New veterans law expands coverage of the GI Bill

Posted on Aug 13 2020

The Northern Marianas College has a $400 course to help prepare for the NCLEX nurse licensing exam. Latte Training Academy offers CompTIA certification exam courses for those entering IT professions. A new law that was crafted Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP) now allows veterans to use their G.I. Bill educational benefits to cover those costs.

This comes soon after President Trump signed on Saturday the Ryan Kules and Paul Benne Special Adaptive Housing Improvement Act of 2019, which includes legislation that Sablan drafted and added to the bill before its enactment. This means that veterans and their eligible family members will now be able to use their G.I. Bill educational benefits to cover the cost of preparatory courses for license and certification exams.

This is Sablan’s second veterans bill to become law this year.

Sablan’s new law allows the Veterans Administration to pay the fees for courses that prepare students for license and certification tests, like the NCLEX nurse licensing exam or CompTIA certification exam courses.

“Covering these test prep courses as a GI bill benefit will make it easier for veterans and their eligible family members to enter in-demand careers in health care, technology, teaching, finance, and other fields that require government licenses and certifications,” Sablan said. Before, only the test fees were covered by the GI Bill.

As a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Sablan has made it a goal to make more benefits available to returning service members and their families. Up to 30% of Marianas high school graduates enter the military each year, according to the Public School System.

He has also focused on protecting veterans benefits during the coronavirus crisis. H.R. 6262, Sablan’s other veterans’ legislation to become law this year, safeguards vocational rehabilitation and employment benefits and subsistence payments, if a school a veteran was attending closes. H.R. 6262 was piggybacked on to the Student Veteran Coronavirus Response Act enacted in March.

In addition to Sablan’s preparatory course provisions, the Special Adaptive Housing Improvement Act increases the number and funding of grants to help disabled veterans buy, build or modify homes to meet their needs and live more independently. The law also cuts the time students wait to get paid under the VA’s Work-Study program. Instead of taking weeks for VA to process these payments, schools can now receive direct funding to pay students for their work. (PR)

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