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Senators Hassan and Tillis Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Ensure that Service Members Do Not Lose Out on Education Benefits

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Thom Tillis (R-NC), members of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, introduced bipartisan legislation to ensure that service members are protected financially and won’t fail their classes if they need to withdraw from school because they are called up for duty.

“When a service member is suddenly called up for duty, they should not have to fear losing any VA tuition assistance or receiving failing grades because of their service-related withdrawal,” said Senator Hassan. “Our service members make enormous sacrifices to protect our freedom, and we must ensure that they receive the benefits that they have more than earned, including accessing higher education. I am glad to work across the aisle on this bill with Senator Tillis, and I urge my colleagues to support this commonsense bill.”

“When a student reports to active duty, inactive duty training, or state active duty, they and their spouses should not be penalized with failing grades or sacrifice of education benefits,” said Senator Tillis. “I am proud to introduce this legislation to support our servicemembers and their families to ensure they receive the educational benefits they have earned.”

The Protections for Student Veterans Act would allow student service members and their spouses, who use VA education benefits and are in good standing, to withdraw or take a leave of absence from their education when a service member reports to active duty, inactive duty training, or state active duty. Schools would be barred from assigning failing grades to students who either withdraw or take a leave of absence. This bill will ensure that covered individuals can recoup lost VA education benefits caused by their orders. Students who take a leave of absence would be assigned a grade of incomplete, and, when possible, schools would allow the student to complete their course credits after completing their term of service.

The Student Veterans of America has endorsed this bill.

This bill is part of ongoing efforts from Senator Hassan to strengthen support for veterans. The President signed into law Senator Hassan and colleagues’ Hire Veteran Health Heroes Act of 2021 to direct the VA to create a program to recruit military medical personnel who have less than one year left in their service to work in federal health care occupations at the VA. Following a successful push by U.S. Senators Hassan and Dick Durbin (D-IL), the administration announced that it is taking steps to implement legislation that the Senators passed to close a loophole that for-profit colleges use to increase their own profits by taking advantage of veterans, service members, and their families.

To read bill text, click here.