This morning the U.S. House Veterans Affairs Committee voted to cap public college tuition and flight-training benefits under the post-9/11 G.I. Bill to $20,235 per year for qualified U.S. military veterans, with an amendment to grandfather all veterans currently enrolled in flight-training programs for two years. The $20,235 cap already applies to private and nonprofit schools. The amendment is designed to close a loophole in the current law that permitted virtually unlimited Veterans Administration (VA) funding of courses taken at public colleges, including flight training fees.
Aviation alphabet groups vociferously opposed the tuition and fee cap as “an overreaction that imperils not just veterans in helicopter flight-training degree programs, but all flight training degrees.” The proposal is part of a larger bill (H.R. 476), dealing with reform of the VA, that will now go to the full House for consideration. Committee member Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio), said the amendment is necessary “to curb skyrocketing prices” in light of past abuses that included the VA paying more than $534,000 for flight-training fees and tuition for one student for one year; he added that prices at flight schools receiving VA funding increased by an average of 87 percent between 2013 and 2014.