificing so much for our country. I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass this important legislation that will benefit Veterans across our country,” said Senator Manchin.
“The Edith Nourse Rogers STEM Scholarship is a highly anticipated aspect of the Forever GI Bill. This scholarship program has the potential to help many student veterans pursue academically-rigorous STEM degrees through a fifth year of education. Unfortunately, the limiting nature of the current 128-credit hour requirement significantly reduces the overall pool of eligible student veterans. SVA strongly supports removing the 128-credit hour requirement, and hopes to see this become law quickly, in order to allow VA to successfully implement this provision of the Forever GI Bill without further complication,” said Lauren Augustine, Vice President of Government Affairs, Student Veterans of America.
“Student veterans at West Virginia University and elsewhere who are pursuing STEM degrees would clearly benefit from this legislation as it would assist them in pursuing such highly specialized degrees as well as teaching certificates. West Virginia University appreciates the efforts of Senators Manchin and Cornyn on this legislation,” said Jerry Wood, Director, Center for Veteran, Military and Family Programs at West Virginia University.
The Nourse STEM Scholarship, created by the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017, provides an additional nine months or $30,000 of GI Bill eligibility to student Veterans pursing a STEM degree. Current law mandates that eligible STEM programs exceed 128 required credit hours; however, most programs in the United States require less than 128 credit hours. This bill would reduce that requirement in the Nourse STEM Scholarship to reflect that STEM programs should exceed 120 required credit hours so that more Veterans are able to take advantage of the scholarship.
A companion bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives on June 24, 2019.
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