Update 03/21/2020: The legislation to protect veterans from the impact of campus closures has been signed by President Trump, thus safeguarding GI Bill benefits (Housing Stipend) from being reduced for veterans who were forced to take classes online due to the coronavirus.
House and Senate lawmakers have introduced bills that could stop the impact of the coronavirus on GI Bill rates (Housing Stipends) for student veterans whose colleges and universities are forced to switch to online classes in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Reaction to Shifting to Online Classes
Congress is reacting to the recent news that many institutions have announced the shift to online classes following the cancellation of classroom based courses for the remainder of the spring semester.
“No student veteran, dependent, or spouse should be worried about their GI Bill benefits being reduced or cut off because of actions their school is taking in response to COVID-19,” said Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn. Rep. Roe’s bill, introduced as H.R.6194, is currently being debated in the House Veteran’s Affairs Committee.
The GI Bill Housing Stipend is determined by several factors, the biggest of which is whether the classes are on-campus or online. The current rate for online classes is set at $894.50, which is half of the national average housing rate paid to classroom based students.
Bills Would Protect Students’ Housing Allowances When Forced to Switch
The Senate and House bills would likely protect students who are forced to switch to online courses, but they are not likely to provide that protection for students who elect to switch to online-only classes.
Stay tuned, we will update Congress’ efforts to avoid the Coronavirus’ impact on GI Bill.