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SVA Calls for 2018 Policy Priorities, We Want Your Input!
Student Veterans of America | October 10, 2017
Written By: Will Hubbard, Vice President of Government Affairs
Feedback from chapter members is the foundation of our annual policy priorities. Once again, we’re reaching out and asking for your input. Have a complaint or improvement you want to recommend? Let us know what you think should change.
Five policy priorities are listed below. We would like your feedback on these issues and any other recommendations you suggest. Additionally, if you’re especially interested in policy, consider applying for our Policy Liaison Program (PLP) or the VFW-SVA Legislative Fellowship for an opportunity to get more involved.
Based on your recommendations, and our rigorous research analysis, we form our annual policy priorities. These priorities form the focus of our discussions with Members of Congress, the White House, and Departments and Agencies such as the Departments of Education (ED), Veterans Affairs (VA) and Defense (DoD).
1. Forever GI Bill. We led the passage of the Forever GI Bill in 2017, and will be working closely with the VA on implementation of the new law. Minor tweaks and updates will need to be made over the 90 – 180 days.
2. Student Protections. Prospective and current student veterans remain the target of predatory programs apt to deliver a low-quality education. We remain committed to transparency in higher education and helping students be informed consumers.
3. Data Collection. Data analysis and rigorous research are the foundation of anything we do at SVA. Unfortunately, the information available on student veterans is significantly lacking, and we continue to call for data-driven policy decision within the government.
4. Access & Affordability. Between ineffective Transition Assistance Program (TAP) seminars, aggressive marketing by predatory schools, and a lack of loan service SCRA compliance, veterans face a challenging landscape that needs better regulatory enforcement.
5. Student Debt. While the GI Bill is the most comprehensive education benefit in history, the issue of existing debt and debt accrued outside of the GI Bill, such as many reservists, presents a serious issue as the U.S. nears $1.4 trillion of national student debt.
Student veterans and chapter leaders across the country are making their own unique impact on policy changes in their states, communities, and on their campuses.
Bruno Moya and the UNLV student veterans, for example, worked with Nevada Governor Sandoval and the Nevada General Assembly to sign several pieces of legislation to include Senate Bill 457. This legislation originated on campus by CSUN Senator, Samantha Bivins, and former Rebel Vets President, Bruno Moya. The bill requires the Nevada System of Higher Education to work with the American Council on Education to award the appropriate college credit for military training, education, and training.
Karthik Venkatraj, who studies law at the University of Colorado at Boulder proposed a plan that he believes can improve the hiring process at the VA. His “Executive Management Fellowship Program” would allow a one-year exchange between a senior VA manager and someone in a comparable position within the private and public job sectors.
James Ulinski, a Marine veteran who served in Vietnam, is working to help veterans by working to pass the Veterans Priority Enrollment Act of 2017. This legislation would permit student veterans the same opportunity to priority enroll for classes that athletes freely receive. He says that as a Student Veteran Advisor, he’s seen first-hand the benefits of priority enrollment for student veterans when PA passed legislation in May of 2014. After which, we sought out then Congresswoman Schultz to begin attempting this nationally.