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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Student Veterans of America (SVA) publicly stated its disappointment with comments made to the press last week regarding the GI Bill. In a statement to Stars & Stripes, a representative of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) incorrectly referred to the GI Bill as a “proverbial ‘free lunch.’ ”
“The GI Bill, in the plainest of terms, is not free,” said SVA President and CEO D. Wayne Robinson in response. “That some believe this earned benefit did not cost the men and women who utilize it is astonishing. Millions of veterans have given years of their lives in service to this country, and many have made the ultimate sacrifice in its defense. As a grateful nation, it is our duty to repay that debt with more than just gratitude. The GI Bill is one of the ways we do that.”
The referenced Stars and Stripes article in which the quote appeared focused on the new in-state tuition provision of the recently passed reform legislation, the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014. The comment by AASCU came in response to veterans seeking in-state resident rates for the purpose of tuition costs; Veterans who have not established state residency due to the mobile nature of military service are often left “stateless” for tuition purposes. In such cases, veterans are deemed out of state students and are left to cover additional tuition costs that far exceed current GI Bill benefits.
SVA emphasizes the importance of recognizing that veterans earn their GI Bill benefits through military service, a fact in stark contrast to what some mischaracterize as a “free ride.” No benefits this country confers are free, as they are paid for with the blood and sacrifice of the men and women of our armed forces.
SVA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit coalition of over 1,000 student veteran organizations on college campuses globally. SVA's mission is to provide military veterans with the resources, support, and advocacy needed to succeed in higher education and following graduation. For more information, visit us at www.studentveterans.org or visit our YouTube channel.