WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Student Veterans of America (SVA) today applauded the Department of Veterans Affairs decision that ensures that 5,000 students using the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP) will receive funds past March 31, the program's original expiration date. 

"We appreciate the administration's move this week (March 5) to follow through with the current participants," said SVA President and CEO, D. Wayne Robinson.  "That veterans enrolled in this program will have the opportunity to complete their VRAP experience and enter our workforce well-equipped is of the utmost importance," Robinson said. "SVA will continue to be a staunch supporter of programs that facilitate the successful career development of veterans as they transition to higher education and beyond." 

VRAP was conceived as a part of the Vow to Hire Heroes Act of 2011. The program grants unemployed veterans between the ages of 35 and 60 up to 12 months of retraining in high-demand vocations. To date, VRAP has provided more than $740 million to fund participation. 

The VA will provide a one-time payment to cover these programs from the initial date of April 1, 2014, through either the completion of veterans' enrollment or until June 30, whichever of the two deadlines is earlier. This comes at a cost of $20 million, and affects 5,000 veterans, says the Congressional Budget Office.

This short-term VRAP extension comes on the heels President Obama's proposal to increase the VA budget by 6.5 percent over Fiscal Year 2014, which could expand benefits and care if congress passes the budget. 

"This commitment of support for veterans aligns with the SVA's mission to provide quality education and opportunity to our nation's separating service members," Robinson concluded.  

VRAP participants with questions about the program may contact the VA at 1-888-GIBILL-1 (1-888-442-4551).

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