Last Wednesday the Congress experienced mixed reactions after it was made known that the federal funds offered to veterans (those taking fight training classes) will be cut. This was after a report was released saying that the schools are taking advantage of that to charge large amounts of cash in tuition fees and take advantage of the GI Bill.
Speaking to the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs subcommittee, the Representatives from the Department of Veterans Affairs, American Legion and Student Veterans of America said that it was a great concern that large amount of money was being charged to students by the flight schools. This applied to veterans who were using the GI Bill to cater for their education. The VA quoted one example where a student was charged more than $534,000 in the fiscal year of 2014.
John Kamin, who is a representative of the American Legion said that it would be best to pass a legislation that will lower how generous the GI Bill is to veterans, especially those attending flight program sessions.
In 2015 the Los Angeles Times first reported in of some companies avoiding the expense limit set by the VA on the private schools. Instead, they work as contractors for various flight training programs offered at the public universities. The law makers were considering dealing with the loophole by drafting a proposal that was discussed last Wednesday. The draft will in turn input a spending cap on all the flight schools. Last year the number of veteran students enrolled in flight schools was 1700 and it cost a total of $48.5 million.
Will Hubbard, vice president of Student Veterans of America, also supported the to be drafted proposal, saying that veterans should not be hindered from pursuing careers in aviation but still that should not affect the sustainability of the GI Bill.
Matthew Zuccaro, president of Helicopter Association International, also said that his organization was in support of regulating the expenses on the GI Bill so as to avoid any form of abuse by flight programs. Though he asked the VA and Congress to consider other options and not the spending caps as it “unfairly impact the ability of veterans” who want to go for aviation related careers. Last year the House passed a legislation that addressed the spending of the GI Bill on flight programs, however, the initiative did not pass the senate. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas, and Rep. Mark Takano, D-Calif., called for fast action last Wednesday to pass the bill again.